Definition of leaden in US English:



  • 1Dull, heavy, or slow.

    ‘his eyelids were leaden with sleep’
    • ‘Conifers are dear to many people's hearts, but they don't add much to a garden, tending to be leaden and heavy, in shades of either dull green, or garish yellow and blue.’
    • ‘Once wide awake, even enterprising, they slowly become dilatory, leaden, slow, laggard, and lumpish.’
    • ‘Since then, with issues ranging from the environment to social justice to human rights, the leaden center has been an albatross weighing heavily against progress.’
    • ‘After a while, the freshness is gone, and it doesn't take long for the proceedings to become dull and leaden.’
    • ‘This is a big, fat novel but there is not a leaden or heavy page in it.’
    • ‘The cast does its adequate best - you can't blame the players for occasionally fumbling such leaden material.’
    • ‘Sluggish acting and leaden dialogue make this drama a colossal no-no.’
    • ‘With his legs heavy and leaden through a combination of fear and fatigue, he clambered back to his feet, using the wall behind him for support.’
    • ‘I looked at her through sleep leaden eyes and groaned.’
    • ‘But she was suddenly struck by a chill that ran down her spine, a heavy leaden feeling in the pit of her stomach as she finally realized what she had down.’
    • ‘As Frank continues to stare at Olivia, whose penetrating gaze seems able to capture his secrets, his chest feels heavy, leaden.’
    • ‘The leaden sensation made her head and feet heavy.’
    • ‘Drowsily, in a voice leaden from heavy drinking, he hits me up for a favor: Fill in for him in an arena concert Kiss is giving that night, only hours away.’
    • ‘Soon heavy leaden clouds would blot out the sky but with them would come snow and freedom.’
    • ‘Patrick's body felt overly heavy and leaden, not at all like his own.’
    • ‘He lay down on his pallet still pondering, but the exhaustion from his long vigil the previous day swept him off almost at once into a dreamless, leaden sleep.’
    • ‘Did they need to give me this little something that shines, when all I've been thinking are dull and leaden sentences?’
    • ‘There's a decent version of flan with a hard, almost enameled caramel top, and a somewhat leaden guava bread pudding made heavier by a layer of plantains.’
    • ‘I swam around in circles, unwilling to return to the shore, unable to surrender this state of aquatic, marine grace to the dull, leaden heaviness of dry land.’
    • ‘A leaden stillness descended and slowed their legs, but sight traveled in reverse and was quickened.’
    dull, heavy, weighty
    sluggish, heavy, lumbering, plodding, cumbersome, slow, torpid
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    1. 1.1 Of the color of lead; dull gray.
      ‘the snow fell from a leaden sky’
      • ‘The leaden grey sky on the left of the car and sun on the right make me stir, looking all around for that favorite rare arch of color in the sky.’
      • ‘Just one droplet to start with, but the sky was leaden grey and there was much more fallout in store.’
      • ‘It was an eerie and sombre scene, a grey warship beneath a leaden sky with the occasional drop of rain falling.’
      • ‘He exhaled the smoke and through the haze his eyes rested on the day's end; gulls scraped the underside of a grey sky, cormorants pierced leaden waters to emerge gullet-choked with fish.’
      • ‘To my eye, the gardens that looked best under leaden skies were those that used colour in other ways than planting.’
      • ‘But it wasn't the leaden grey of impending rain, nor was it the hazy grey of fog.’
      • ‘In one, tongues of flame and wisps of smoke begin to emerge from the trailer's windows, while in another, the blaze has engulfed it, and a cloud of thick black smoke rises above the sullen trees into the leaden sky.’
      • ‘The wood's emerald greenness seemed somehow remarkably rich, although - or maybe because - the clouds above the treetops were a dark leaden grey.’
      • ‘In this dark movie, the sun never shines on French Canada - all the events take place under oppressively leaden skies.’
      • ‘To make sure the towers are not a blot on the view for local residents, it was ruled that they must be painted a dull grey similar to the leaden Stockport sky.’
      • ‘I looked up at dark branches silhouetted against a leaden sky.’
      • ‘A watery sky, breached feebly by the occasional half-hearted sunrays on a grey leaden afternoon, seemed to catch the essential gloom that had descended on this region of North Galway.’
      • ‘Toward the west the sky was still dark: not the empty dark of a night sky but the leaden solidity of storm clouds building.’
      • ‘After four glorious days of sunshine, the fifth day of the hike dawned grey with a leaden ceiling blanketing the sea.’
      • ‘In this novel the sky is always leaden grey, the light is smoky, the rain is pelting the windows and it is cold.’
      • ‘Easter Sunday wasn't a great day; clouds scudded ominously across a leaden sky and at 3 p.m. it was looking bad for the parade in Athy.’
      • ‘Sky and water turned leaden grey and we headed for the safety of the nearest island.’
      • ‘Only the sky was turning a leaden grey, the tide was low, and we were hungry, or at least I was.’
      • ‘The sky is a leaden grey, the temperature is high and the wind is blowing from the West - absolutely ideal.’
      • ‘The brick-like tome devotes ten pages to our city, mostly praising it to the leaden skies.’
      grey, greyish, grey-coloured, black, dark, ashen
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    2. 1.2archaic Made of lead.
      ‘a leaden coffin’
      • ‘This once lovely girl's body lay in a leaden coffin.’


Old English lēaden (see lead, -en).