I have come across the expression "unfortunately, the example was not leading" in the context where someone asked a question accompanied by an example and someone provided an answer that addresses the specific example but not the question in general.

Given this context I understand what "the example was not leading" conveys. It's also easy to see a parallel with e.g. Wikipedia's definition of "leading question":

In common law systems that rely on testimony by witnesses, a leading question or suggestive interrogation is a question that suggests the particular answer or contains the information the examiner is looking to have confirmed.

So by the same token "not a leading example" would mean "an example that does not specifically illustrate the particulars of the problem".

My questions are:

  1. Is this a well-known expression, just as "leading question" is?
  2. Is the definition I reached above correct? If not, what would a better one be (with references if possible)?

2 Answers 2


A leading example is one, that allows to correctly build some kind of rule on it. It leads to a conclusion.

If you drop a cat several times in front of class and it lands on it's feet every time, this is a leading example for the agility of cats.

  • Also, dropping cats is fun.
    – npst
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 14:32

"the example was not leading" for better understanding we can write that "the example was misleading"

Basically, misleading means

"the wrong idea or impression".

  • 1
    No, the example was not misleading. It was simply more specific than it needed to be.
    – Jon
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 10:34

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