New onsite graduate programs are bringing DePaul through the door at some of the area’s most prominent employers. This summer, two corporate onsite cohorts began with the delivery of a Master of Business Administration degree program at Medline, a major manufacturer and distributor of healthcare supplies, and a Master of Public Health degree program at Lurie Children’s Hospital—resulting in 70 new graduate students and $3.2 million in revenue over the duration of the program. These partnerships were spearheaded by EMM’s Corporate and Employer Outreach (CEO) initiative.

From https://offices.depaul.edu/enrollment-management-marketing/enrollment-matters/Pages/ceo-launches-corporate-onsite-graduate-programs.aspx

Could you explain the connotation of ‘spearhead” here? How is it different from “lead”?

spearhead /ˈspiɚˌhɛd/ verb

: to be the leader of (something, such as a political movement)


Here is research I have done. I am not sure if it is correct.


Meaning: To spearhead means to be the leader of something. But more important is the word's connotation. This word just oozes leadership, taking charge, and being a self-starter.


1 Answer 1


As you say, "Spearhead" basically means exactly the same as "lead" but with more militaristic, dynamic, positive overtones.

In theory, one could lead a project from a position of fear, whereas spearheading suggests far more passion and drive.

  • 1
    I think Spearhead indicates a narrow head that others will follow afterwards (shaped like a spear+shaft). Lead could be broader - boomerang shaped
    – Smock
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 11:18
  • @Smock Do you have any evidence for that - it doesn't match with my experience.
    – MikeB
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 15:57
  • Spearhead here in this context given as a passionate way but it still holds the meaning of a narrow mind. Where lead is wider in thinking and carefull with actions. Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 5:55

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