I noticed that there is a column called the day of the week’s ‘Political Ledes’ written by Mark Halperin in Time magazine. Today’s (August 17) ‘Political Ledes’ picks up headlines of
New York Times: “Romney Says He Paid at Least 13% in Income Taxes”
Washington Post: “Obama Steps Up Portrayal of Romney, Ryan as Out of Touch with Middle America”
Wall Street Journal: “Campaigns Seek Positives in Negative Tone,” and three other news sources.
As I was unfamiliar with the word, ‘Lede’ I checked Cambridge, Merriam-Webster, and Oxford online dictionary. Only Merriam-Webster registers ‘lede’ with the definition - ‘the introductory section of a news story that is intended to entice the reader to read the full story’.
Google Ngram registers both ‘lede’ and ‘ledes.’ The usage of ‘lede’ continues to decline from the peak during 1840 – 1860, while the latter has been also consistently declining after the peak of usage during 1920 -1980.
Isn’t ‘lede’ an outdated word, or still is popular?
The choice of word of course belongs to the taste and up to the freedom of authors, but I wonder why the Time magazine is using ‘”Political ‘Ledes’” which isn’t registered in neither Cambridge or Oxford English Dictionary instead of simply saying “‘Political ‘Leads, (or Catches)’” which I think is easier to understand and is more current.
MicroSoft spell-checker keeps urging me to correct the spelling of ‘lede’ at this very moment I’m typing this question.