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From Middle English leden, leaden, from Old English lēaden (leaden, of lead), equivalent to lead +‎ -en. Cognate with West Frisian leaden (leaden), Dutch loden (leaden).



leaden (comparative more leaden, superlative most leaden)

  1. (dated) Made of lead.
  2. Pertaining to or resembling lead; heavy, grey, sluggish.
    • Ode to a Nightingale, John Keats
      "Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs, Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow."
    • Shelley
      [] if man be
      The passive thing you say, I should not see
      Much harm in the religions and old saws
      (Tho' I may never own such leaden laws)
      Which break a teachless nature to the yoke.
  3. Dull; darkened with overcast.
    the sky was leaden and thick
    • 1999: Stardust, Neil Gaiman, page 31 (2001 Perennial paperback edition)
      "It was at the end of February..., when the world was cold..., when icy rains fell from the leaden skies in continual drizzling showers."



leaden (third-person singular simple present leadens, present participle leadening, simple past and past participle leadened)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To make or become dull or overcast.