Etymology
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leader (n.)
Old English lædere "one who leads, one first or most prominent," agent noun from lædan "to guide, conduct" (see lead (v.)). Cognate with Old Frisian ledera, Dutch leider, Old High German leitari, German Leiter. As a title for the head of an authoritarian state, from 1918 (translating Führer, Duce, caudillo, etc.). Meaning "writing or statement meant to begin a discussion or debate" is late 13c.; in modern use often short for leading article (1807) "opinion piece in a British newspaper" (leader in this sense attested from 1837). The golf course leader board so called from 1970.
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leaderless (adj.)
1590s, from leader (n.1) + -less. Related: Leaderlessly; leaderlessness.
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leadership (n.)
1821, "position of a leader, command," from leader + -ship. Sense extended by late 19c. to "characteristics necessary to be a leader, capacity to lead."
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cheerleader (n.)
also cheer-leader, 1900, American English, from cheer (n.) + leader. Cheerleading is attested from 1906.
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imam (n.)
1610s, from Arabic, literally "leader; one who precedes," from amma "to go before, precede." As a high religious title used differently by Sunni and Shiite, but also used of the leader of daily prayers in the mosque and generally for a Muslim prince or religious leader. Related: Imamate.
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heresiarch (n.)
"arch-heretic; leader in heresy," 1620s, from Church Latin haeresiarcha, from Late Greek hairesiarkhes "leader of a school;" in classical use chiefly a medical school; in ecclesiastical writers, leader of a sect or heresy (see heresy + arch-). Related: Heresiarchy.
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Duce (n.)

1923, title assumed by Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), fascist leader of Italy; Italian, literally "leader," from Latin ducem, from PIE root *deuk- "to lead."

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precentor (n.)

"a leader or director of a church choir or congregation in singing," 1610s, from Late Latin praecentor "a leader in singing," from Latin praecantare "to sing before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing"). For change of vowel, see biennial.

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voivode (n.)
local or provincial ruler in Transylvania, Moldavia, etc., 1560s, from Russian voevoda, originally "leader of the army," from Old Church Slavonic voji "warriors" + -voda "leader." Compare Hungarian vajvoda (later vajda), Serbian vojvoda, Polish wojewoda.
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captain (v.)
"act as leader to, command," 1590s, from captain (n.). Related: Captained; captaining.
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