"bury the lede"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Aug 25 14:39:36 UTC 2008

And just to be clear, "lede" = "leading paragraph", not "leading news
story". So "burying the lede" means that what should be the "hook" of
the story is not given up front. Pitts uses it metaphorically with
regards to Obama's answer to the abortion question:

"Might he not have been more effective had he said from the beginning
his goal is to keep abortions legal - but make them rare?"

--Ben Zimmer

On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 9:49 AM, Dave Wilton <dave at wilton.net> wrote:
> "Lede" is a standard journalistic term and, indeed, it is so spelled to
> avoid confusion with the metal. Merriam-Webster has it from 1976. "Bury the
> lede/lead" is a common phrase among journos.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
> Charles Doyle
> Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 4:42 AM
> Subject: "bury the lede"
> I noticed this in today's syndicated column by Leonard Pitts, regarding the
> recent televised exchange with McCain: "In answering the abortion question .
> . . one could argue that he [Obama]--to use a journalist term--buried the
> lede."
> Including various forms of the verb, the phrase gets some 22,000 Google
> hits, with a comparable number for "bury the lead"--which was surely the
> prototype expression, "lead" in the sense of 'leading news story'?  Was
> "lede" substituted to avoid confusion with "lead" [lEd], the base metal?
> No entry for "lede" (in that sense) in the OED.

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