Definition of headlong in English:


adjective & adverb

  • 1[as adverb] With the head foremost:

    ‘he fell headlong into the tent’
    • ‘Log flumes may be rather dated, but the knowledge that you are about to drop headlong into a lake is still enough to induce terror.’
    • ‘Finally, whilst looking over my shoulder as I greeted a passerby, I went headlong into and nearly demolished this tent opposite Beales.’
    • ‘Carl collided headlong with the first of them and he fell groaning and clutching his groin.’
    • ‘I nearly fell headlong onto a garden swing and ended up doing an impression of George of the Jungle except at ground level.’
    • ‘As a sailor I can assure him I have no love of speedboats and have cursed them as loud as anybody in years gone by when their wash has hurled me headlong from my windsurfer.’
    • ‘The film features destitute people being attacked while they sleep and others being given small sums of money to run headlong into walls and street signs.’
    • ‘Completely taken by surprise, Vincent tripped over the foot and stumbled, falling headlong for the floor.’
    • ‘The more foolhardy believe that if they are fated to meet a truck headlong at 100 kmph because they are driving on the wrong side of the road, then so be it.’
    • ‘If people have the need to fulfill an urge to crash headlong into another road user then they ought to at least be considerate enough to do it at night when there aren't as many people about.’
    • ‘Amidst this revelry the Prince of Bohemia falls headlong in love with the long-lost Sicilian princess.’
    • ‘My advice, for what it's worth, is to take your time and edge slowly towards your goal rather than hurtling headlong at it.’
    • ‘She fell headlong down the stairs after catching him in bed with a barmaid.’
    • ‘He had fallen headlong out of the car door, skidding and scraping his head along the concrete as he went.’
    • ‘Once, out picking blackberries, he over-reached and fell headlong into the prickly bramble.’
    • ‘He fell headlong into an enormous patch of writhing blackberry bushes.’
    • ‘I doubt he'll be able to pull out of this headlong dive before he smashes into the ground.’
    • ‘Next time, I'll risk the mindless violence, the kebab shop brawls, the near certainty of plummeting headlong into the river.’
    • ‘Its door was open, and stepping into black darkness he fell headlong over some heavy object on the floor.’
    • ‘The way he runs headlong into the surf, no matter what the weather.’
    • ‘I was falling headlong to the floor and the last thing I remembered was the fact that Jordan was going to kill me under his weight.’
    head foremost, head first, on one's head
    View synonyms
  • 2In a rush; with reckless haste:

    [as attributive adjective] ‘a headlong dash through the house’
    [as adverb] ‘those who rush headlong to join in the latest craze’
    • ‘Any headlong rush in the pursuit of this chimera will be disastrous.’
    • ‘Sadly, he added, the ancient art is all but lost in the city's headlong rush towards industrialisation.’
    • ‘This hiatus in our headlong rush to be economic superstars of Europe might present us with an opportunity to take stock.’
    • ‘He is often incredibly open in interviews, sometimes recklessly so, but this headlong quality seems to cause him no regret.’
    • ‘Was the headlong pursuit of a ‘radial routes only’ policy, the best that the consultants could offer?’
    • ‘Their wild, headlong struggle to stay one step ahead of the truth grabs the viewer from the first and simply never lets go.’
    • ‘In their headlong dash for cash, UEFA have reduced what was once a fine competition to an afterthought in the footballing calendar.’
    • ‘Britain and France followed suit, granting their colonies independence in a headlong dash.’
    • ‘Now questions are being asked within the industry about whether the headlong rush to grab a slice of home buyers' cash is putting the market at risk.’
    • ‘After three decades of headlong globalisation, the world finds itself in dangerous and uncharted waters.’
    • ‘Alternatively, you can eschew the usual headlong rush of the resort and take off into the back country on a pair of snowshoes or touring skis.’
    • ‘The headlong rush into the future that says ‘build it, forget it, go on the next one’?’
    • ‘The headlong advances of population and industry were making themselves felt in ever more widespread pollution.’
    • ‘Yet these are real risks, and they are being ignored in the headlong rush to profit from bioengineering breakthroughs.’
    • ‘This doesn't, let's be clear, imply a headlong retreat to remedial aid.’
    • ‘The free market is in a headlong rush to find green solutions: whosoever discovers the next source of energy will be rich indeed.’
    • ‘They were copied in the late 1780s by Belgians revolting against the headlong rationalisations of Joseph II.’
    • ‘Now, there is proof that the city's headlong rush into urbanisation has taken a heavy toll on its natural valleys.’
    • ‘It doesn't stack up and it seems the headlong contradictions we are living with could cause serious upheaval in the period ahead.’
    • ‘The superficial attributes of commercialization flourished and my eternal darkness ensued at a headlong pace.’
    breakneck, whirlwind
    reckless, precipitate, precipitous, rash, impetuous, hasty, careless, heedless
    without thinking, without forethought, precipitately, precipitously, impetuously, rashly, recklessly, carelessly, heedlessly, hastily, in haste, head first, head over heels
    View synonyms


Middle English headling (from head + the adverbial suffix -ling), altered in late Middle English by association with -long.