short take: lead--another meaning?

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 29 18:57:18 UTC 2010

A 1997 addition to the OED has under Lead, v.1:

> [III.] [13.]    c. trans. Sport. To be ahead of (another team or
> player) in terms of points, goals, etc. Usu. const. by. Also transf.,
> to exceed or outnumber by  a specified margin.
> 1877 Spirit of Times 24 Nov. 449/2 At 800 yards the Massachusetts men
> held steadily, Wemyss leading with 71, Jackson and Law 70. 1907 C. E.
> MULFORD Bar-20 xi. 120 In this contest Hopalong Cassidy led his
> nearest twenty cut-outs. 1946 Times 26 June 2/3 The Dutch
> pair, after missing a set point when leading by six games to five,
> finally secured the first set at 9-7. 1979 Amer. Speech LIV. 73 In
> another study..will led shall in frequency of occurrence by only 59
> percent to 41 percent. 1989 Daily Tel. 6 July 35 (heading) Northants,
> with seven wickets standing, lead Kent by 90 runs.

Note, in particular, that this one says "to be ahead". This is not very
different from 13.b., except that it allows for a variation "to be ahead
by X".

Now, what does one do when (s)he (it, if team, I suppose) finishes ahead
of the rest of the table at the end of the season? Maybe I am splitting
hairs here, but, it seems to me, the verb has evolved into "to win" or,
if no actual winning is involved, to finish ahead of others.
> Gomez, who entered camp after becoming the first American player to
> *lead* a foreign league in scoring when he scored 10 goals for Puebla
> in Mexico, recorded his first goal for the full team against the Czechs.

It's not that Gomez was /ahead/ of other players in scoring some time
during the season--he /finished/ the season as the top scorer in the
league. This particular variation does not strike me as unusual.


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