Definition of head someone/something off in English:

head someone/something off

phrasal verb

  • 1Intercept and turn aside.

    ‘he ran up the road to head off approaching cars’
    • ‘Jared goes after them instantly, running along the edge of the field to head them off and catch them by surprise.’
    • ‘The early sequences of the stampeding wild horses and how they are headed off from racing over the edge of a cliff are particularly exciting.’
    • ‘If this does not solve the problem it may be possible to head them off.’
    • ‘I busied myself with finding the next act on the schedule and preparing to introduce him while Lance ran interference for me, heading several people off as they came forward.’
    • ‘They planned to demonstrate outside banks and insurance companies but police headed them off into a side street.’
    • ‘And if the taxi driver is upset that I blocked his path for all of 30 seconds, well, as demonstrated I would have headed him off at the traffic lights anyway.’
    • ‘Or do you quietly watch the signals so you know where your adversary plans to be, head him off, and kill him then?’
    • ‘He spied David making his way towards the car lot, a bottle in his hand, and moved to head him off, catching up with him just outside the exit.’
    • ‘I volunteered to go down the steep bank with Newby to head the lion off while Ruth and Husseman took the high route.’
    • ‘As the PM left the hotel for the airport, the ABC's political correspondent, ignoring security, headed him off at the door and apologised.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, they are headed off by Jimmy's manager and can't get near him, while their demo tape gets thrown into a pile with a thousand others under his bus.’
    • ‘‘Sit,’ Howarth told her, heading her off from the stove.’
    • ‘I try to head him off, but eventually he gets past me and jumps on Jarvis again, snarling and growling again.’
    • ‘The officers themselves wouldn't come all the way down here to head them off though - that would be defeating the purpose.’
    • ‘The police, he said, used always to head his gang off from crossing a certain street into a more upmarket neighbourhood.’
    • ‘Being up front is the only way to head them off and restore integrity and policy debate to our political system.’
    • ‘Some people swung their cars round and tried to head him off at the other side of the playing fields.’
    • ‘I came across from his left to try to head him off as Paul Davis moved in from his right.’
    • ‘All they want to do is head us off and hope that we give up.’
    • ‘Last night fans watched as Dev raced to head Maya off as part of his quest to free Sunita from prison after she was framed by his former fiancée.’
    intercept, divert, deflect, redirect, reroute, turn aside, draw away, turn away, cut off
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    1. 1.1 Forestall.
      ‘they headed off a row by ordering further study of both plans’
      • ‘Mr Ahern said potentially dangerous stand-offs had been headed off by ‘sensible policing and the work of community activists and local politicians’.’
      • ‘Consumer representative groups have gone on record to insist that despite pre-conversion assurances to the contrary and official measures to head it off, the euro-linked price-rise factor is now a reality in Ireland.’
      • ‘Today independent health think-tank the King's Fund said the NHS urgently needed mechanisms to deal with hospital failure as well as to head it off before it happened.’
      • ‘Whether or not there was a way to forecast what was going on here and head it off, I just don't know.’
      • ‘It can head them off entirely by preventing or fixing problems before they arise.’
      • ‘This Task Force has been working flat out to ensure that we head something off before it happens and our response to the bus crash showed how well this worked.’
      • ‘He thinks there might be other objections, and tries to head them off.’
      • ‘It's increasingly likely the Americans, once they heard word of the proposed delay, kicked things into overdrive to head it off.’
      • ‘A series of major terrorist schemes had been headed off.’
      • ‘They recognize emergency situations before they become critical and head them off with appropriate countermeasures.’
      • ‘As he waxes lyrical about the fact that he is mixing in illustrious circles these days, the temptation to accuse him teasingly of name-dropping grows, but he heads it off with a well-timed dollop of self-deprecation.’
      • ‘Routines are proactive as well - establishing routines heads off many behavioral problems before they occur.’
      • ‘Of course, the government still has several options within its control to largely head the whole issue off.’
      • ‘In Bradsher's view, environmental and safety groups were slow to catch on to where automakers were going and failed to head them off.’
      • ‘The UN probably can't head the attack off either.’
      • ‘We now try to deal with animal health on a preventative basis, anticipating problems and heading them off.’
      • ‘Gwen's eyes widened, but again the would-be squabble was headed off.’
      • ‘I've not seen a statement from the embassy commenting on the delay yet, so perhaps this thing will be headed off, after all.’
      forestall, avert, ward off, fend off, stave off, hold off, nip in the bud, keep at bay
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