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’
    • ‘‘Sit,’ Howarth told her, heading her off from the stove.’
    • ‘They planned to demonstrate outside banks and insurance companies but police headed them off into a side street.’
    • ‘The police, he said, used always to head his gang off from crossing a certain street into a more upmarket neighbourhood.’
    • ‘If this does not solve the problem it may be possible to head them off.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the PM left the hotel for the airport, the ABC's political correspondent, ignoring security, headed him off at the door and apologised.’
    • ‘I try to head him off, but eventually he gets past me and jumps on Jarvis again, snarling and growling again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jared goes after them instantly, running along the edge of the field to head them off and catch them by surprise.’
    • ‘All they want to do is head us off and hope that we give up.’
    • ‘Being up front is the only way to head them off and restore integrity and policy debate to our political system.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The officers themselves wouldn't come all the way down here to head them off though - that would be defeating the purpose.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘Gwen's eyes widened, but again the would-be squabble was headed off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A series of major terrorist schemes had been 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of course, the government still has several options within its control to largely head the whole issue off.’
      • ‘The UN probably can't head the attack off either.’
      • ‘It's increasingly likely the Americans, once they heard word of the proposed delay, kicked things into overdrive to head it 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.’
      • ‘He thinks there might be other objections, and tries to head them off.’
      • ‘Mr Ahern said potentially dangerous stand-offs had been headed off by ‘sensible policing and the work of community activists and local politicians’.’
      • ‘Whether or not there was a way to forecast what was going on here and head it off, I just don't know.’
      • ‘Routines are proactive as well - establishing routines heads off many behavioral problems before they occur.’
      • ‘In Bradsher's view, environmental and safety groups were slow to catch on to where automakers were going and failed to head them off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It can head them off entirely by preventing or fixing problems before they arise.’
      • ‘We now try to deal with animal health on a preventative basis, anticipating problems and heading them off.’
      forestall, avert, ward off, fend off, stave off, hold off, nip in the bud, keep at bay
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