How is the chemical element lead pronounced in British English and American English? This seems to be difficult to search, because of the verb lead. Merriam-Webster lists

lead noun \ˈlēd\

but the audio pronunciation is \liid\.

  • 1
    \liid\ sounds more South African to me than either British or American.
    – AndyT
    Apr 26, 2017 at 9:06
  • 1
    Lead as a noun pronounced /li:d/ or \ˈlēd\ using MW symbols (long ee sound) is what you put on a dog's collar to stop it running off. It's directly related to the verb pronounced the same way.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 26, 2017 at 10:00
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    You are looking at the wrong noun. Check the definition--that one says " leadership". The MW entry for the element, with the correct pronunciation \ˈled\, is listed further down the page. The transcription \ˈlēd\ matches the audio: "ē" is the symbol used in MW for the IPA sound /i/.
    – herisson
    Apr 26, 2017 at 15:45
  • The MW gives the pronunciation of the chemical element further down the page (\ˈled), under lead 4,and the audio matches it. If the dictionariy you are consulting doesn't specify a BrE pronunciation, you might want to check a dictionary published in... Britain. Apr 26, 2017 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


"Lead" in the sense of the metal is pronounced as /lɛd/ (to rhyme with "bed") in both British and American English.

  • 2
    And there is no significant variation between AmE and BrE.
    – MikeRoger
    Apr 26, 2017 at 9:03
  • 1
    Indeed! I have made that addition to my answer to be explicit about it.
    – Miztli
    Apr 26, 2017 at 9:05

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