Definition of head in English:



  • 1The upper part of the human body, or the front or upper part of the body of an animal, typically separated from the rest of the body by a neck, and containing the brain, mouth, and sense organs.

    • ‘In the current case welding goggles were used to protect the eyes and the front of the head and neck.’
    • ‘Gods are all represented as having animal heads, and bodies of humans.’
    • ‘I reach for a stone, knock the fish on the head, and remove the hook.’
    • ‘All were massively built animals with small heads and barrel-like bodies.’
    • ‘I imagine that they scratched their heads in confusion as they read my post.’
    • ‘I snapped my head up towards her, obviously showing that I wasn't paying attention.’
    • ‘Points are scored by landing blows on the front of the head or upper body, above the belt.’
    • ‘Failure to use a helmet increased the risk of injuries to the head, neck, and face.’
    • ‘He put his hands on my sides and I put my arms around his neck and rested my head against his chest.’
    • ‘The entire family wore crowns upon their heads.’
    • ‘Her back was now on my chest, and she was resting her head in the crook of my neck and shoulder.’
    • ‘Trying to determine the reason for the human logjam, I craned my neck trying to see over the heads of the rest of the parishioners.’
    • ‘This approach is currently being tested in the United Kingdom to treat cancers of the head and neck, and liver.’
    • ‘The SL is the first roadster to get window airbags to protect occupants' heads and upper bodies in the event of a smash.’
    • ‘Sitting on the stone bench now she tilted her head up towards the sky and the welter of bare branches overhead.’
    • ‘Flea-infested dogs may scratch mainly on the lower part of their bodies while cats may scratch more around their heads and necks.’
    • ‘She sat closer to him and put an arm around his neck while resting her head on his shoulder.’
    • ‘A young kid catches a 6lb mullet, knocks it on the head, takes it home to show mum, then it goes in the bin.’
    • ‘On the first morning it is impossible to imagine the conventional male participants wanting their heads shaved.’
    • ‘Stretch your arms upwards and imagine you're trying to grasp something just above your head.’
    skull, cranium, crown
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The head regarded as the location of intellect, imagination, and memory.
      ‘whatever comes into my head’
      • ‘The evil that they imagine is inside their heads - but they can't be said to know it, at least not consciously.’
      • ‘They may be able to compute figures in their heads with lightning speed or display a remarkable memory for dates.’
      • ‘She picks up the exact dress she wore when she was eight and feels the memories rush to her head.’
      • ‘I just imagine myself inside the head of a child and write as if I am one.’
      • ‘The music that America's New Heroes hear in their heads when they imagine movies-yet-to-be-made is Classic Rock.’
      • ‘To get the image of this stretch into your head, imagine a road slightly narrower than Turl Street.’
      • ‘I can imagine that's the first thought that went through the heads of the local police.’
      • ‘Inside his head he drifted through memories that had been put there and that this time had stuck.’
      • ‘They prefer the company of animals because - knowing nothing about what is really going on in their heads - they can imagine anything.’
      • ‘I felt peaceful and calm for a few moments before the memories crept back into my head.’
      • ‘Perhaps that is one good reason for not filling children's heads with fairy stories about ‘happy ever after’, as real life just isn't that simple.’
      • ‘It was just a memory that popped into my head as I had read the poem.’
      • ‘While I've a house full of things he gave me, and a head full of memories, this glorious sound is the best gift of them all.’
      • ‘I closed my eyes, but all that was rushing through my head was the memories of her.’
      • ‘If most mergers fail, might part of the problem be all those unneeded people who carried organizational memory in their heads?’
      • ‘I find it impossible to just fall asleep, and always have, even if I am completely exhausted, meaning I have to read or listen to the radio before my head switches off.’
      • ‘Can you just imagine the thoughts going through the heads of these two little boys, pictured by Kathleen Henry.’
      • ‘Soon her pale blue eyes began to well up with tears as the memories flooded into her head.’
      • ‘The Archdeacon led a minute's silence as the congregation held a picture in their heads of their favourite memory of the twins.’
      • ‘The drawing is from memory - from inside their heads - from their imaginations.’
      brain, brains, brainpower, intellect, intelligence, intellectual capacity, mental capacity, powers of reasoning
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2An aptitude for or tolerance of.
      ‘she had a good head for business’
      • ‘I'm no good at IQ tests - I have no head for numbers and score lower than I should.’
      • ‘To walk to the top of these hills requires a strong heart and a head for heights.’
      • ‘His eldest daughter has a head for business, a will of her own and won't take any nonsense.’
      • ‘She just doesn't have a head for figures.’
      • ‘He had no head for business, but he was supported by powerful patrons who commissioned photographs from him.’
      aptitude, faculty, flair, talent, gift, capacity, ability, knack, bent
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3informal A headache, especially one resulting from intoxication.
      • ‘What a night, and what a bad head the next morning.’
      • ‘I've got a splitting head.’
      • ‘I told them they could keep the tablets in case they got a bad head on them some morning.’
      sore head, migraine
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4The height or length of a head as a measure.
      ‘a dazzling woman half a head taller than he was’
      • ‘In the Hong Kong Sprint Falvelon beat Morluc by a head and both horses were on hand to renew battle this year.’
      • ‘I was astonished to see that I was a good head taller than him.’
      • ‘She was tall, only half a head shorter than he was.’
      • ‘His last victory came by a head in a six-furlong claiming race at Beulah Park.’
      • ‘The boy is very nearly two whole years older than her, but almost a whole head shorter.’
    5. 1.5The obverse side of a coin (used when tossing a coin)
      ‘heads or tails?’
      • ‘Roughly speaking, those odds are slightly longer than throwing heads on 26 successive tosses of a fair coin.’
      • ‘You imagine heads coming up on a coin toss and heads comes up.’
      • ‘If you are a mother about to give birth in a village where your only help is a traditional midwife, you can die with the same likelihood as the toss of a coin showing heads.’
      • ‘As you rightly say, it is always possible that a fair coin will turn up all heads when you toss it however many times.’
      • ‘There was even a cheer and a bout of fist-clenching when Burnley called heads and won the toss to decide who went first.’
      • ‘And I ask a question with a yes or no answer and do the whole heads or tails thing.’
      • ‘We decided to toss a coin: heads Rome, tails Paris.’
      • ‘And yet, even after reading this here, you will be astonished when you do toss those four heads or four tails in a row.’
      • ‘Some magicians can make a coin come up heads on every toss - even when they don't use a two-headed coin.’
      • ‘I assign a probability of 0.5 to the coin falling heads on a fair toss coming to rest on one side or the other.’
      • ‘I wonder what would have happened if the coin had come up heads?’
      • ‘Are 250 spins enough to judge if the new Belgian one Euro coin favors heads?’
    6. 1.6The antlers of a deer.
  • 2A thing having the appearance of a head either in form or in relation to a whole, in particular.

    1. 2.1The cutting, striking, or operational end of a tool, weapon, or mechanism.
      • ‘The mechanical noise when the heads are moving is clearly louder and sounds also harder, more mechanical.’
      • ‘Dry cutting heads travel at higher rpm and require more power.’
      • ‘Adjustment of the cutting heads allows a great variety of moldings to be manufactured.’
      • ‘Pushing forth, he jabbed the head of the weapon into the greaves of the incoming phalanx.’
      • ‘The heads then rotate forward to mount the drive platter.’
      • ‘Most axe heads and handles have all these components; it is the shape and size that change.’
      • ‘He wired up players with heart rate monitors and breathing sensors, and lights were attached to the heads of the putting clubs to allow their movements to be studied.’
      • ‘Maces of the late 15th and 16th century often had multi-flanged heads shaped in the Gothic style.’
      • ‘Most tools are electrical/hydraulic, using hydraulic power to actually drive the cutting heads.’
      • ‘Coat the end of the tool head before driving it back into the ferule using a wood block and hammer.’
      • ‘Chrome surrounds the instrumentation, with the pivot heads of the needles matching.’
    2. 2.2The flattened or knobbed end of a nail, pin, screw, or match.
      • ‘Countersink nail and screw heads that are sticking up above the surface.’
      • ‘All the clamp holes of the panels were countersunk with this bit so that the screw heads are flush.’
      • ‘It's no rumour that you can see the heads of the Philips screws used to bolt the dashboard together.’
      • ‘Susie, somehow, managed to get the burning head of a match stuck to her fingers as it flared up.’
      • ‘Iron stains may be easy to diagnose because they are often near nail heads, screw heads or other hardware.’
      • ‘The bolt heads are only accessible when the safe is open, and a built-in flange on the front of the safe covers the cut edges of the hole for a clean installation.’
      • ‘Now officers at Belmarsh prison, London, have discovered him building a bomb inside prison using match heads and nails from prison furniture.’
      • ‘Took it to the tire shop to have it repaired and the guy said the cause of the severe flatness was a nail: a short nail with a large head.’
      • ‘The conventional screwdriver has a single blade and is used with screws of matching heads.’
      • ‘The heads of the screws, not the points, provide the traction.’
      • ‘The heads of nails, or dry wall screws, used to fasten plaster-board to studs often pop out.’
      • ‘In the picture above you will also note that the heads of the screws used to attach the base of the block are badly stripped.’
      • ‘The lamps on the roof, screw heads, door handles and other fixtures were polished brass.’
      • ‘A common problem is ‘popped’ nails, in which the heads of nails are jutting above the surface of the wood.’
      • ‘Don't worry if the screw heads stick out a bit- - you're not racing the thing (I hope).’
      • ‘Do this by sticking the stripped ends of the wires into any hole in the neutral bus bar and attaching them by tightening down the screw heads.’
    3. 2.3The ornamented top of a pillar or column.
      • ‘Ducts in the precast double wall carry cooled air which flows into the prayer hall through grilles in the column heads.’
      • ‘Interiors are relatively plain, with decoration confined to the square column heads.’
    4. 2.4A compact mass of leaves or flowers at the top of a stem, especially a capitulum.
      ‘huge heads of fluffy cream flowers’
      • ‘All have more or less narrow, mostly one-nerved leaves, and flowers in small compact heads.’
      • ‘When sunflowers have finished flowering, leave on the large heads and let the seeds ripen to provide valuable winter food for birds.’
      • ‘However, unprotected plants were smaller and had fewer flowering heads.’
      • ‘Its flowers have rounded heads with ragged clusters of petals, and provide a rich supply of nectar.’
      • ‘They had to force back the petals on the small yellow flowers and jam their heads into the narrowed openings.’
      • ‘Plants with light to moderate crown rot generally survive but often tiller poorly and have small leaves and heads on the main stem.’
      • ‘At first, the inner leaves clasp the heads and protect them from the sun, but even after they burst out, they yellow only slightly.’
      • ‘The blossoming flowers nodded their heads, trembling in the wind and from the stir she caused.’
      • ‘Euphorbia wulfenii is in full bloom with sprawling stems covered in furry grey-green leaves and topped with heavy heads of lime-green flowers.’
      • ‘Luzula nivea is easy to grow and will thrive in shade where its dense heads of white flowers appear in late spring and early summer.’
      • ‘Despite the leaf burn, there was good recovery of vegetative growth from B deficiency, and the plants produced healthy reproductive heads.’
      • ‘In a second experiment, branchlets were excised from harvested broccoli heads and placed on moistened sterile pads inside plastic pillows.’
      • ‘Not only the flowering heads but also the stems and the midribs of the main leaves were eaten.’
      • ‘Choose flowers with full heads like dahlias, carnations, chrysanthemums and daffodils.’
      • ‘The flower buds and flowering heads are edible and delicious, with just enough texture to chew, if you cut the first 6 inches only.’
      • ‘It's quite small just yet, but it has come through one winter and we hope that by next summer it will be large enough to produce the tall heads of rose-pink flowers for which the species is prized.’
      • ‘So the family has 25,000 species that grow all over the world and they go from tiny little one-flowered heads to the huge sunflowers.’
      • ‘There were no hens pecking about, no friendly lop-sided roofs or straggly flowers popping their heads above the earth.’
      • ‘This flourishes in a shady site and has the added bonus of airy heads of tiny blue flowers in late spring.’
      • ‘At flowering, entire flowering heads may be infected.’
    5. 2.5The edible leafy part at the top of the stem of such green vegetables as cabbage and lettuce.
      • ‘Lettuces are also very decorative - you can intersperse them among flowers to harvest when heads mature.’
      • ‘A man walked into the produce section of his local supermarket and asked to buy half a head of lettuce.’
      • ‘‘If you look near the heads of lettuce you'll find a healthy batch,’ she said.’
      • ‘They enter through the kitchen, where the produce trucks drop off the heads of lettuce.’
      • ‘This is a traditional English variety, with tender stems and small leafy purple heads.’
      • ‘He grabbed a few heads of lettuce and started stuffing them into a backpack.’
      • ‘The dense heads of the late cabbage require cool, moist conditions.’
      • ‘Especially popular in Europe, the tender inner leaves are great raw, and whole heads can be stir-fried or steamed.’
      • ‘European cabbages form dense heads and come in a pastel rainbow of colors.’
      • ‘What about a head of crisp, green lettuce for that fresh salad you were wanting to prepare?’
      • ‘The very young produce assistant tells him that they sell only whole heads of lettuce.’
      • ‘Never eat more than two teaspoons of charred lean meat or less than 10 heads of dry lettuce for dinner.’
      • ‘The enthusiastic crowd then pelted him with heads of lettuce.’
      • ‘I am thinking of the little gem-like heads of cabbage you are likely to get in the better French restaurants.’
      • ‘A male with young in the nest will avidly take care of a stalk of celery or a head of lettuce daily.’
      • ‘It is obvious Guenther and his staff are impressed with the clean operation and the striking green and healthy looking lettuce heads.’
      • ‘While the chicken is cooking break apart the head of lettuce into bite sized pieces.’
      • ‘Determined chefs go out of their way to find the freshest, most tender heads of romaine lettuce available.’
      • ‘The Powley vegetable growers are running a competition for the biggest head of cabbage.’
      • ‘Are we not going to be able to get our heads of cabbage anymore?’
  • 3The front, forward, or upper part or end of something, in particular.

    front, beginning, start, fore, forefront, top, leading position, foremost position
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1The upper end of a table or bed.
      ‘he sat down at the head of the cot’
      • ‘Six places were set, one at the head of the table, three on the right and two on the left.’
      • ‘She took a seat at the head of the table and told us her name was Judge Elizabeth Barkin.’
      • ‘Could you please position yourself at the bed's head?’
      • ‘The President sits at the head of a long table, immaculately dressed in a suit and striped tie.’
      • ‘I was put at the head of the table in between Teodora, and Ivan, her Serbian uncle.’
      • ‘The immediate past champion sits at the head of the dinner table alongside Hootie and Byron Nelson.’
      • ‘It was an attractive woman who sat at the head of the table who had made the dry statement.’
      • ‘The man took the seat at the head of the table and watching his guests select their lunch.’
      • ‘She walked into the dining room and sat at the head of the long table in the center of the room.’
      • ‘At the head of the table sat an old man with a shock of white hair that almost matched his robe.’
      • ‘Each dignitary was assigned a specific seat as the Sultan was put at the head of the table.’
      • ‘All of the chairs had deep red covers put on them with the exception of the one at the head of the table.’
      • ‘At the head of the table sits a brooding Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, moodily attacking a chicken dish.’
      • ‘With sheer will power, she forced herself to nod at Dante and sit at the head of the table.’
      • ‘They made their way to the grand room where the King sat at the head of the long table.’
      • ‘I suggested to Barnette that since he was our guest he should sit at the head of the table.’
      • ‘We have to figure out how we stop toys being chucked down the gap between the head of the bed and the wall.’
      • ‘Gwen sat at the head of the table, like a queen and kept her eyes on Jamie at all times.’
      • ‘She stood at the head of the long table, her hands holding onto the back of the chair.’
      • ‘He ushered her to a chair near the head of the table.’
    2. 3.2The flat end of a cask or drum.
      • ‘He'll split the heads of his drums into different textures and has contact mics on them.’
      • ‘The bass drum is the largest orchestral drum: normally it has two heads.’
    3. 3.3The front of a line or procession.
      • ‘And, in any event, the banks are at the head of the queue, so other creditors are unlikely to see a penny.’
      • ‘If he had had as much influence on the films that he directed, his place at the head of the Hollywood queue would be assured.’
      • ‘Some of the Hackenthorpe branch of the star's fan club have been taking it in turns to keep their place at the head of the queue.’
      • ‘I write with the disappointment of one who was second from the head of the queue when he made his decision.’
      • ‘Williams is expected to sell another pipeline soon, and it's a safe bet that Sokol will be near the head of the line of potential buyers.’
      • ‘But with a qualification or two, you can go to the head of the queue when an opening occurs.’
      • ‘Everyone let me go to the head of the queue with my few items for a picnic lunch - no one seems to shop here for just a few items!’
      • ‘So I'll be at the head of the queue for transfers, which are embargoed until September 1st.’
      • ‘Many pitched tents more than a fortnight ago to make sure they were at the head of the queue when the homes come on sale tomorrow morning.’
      • ‘On the morning of the battle she begged me to allow her to carry the American flag at the head of the regiment.’
      • ‘People who get to the head of the queue and then take ages to find their purse/wallet - surely you?’
      • ‘He was waiting at the head of the queue of traffic.’
      • ‘As Ella and George watch the rest of the march, the kids sneak down the alleyways and rejoin the head of the procession.’
      • ‘I was waiting at the head of a queue of traffic at a set of lights.’
      • ‘A picture shows the developers on horseback at the head of the parade.’
      • ‘With competition hotting up, you need some preparation and panache to stay at the head of the queue.’
      • ‘At the head of the parallel queue immediately to the right, the clerk's colleague smirks at me and I smirk back at her.’
      • ‘Or is airline service that bad that the only way to get to the head of the queue is to threaten the staff!’
      • ‘Andy then climbed down the staircase and pushed to the head of the line.’
      • ‘When I reach the head of the queue, my passport is looked at carefully before I'm allowed to pass.’
    4. 3.4The top of a page.
      • ‘He would start reading at the head of a page then his head would move downward in a straight line until he got to the foot of the page.’
      • ‘At 115, at the head of the page, your Honours will see, at line 4, his Honour reads out the questions which had been written by the jury.’
      • ‘For some time I tried to find an wise or witty one to insert at the head of my home page.’
    5. 3.5
      short for headline
      • ‘The front section of each issue has brief pieces, about research and about the political and social setting of science, and these often have punchy heads.’
    6. 3.6The top of a flight of stairs or steps.
      • ‘The best entrance to the hotel ballroom, a double door at the head of a short flight of steps, was strictly forbidden.’
      • ‘He left me at the head of a flight of stairs leading to the basement.’
      • ‘Miss Howitt broke away from a group of her friends when she saw Croft come to the head of the stairs.’
      • ‘He quickly climbed up the steps and left it coiled in a heap at the head of the stairs.’
    7. 3.7The source of a river or stream.
      • ‘As the autumn floods encourage the salmon to the spawning redds in the river heads, the Government has again given the thumbs down to any plan for a buy out of the drift net fishers.’
      • ‘With his wife and child, he had ridden seventy-five miles up the valley to meet the Mormon party near the head of Lemhi River.’
      • ‘In 1754, Virginia dispatched an army under Lieutenant Colonel George Washington to construct a fort at the head of the Ohio River.’
      • ‘The river head is the source not only of the property's water, but also of its joie de vivre.’
      • ‘The head of the river, the top of the ladder is where all the biggest fish want to be.’
      source, origin, well head, headspring, headwater, headwaters
      View synonyms
    8. 3.8The end of a lake or inlet at which a river enters.
      • ‘We were at the margins of the lake, where a river runs into its head.’
      • ‘Leaving the head of Lake Wanaka the road then runs through an open valley to Makarora.’
      • ‘Then I thought he was just in a hurry to get to the head of the lake for another run.’
      • ‘He and his party took a water taxi to the head of Lake Rotoroa and spent the first night at the West Sabine Hut.’
      • ‘He will say that we forced him to carry us, and that he let us off at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘What looks like the head of the lake opens up as one rounds the next corner to reveal another sheet of water.’
      • ‘Another age had passed when she saw a man sitting upon a rock at the head of the inlet.’
      • ‘He started to prepare his studies at the head of Lake Ontario as a large monograph in three parts.’
      • ‘A steamer came out of Rio Bay, and shook them with its wash, as it churned past on the way to the head of the lake.’
      • ‘This is fairly level and offers great views of Mount Earnslaw and other mountains at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘Watch for the notice board with a diagram identifying the mountains at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘Set on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley, at the head of Lake Tanganyika, it is also volcanic.’
      • ‘Midden sites have been found at Kerr Bay and in the Travers Valley at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘St Petersburg is located on the delta of the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland.’
    9. 3.9[usually in place names]A promontory.
      ‘Beachy Head’
      • ‘The images include four lighthouses in Maine - Bass Harbor Head Light, Cape Neddick Light, Pemaquid Point Light, and Portland Head Light.’
      • ‘The print was Thea Schrack's ‘Yaquina Head Lighthouse.’’
      • ‘Baynham has farmed for all of his 70 years at Penlen farm on St David's Head.’
    10. 3.10The top of a ship's mast.
      • ‘In an effort to overcome this a forward-looking wind transducer is mounted at the head of the mast.’
    11. 3.11The bows of a ship.
      • ‘There was no way the captain could keep the ship's head up into the seas.’
      • ‘As the Grosvenor sliced towards the rocks at six knots, the officer of the watch dismissed reports of shore fires beyond the ship's head.’
      bow, bows, stem, fore, forepart, front, nose, cutwater
      View synonyms
    12. 3.12The foam on top of a glass of beer, or the cream on the top of milk.
      • ‘You may be one of the many people who see head on your beer as a bad thing.’
      • ‘All beer heads decay exponentially with time, with most taking around three minutes to decay almost completely.’
      • ‘A number of other drinking traditions also use hygiene as an excuse - take the ‘two fingers’ of head on every glass of beer.’
      • ‘It's an almost black beer with a creamy head, giving a subtle roasted coffee aroma.’
      • ‘We look at how we can extend the shelf life of beer and at improving foam - people equate freshness with a nice head of foam.’
      • ‘The purpose of a proper glass is to concentrate the aroma and allow a full head of foam to develop.’
      froth, foam, bubbles, spume, mousse, fizz, effervescence, lather, suds
      View synonyms
    13. 3.13
      short for cylinder head
      • ‘Fix Auto Body of Ontario did the bodywork and paint and Precision Cylinder Heads modified the heads.’
      • ‘The mammoth engine's double overhead camshaft heads and 64 valves are fed by a quartet of turbochargers.’
      • ‘For example, an engine that kept existing cylinder block and heads but may have had an internal detail change or a cosmetic update.’
      • ‘The rules require all cylinder blocks, heads and intake manifolds to have factory part numbers.’
      • ‘The remaining 40 percent of content, including cylinder blocks and heads, is made in-house.’
  • 4A person in charge of something; a director or leader.

    ‘the head of the Dutch Catholic Church’
    • ‘Detailed talks on the future of European Union expansion are set to continue as the Prime Minister joins other heads of the European Council in Brussels.’
    • ‘In a macabre move, his party has decided to keep its deceased leader as its head until after this week's elections.’
    • ‘What other elected politician can you find asking direct, unflinching questions to heads of government ministries?’
    • ‘The Swedes have said no to their leaders - an alliance of politicians, union heads, businesspeople, and media figures.’
    • ‘This probe could result in civil charges against research department heads, banking chiefs, and even some CEOs.’
    • ‘The next highest paid director was the head of its US aggregates business Tom Hill.’
    • ‘Some eastern rural areas are still dominated by large landowners, traditional clan heads, and religious leaders.’
    • ‘Division of labor in the reproductive economy and time use patterns for household heads were also measured.’
    • ‘Scheinman set up monthly meetings with the heads of operations, sales, and finance to vet potential deals.’
    • ‘On the other hand, these same leaders are often the heads of militias and these militias are being used to assassinate political opponents.’
    • ‘Not only do many construction staffers come from architecture backgrounds, but so do the heads of the in-house wood and metal shops.’
    • ‘Dillon is head of public relations for Ladbrokes, Manchester United's betting partner.’
    • ‘Most village heads have some business relations with the town's shop owners or traders.’
    • ‘Their findings are released today on the eve of the Thessaloniki summit of heads of EU political leaders that will decide the future framework of the community.’
    • ‘The duo will meet the heads of 15 top IT companies and showcase the state's ‘intrinsic strengths’.’
    • ‘They then stepped into the sunshine for a tour of the sculpture trail, guided by John Le Page, head of art.’
    • ‘Of all the European government heads, the British Prime Minister's position is, in the near term, the most precarious.’
    • ‘The government has also threatened to press charges against the heads of two regional governments for aiding and abetting the strikers.’
    • ‘Of 1,000 heads of small firms polled by the company, 93% said they would like to see restrictions on staff work hours eased.’
    • ‘I personally answer more than 100 e-mails a day no matter where I am, as do our regional leaders and agency heads.’
    leader, chief, boss, controller, master, supervisor, governor, superintendent, foreman, forewoman, headman
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1British
      • ‘Training has also been carried out for teachers and heads.’
      • ‘Rossendale Civic Pride is working with Groundwork Rossendale, Myerscough College, and heads of the schools to make the dream a reality.’
      • ‘Government plans to relax much-criticised SATs testing of young children have been welcomed by Southend school heads and teachers' unions.’
      • ‘The numbers of teachers and heads choosing to retire early from primary schools has risen by 40 per cent since 2002.’
      • ‘For deans, the key questions were always curricular, and for school heads, they were both curricular and pedagogical.’
      • ‘She had an ability to communicate and to understand exactly what heads and teachers needed that was second to none.’
      • ‘Grammar school heads claim that schools which insist on taking only those that list them as first choice are being unfair to parents.’
      • ‘Ultimately there will be improved professional opportunities for Alice Springs based staff, with a few heads of schools based here.’
      • ‘The second related to a new duty placed on all teachers to assist school heads in assessing whether their colleagues merited receiving the award.’
      • ‘The National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers say heads must find money to implement the accord.’
      • ‘The school's headteacher said heads were seeking to meet with the police to address the issue.’
      • ‘City technology colleges underline what can be achieved if the government trusts heads and teachers to run schools.’
      • ‘Most heads and teachers strive to provide fair advice.’
      • ‘The Commission denied it wanted to take control over a large proportion of school spending away from heads and governors and give it back to LEAs.’
      • ‘But grammar school heads say this is because their pupils have already reached high levels of attainment by that stage.’
      • ‘The Education Minister further said that school heads must display phone numbers of nearest fire brigade officers on the school notice board.’
      • ‘The headteacher, who officially took up his post on January 1, says that he is keen to meet parents, as well as other heads to pick up tips and advice.’
      • ‘Four seminars were held in July, one each for trustees, presidents, deans, and school heads.’
      • ‘Before Oakbank, he was an associate head at Hanson Secondary School, in Bradford.’
      • ‘He answered questions from Year 7 pupils on Friday following a meeting of all the heads and chairmen of governors of north Wiltshire secondary schools.’
  • 5Grammar
    The word that governs all the other words in a phrase in which it is used, having the same grammatical function as the whole phrase.

    • ‘Recall that a verb governs an object, and the head of a phrase governs the complement.’
    • ‘All of these examples involve head nouns with an indefinite article.’
    • ‘In many grammatical theories, the head of a phrase is defined as that constituent which determines the syntactic category of the phrase.’
  • 6A person considered as a numerical unit.

    ‘they paid fifty dollars a head’
    • ‘In raw economic statistics about income per head, it has moved towards the UK average.’
    • ‘Britain on the other hand mixes high income per head with high levels of social and family breakdown.’
    • ‘If the owner only gets a handful of visits a year it effectively costs the taxpayer thousands of pounds a head.’
    • ‘While more people were drinking wine than ever before, they drank only a moderate quantity per head.’
    • ‘If you could get a party of, say, six other enthusiasts, it would work out cheaper per head.’
    • ‘Typically a two-course meal complete with a couple of drinks will cost only about three pounds fifty per head!’
    • ‘By 1992 it had the highest quantity of arms per head of population of any country in the world.’
    • ‘For a pound a head and three cups of tea each what better value could we find?’
    1. 6.1[treated as plural]A number of cattle or game as specified.
      ‘seventy head of dairy cattle’
      • ‘To kill 30000 head of game in a season at Sandringham, even with help, required application of a kind.’
      • ‘Thousands of lives and thousands of head of cattle are lost every year due to floods.’
      • ‘Each June around 30,000 head of cattle strike off for the north and fresh grass.’
      • ‘Slosh Farm at Appleby is run by Robert Baxter and has 180 head of beef cattle and 150 head of sheep.’
      • ‘The night raid was made right under the noses of a full pack of hounds and 15 head of poultry were wiped out.’
      • ‘The livestock population of over seven million head is also expected to plummet.’
      • ‘He'd raised and sold a few head of cattle in his time and used his savings to take lessons.’
      • ‘He managed to move his 50 head of cattle to safety, but his entire crop of wheat and barley was lost.’
      • ‘In all it is expected that approximately 440 head of cattle are to be shipped for slaughter over the next week.’
      • ‘There was a big sale of adult cattle at Fermoy Mart yesterday with 1,200 head on offer.’
      • ‘The farming family also have around 20 head of cattle and 400 sheep on their land.’
      • ‘So we still run a few head of beef cattle, a bit of contact with the land.’
  • 7A component in an audio, video, or information system by which information is transferred from an electrical signal to the recording medium, or vice versa.

    • ‘The main drive contains the drive electronics and heads.’
    • ‘Multiple optical heads combine to produce a wide-field-of-view imaging system.’
    • ‘This thin data storage device has a flexible recordable disk and recording heads arranged on both sides of the disk.’
    • ‘Make sure that you have cleaned the heads of the VCR between copying videos.’
    • ‘They are used for quality control in manufacturing digital recording heads as well as in the construction of compact audio disk stampers.’
    • ‘Depending on capacity each drive has between one and three platters, and up to six GMR recording heads.’
    • ‘For example: the recording head is now on the under side of the disk, to avoid problems from dust on the disk surface.’
    • ‘The GMR recording heads that are used in all of today's big disk drives are a good example of this.’
    1. 7.1
      short for printhead
  • 8A body of water kept at a particular height in order to provide a supply at sufficient pressure.

    ‘an 8 m head of water in the shafts’
    • ‘The seawater stream into which the combustion gas is injected is under pressure via the head of water exerted by the seawater reservoir.’
    • ‘The half weir was constructed to keep a good head of water in the river between Richmond and the end of the tidal flow at Teddington weir.’
    • ‘The scheme will not require a dam but rather a wall that provides a constant head of water and which will be designed to utilise the flow of the river.’
    • ‘Measurements in a number of wells are required to map the distribution of hydraulic head within an aquifer.’
    1. 8.1The pressure exerted by a body of water kept at a particular height or by a confined body of steam.
      ‘a good head of steam on the gauge’
      • ‘We made sure that there was plenty of coal out at the boiler fronts and a good head of steam to start them off.’
      • ‘The high pitched noise of the steam engines and their strong heads of steam are to dominate the afternoon.’
  • 9Nautical
    A toilet or bathroom on a boat or ship.

    • ‘The berthing, heads, galley, engine room and other spaces are located below the water line.’
    • ‘Jim laughed softly and stepped into the head to splash some cold water over his face.’
    • ‘To the port side aft is the head and shower and a quarter berth cabin with large double berth.’
    • ‘It was posted in some of the heads on the ship the day before the plane went down.’
    • ‘The Mississippi also had trough type urinals and unwalled johns in the heads, and salt water showers.’
    • ‘Although the sea washed the heads clean as the ship pitched, the heads still needed a regular scrub-down with a broom.’
    lavatory, wc, water closet, facilities, urinal, privy, latrine, outhouse, earth closet, jakes
    View synonyms
  • 10Geology
    A superficial deposit of rock fragments, formed at the edge of an ice sheet by repeated freezing and thawing and then moved downhill.

    • ‘Larger-scale climatic changes or tectonic changes in the hinterland produce relative changes in the main agents of deposition and entrenchment of the upper fan (the fan head).’
    • ‘The rock and soil debris may even move on very shallow slopes, resulting in a large accumulation of head at the valley bottom.’


  • be banging (or knocking) one's head against a brick wall

    • Be doggedly attempting the impossible and suffering in the process.

      • ‘The whole time I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall.’
      • ‘I feel like I have been banging my head against a brick wall.’
      • ‘I tapped in to a lot of good things when I came here and I have never felt like I have been banging my head against a brick wall.’
      • ‘In the end it was a relief when I got the sack, because I was banging my head against a brick wall every day.’
      • ‘I've been knocking my head against a brick wall for so long.’
      • ‘She felt as though she was knocking her head against a brick wall.’
      • ‘Often he felt as if he was banging his head against a brick wall.’
      • ‘You felt you were banging your head against a brick wall.’
      • ‘Mrs Rutherford said: ‘I just feel like I've been banging my head against a brick wall for the last year because nobody can make a decision.’’
  • bang (or knock) people's heads together

    • Reprimand people severely, especially in an attempt to stop their arguing.

      • ‘I just think it's fun to knock people's heads together and call attention to how silly arguing over NOTHING can be.’
      • ‘This lying, prevarication and knocking people's heads together is standard practice.’
      • ‘We were inches away and if he had not taken that initiative - something John is very good at - of knocking people's heads together and forcing them to come to an agreement to settle matters or to say ‘we cannot make an agreement’, that would not have been done.’
      • ‘Big organizations exist because there are economies of scale, or because - as Ronald Coase pointed out in this classic paper - it's more efficient to run things by banging people's heads together than by haggling over contracts.’
  • be hanging over someone's head

    • (of something unpleasant) threaten to affect someone at any moment.

      • ‘This is the noise I am making as I finish, print out and collate a pack of 7 essays that have been hanging over my head for ages and ages, ready to hand in as the last act before the holidays.’
      • ‘Add to this year's mix the fact that I'm supposed to complete a novel this month, my favorite boss is running for a position in a different court, this school program that is hanging over my head and you have a recipe for a nervous breakdown.’
      • ‘The incident, he said, had been hanging over his head for a substantial period of time, and had taken ‘a considerable toll of his mental and financial well-being’.’
      • ‘All the while the citizenship issue was hanging over my head.’
      • ‘They wanted to provide a better world for everyone that was over there, and they certainly don't deserve a fate that is hanging over their head.’
      • ‘The idea of the engagement party was hanging over my head like a dark cloud and I wondered whether there was any way to get out of it.’
      • ‘The thing has been hanging over my head since the summer, and I wanted to finish it before Christmas.’
      • ‘This has been hanging over my head since I started here.’
      • ‘The press were on his case, and a court case for alleged assault was hanging over his head (he was cleared later in the year).’
      • ‘A client's computer problem has been hanging over my head for a few weeks now, and this morning it was finally sorted out.’
  • be heading for a fall

  • be in over one's head

    • informal Be involved in something that is beyond one's capacity to deal with.

      ‘when I became a graduate student I knew at once I was in over my head’
      • ‘After my first lead role, I knew I was in over my head, so I started training in acting and martial arts.’
      • ‘She had a sinking feeling that she was getting in over her head.’
      • ‘Some of the soldiers are there out of a sense of duty; most of them realize they might be in over their heads.’
      • ‘I began with the tutorial missions and realized I was definitely in over my head.’
      • ‘Now she's in over her head, and her wisecracks to the cops don't help her situation.’
      • ‘The overwhelming impression I get from Firewarrior is that of being constantly in over my head.’
      • ‘As I say in my opening comments, we're likely getting in over our heads, but it's a debate worth starting.’
      • ‘Near the start of the film, a city cop volunteers to help the small-town policemen, who seem to be in over their heads.’
      • ‘It's during these inept stabs at drama that the director displays how far in over his head he is.’
      • ‘How do you decide when you are in over your head in a work-related situation?’
  • be on someone's (own) head

    • Be someone's sole responsibility.

      • ‘He tied me up and he is masquerading as me, now stop asking questions, or if anything happens to Janey it'll be on your head.’
      • ‘If this is what you want, let it be on your head then.’
      • ‘In the revolt I slew all the peasants; all their blood is on my head.’
      • ‘Whatever happens to them in the field is on your head, man.’
      • ‘Well, it is on his own head, your Honour, the delay, it cannot be said otherwise.’
      • ‘If the Government wants to impose the failed experiment of parole, the failed experiment of sentencing, on the law-abiding citizens of this country, then it is on its head; it is on its conscience.’
      • ‘Either way, whatever happened to him now was on her head.’
      • ‘Very well, everything that happens here after is on your head… love.’
      • ‘If anything happens to that boy, it'll be on your head!’
      • ‘If I suddenly become fit and healthy, it's going to be on her head, let me tell you.’
  • bite (or snap) someone's head off

    • Reply sharply and brusquely to someone.

      • ‘I know that now, but back then, I could tell something was wrong and when I asked you about it, you dang near snapped my head off.’
      • ‘I mean I put up with your materialism, superficiality, and egotism on a daily basis without biting your head off.’
      • ‘‘You too, Dave,’ she replied hesitantly, as if she expected Jill to bite her head off.’
      • ‘I had so much I wanted to say to her, and it was all I could do to avoid biting her head off when she passed a remark about how long it's been since Bro rang her.’
      • ‘Next person who asks why I'm alone, I'll bite his head off.’
      • ‘People from Glasgow are more approachable - I stopped to ask someone the time in Edinburgh once and they bit my head off.’
      • ‘‘Yeah the guy bit my head off for it,’ he replied, shrugging his shoulders.’
      • ‘Being assertive, telling the salesperson/company what the nature of your complaint is, be firm, but don't bite their head off.’
      • ‘Usually you snap my head off for stealing your food.’
      • ‘The slightest error on anyone else's part and he was biting their head off like they had drastically fowled up a mission.’
      criticize, censure, attack, condemn, castigate, chastise, berate, lambaste, lash, pillory, find fault with, abuse, revile, give someone a bad press
      View synonyms
  • (down) by the head

    • (of a boat or ship) deeper in the water forward than astern.

      ‘the Boy Andrew went down by the head’
      • ‘Captain Smith ordered the Marconi operators to send out a distress call that the ship was sinking by the head.’
  • come to a head

    • 1Reach a crisis.

      ‘the violence came to a head with the deaths of six youths’
      • ‘The club's financial crisis came to a head in February when it narrowly avoided going into administration.’
      • ‘This crisis may have come to a head with the collapse of the socialist camp but its origins lie in the emergence of a modern capitalist order capable of accommodating itself rapidly to changes in the forces of production.’
      • ‘That situation came to a head and reached a crisis point in August of that year.’
      • ‘The intense violence came to a head at the weekend as hundreds of rioters pelted police with petrol bombs, blast bombs, rocks and bottles.’
      • ‘This came to a head in 1979 when the violence really began in earnest.’
      • ‘By late summer 1923 the crisis was coming to a head.’
      • ‘The fiscal demands of the military were added to a long-term inflation of currency that came to a head during the crisis.’
      • ‘The situation came to a head in Liverpool in similar circumstances to the crisis which has now arisen in Glasgow - with money the central problem.’
      • ‘The extent of the funding crisis came to a head when school budgets finalised in March were not enough to cover rising costs in the new financial year.’
      • ‘History suggests that crises need to come to a head before we start to make hard changes - try to imagine passing the New Deal in 1928.’
      reach a crisis, come to a climax, reach a critical point, reach a turning point, reach a crossroads
      come to the crunch
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Suppurate; fester.
        ‘abscesses should be allowed to come to a head’
  • enter someone's head

    • see enter
      • ‘Anyway, I really don't know what prompted this post which may seem quite pointless and even jumbled as I'm just typing thoughts as they come into my head.’
      • ‘That was a lie; the idea had come into her head only a few hours before.’
      • ‘Smirking as an evil idea came into my head, I cleared my throat loudly.’
      • ‘The theory is that you write a key word in the middle of the paper and then write associated ideas and facts round about it, joining them up together when possible, and expanding on ideas that might come into your head.’
      • ‘It was just an idea that came into my head out of nowhere really, and today while I was doing some research on-line I stumbled across a course offered by the United Nations that is perfectly in line with what I am interested in.’
      • ‘As soon as you've finished writing the question, immediately write the first words that come into your head.’
      • ‘An idea for a story came into my head so I just started typing away.’
      • ‘I walked into my bedroom, with a new idea coming into my head.’
      • ‘I was just sitting at my computer one night and this idea came into my head.’
      • ‘‘Usually sitting in class a word or thought would come into my head and then I'd go home and pick up my guitar,’ he said.’
  • from head to toe (or foot)

    • All over one's body.

      ‘I was shaking from head to toe’
      • ‘Close your eyes, take a breath, exhale slowly, and scan your body from head to toe.’
      • ‘I was shaking from head to toe when I heard what had happened and I couldn't get there quickly enough.’
      • ‘I was vaguely aware I was shaking from head to foot.’
      • ‘When my friend went in to see the doctor, her body was swollen from head to toe.’
      • ‘It has most definitely got the best album cover - a nude woman body painted from head to toe!’
      • ‘Every muscle in her body was tense and she was trembling from head to foot.’
      • ‘We checked his body from head to toe, got him ready for the paramedics and then I took off and left.’
      • ‘A shudder ran thorough his body from head to toe, and his breath fell out in a long sigh.’
      • ‘Warmth filled my body from head to toe and I finally understood what had been happening to me.’
      • ‘Despite the grief of losing her only son, she personally examined the body from head to foot and defied the funeral home about the arrangement to keep the casket closed.’
  • get one's head around (or round)

    • informal [usually with negative]Understand or come to terms with something.

      ‘I just can't get my head around this idea’
      • ‘To go to another team and sit on the bench, it would be disappointing to finish my career that way… it's difficult to get your head around that.’
      • ‘We encourage you to read this article because it might help you get your head round what we've just said.’
      • ‘It is not all practical; the coursework is very hard to get your head around.’
      • ‘I didn't start at the beginning - I know I'm still having trouble getting my head around that, so I skipped to chapter three and read it through - 18,000 words - before dinner.’
      • ‘Even Machiavelli would have trouble getting his head round that one.’
      • ‘It's not easy stuff to get your head round, but it is clearly vital.’
      • ‘When I've got my head around how it's going, I'll write something about how it's working, too.’
      • ‘Equally as daunting is the local slimming class in a draughty scout hut, with public weigh-ins and complex eating plans you haven't time to get your head around.’
      • ‘Doubtless it takes time to get your head around the understated complexities of Japanese food.’
      • ‘Obviously you're only going to be able to get your head around this stuff in terms of Jungian pop psychology, because that sounds like an intellectually plausible frame of reference, and its the only one you have for it.’
      comprehend, apprehend, grasp, see, take in, perceive, discern, make out, puzzle out, recognize, keep up with, master, get to know, follow, fathom, get to the bottom of, penetrate, divine, interpret, unravel, decipher, see the light about, envisage
      View synonyms
  • give someone his (or her) head

    • Allow someone complete freedom of action.

      • ‘Andy - he - you give - there are certain guys, you give them their head.’
      • ‘However, when Bowman does give them their head, the dragons are both physically intimidating and stunningly effective.’
      • ‘You have to harness what is good in it and then take on board good key people and give them their head.’
      • ‘‘If you are going to have a youth wing, you have to give them their head,’ one senior aide said.’
      • ‘For the opening sequence of this piece, he stands apart in a corner to give them their head, in swathes of darting, scything movement, bewitching articulation, surging bursts of speedy turns and airy flights.’
      • ‘There will be cerebral excitement, particularly if youngsters like Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder are given their head.’
      • ‘Wenger's identification of such targets shows the brilliance of his intelligence network and it is fair, too, to say that no one else is more likely to refine such talents and give them their head.’
      • ‘Our people see the same sort of potential in Braht Lahts as Drachensblut showed when we gave them their head.’
      • ‘As you will hear, Wangenstein's policy of selecting the brightest and the best, giving them their head and supporting them, was critical to success.’
  • give someone head

    • vulgar slang Perform oral sex on someone.

  • go to someone's head

    • 1(of alcohol) make someone dizzy or slightly drunk.

      • ‘Lily began feeling the alcohol go to her head after her 6th drink, and she almost passed out.’
      • ‘I supposed that the large consumption of alcohol the night before had gone to his head.’
      • ‘I had two drinks that just went to my head, because I hadn't eaten.’
      • ‘The sangria had gone to my head and I badly wanted to go home.’
      • ‘Maybe it was our French friend again - he is apparently a lover of all things Scottish, and clearly the whisky had gone to his head.’
      intoxicate, inebriate, befuddle, make someone intoxicated, make someone drunk, make someone dizzy, make someone's head spin
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of success) make someone conceited.
        • ‘Something about being first in the procession went to my head instead.’
        • ‘It's nice to hear that the news hasn't gone to his head.’
        • ‘It was the imagined glory of his role in local government which went to his head.’
        • ‘I am glad I had children before I got published, otherwise it might have gone to my head and I might start thinking book-writing was important.’
        • ‘And has mixing in venerable music circles gone to his head?’
        • ‘All of the talent and fame haven't gone to his head.’
        • ‘And it is because of his home town, admits this designer modestly, that success has not gone to his head.’
        • ‘Then I won a prize in the talent show and it all went to my head.’
        • ‘He's a ref and it's gone to his head, he just had an authority thing, whether it was some sort of power trip I don't know.’
        • ‘It seems that the power of being Vice President has finally gone to his head.’
        make someone conceited, make someone arrogant, turn someone's head, make someone full of themselves, puff someone up
        View synonyms
  • get something into one's (or someone's) head

    • Come or cause (someone) to realize or understand.

      ‘when will you get it into your head that it's the project that counts, not me?’
      • ‘I'd got it into my head that today would be the final resolution of the London flat problem, after several false starts.’
      • ‘I seem to have got it into my head that I need to read novels set in New York.’
      • ‘He's got it into his head to replace the fossil fuels he uses to heat the air and water in his Highgrove residence with wood before it becomes fossilised.’
      • ‘He got it into his head that he was stupid, but this course made him realise he isn't.’
      • ‘I was in secondary school and I somehow got it into my head that because I was good at sciences (especially physics) I should become an engineer.’
      • ‘We have a pretty simple uniform while we're cooking or serving, but I got it into my head that it would be cool to have team aprons - I came up with this design.’
      • ‘I understand that Jimmy, like you, cannot get it into his head that she doesn't want to be with him anymore.’
      • ‘For some reason, I had got it into my head that the small white square with a ‘T’ marked in it was the Minster.’
      • ‘He was a bit concerned that I seem to have got it into my head that I'll be fine in another 6 months or so, enough to go back straight into full time work anyhow.’
      • ‘I had got it into my head that Cirencester is a long way away but it isn't.’
  • head of hair

    • The hair on a person's head, regarded in terms of its appearance or quantity.

      ‘he had a fine head of hair’
      • ‘She remembers him, with his fine head of hair, forever working.’
      • ‘All I've gotten for it is a very annoying head of hair and a growing loss of hair.’
      • ‘I wouldn't go back to my 20s if you gave me a full head of hair.’
      • ‘It seems obvious to say false - not because the present king of France has a fine head of hair, but because he does not exist.’
      • ‘The man appears to have an unruly head of hair and wears a tunic with dots, apparently meant to suggest an animal hide.’
      • ‘He curled my entire head of hair and pinned it up into my crown so half of my curls were up and half were down.’
      • ‘With his thick head of hair and crinkly cornflower eyes he looks undeniably statesmanlike - an impression compounded when he asks me for news of the Irish peace process.’
      • ‘Although many opt for dying their entire head of hair so that they can finally prove that blondes have more fun, others try a tamer, sun-kissed glow through highlighting.’
      • ‘The attacker is described as Asian, aged about 20, 5ft 8in tall and was said to be slim with a thick head of hair and good looking.’
      • ‘The one with the heavy legs has a beautiful head of hair.’
      head of hair, shock of hair, mop of hair, mane
      View synonyms
  • —— one's head off

    • Talk, laugh, etc., unrestrainedly.

      ‘he was drunk as a skunk and singing his head off’
      • ‘When I picked up the phone, Nick was still there, laughing his head off.’
      • ‘I was laughing my head off along with everybody else as we watched this spectacle.’
      • ‘Mostly, his blackly comic writing will make you laugh your head off, but it can also rip your heart out.’
      • ‘I told him the story and he laughed his head off, brought his nurses in and we all had a good laugh.’
      • ‘But if you are from England, you are probably laughing your head off, as that topped the regional results back then.’
      • ‘As soon as the curtains go up you will be laughing your head off.’
      • ‘When Alex had presented it to me, only just four months ago, it had made me laugh my head off.’
      • ‘Five minutes later, he came out of the school with a group of about six people, laughing his head off.’
      • ‘I found this too hilarious, and continued to sit on the floor, laughing my head off.’
      • ‘He released me a minute or two later, after laughing his head off at me like I was a freak of nature.’
  • head over heels

    • 1Turning over completely in forward motion, as in a somersault.

      • ‘Do NOT roll head over heels as if doing a forward somersault.’
      • ‘He tumbled down the incline, head over heels amid falling debris, and thudded against something soft.’
      • ‘She cried out in pain and watched in amazement, as her attacker seemed to fly backward and fall head over heels over her bed.’
      • ‘Amy braced, but was still blown backwards by the strong wind, tumbling head over heels and desperately trying to right herself or at least control her movements.’
      • ‘As per usual, he tumbled and flipped head over heels in a posing routine that brought the house - and the lights - down one more time.’
      • ‘In his eagerness to greet us, he tumbles down the steps head over heels.’
      • ‘The powerful forearms and shoulders collapsed in full stride sending the lion nose first into the dirt, hind end vaulting upward as the cat tumbled head over heels, its forward momentum carrying it almost to my feet.’
      • ‘Monkey jumped out of the way so quickly that he lost his balance and went tumbling, head over heels, into the brush, the dog in yelping pursuit.’
      • ‘In doing this though he lost his balance and tumbled head over heels out of the window.’
      • ‘She tumbled head over heels right into the arms of a boy.’
    • 2Madly in love.

      ‘I immediately fell head over heels for Don’
      • ‘I fell head over heels in love with a wonderful man who I truthfully still love.’
      • ‘We were emailing, phoning or writing daily, sending each other love songs, head over heels in love and planning our future, both feeling totally alive for the first time in years.’
      • ‘Oblivious to the implications, he falls head over heels in love, embarking on a bitter-sweet romance that will have cataclysmic consequences.’
      • ‘Now my little Desiree has found a young man she has fallen head over heels in love with, they are besotted, spending all their free time with each other, talking in a language only they seem to understand.’
      • ‘All three seem to fall head over heels in love with her (like you do).’
      • ‘‘He rang me up straight away, and it was obvious he had fallen head over heels in love with her,’ said Mrs Murphy.’
      • ‘I realized that I not only loved him, but I was head over heels in love with him.’
      • ‘It made me think about a lot of relationships I witness on a day to day basis, and in particular the fact that I don't know a single guy who acts like he's head over heels in love with his girlfriend.’
      • ‘I wasn't going to fall head over heels in love with this new cat.’
      • ‘And in that mood you can find yourself hankering for a passport back to that time of ultimate innocence, when you first fell head over heels in love with the grand old game.’
  • a head start

    • An advantage granted or gained at the beginning of something.

      ‘our fine traditions give us a head start on the competition’
      • ‘And I got into the office early this morning so as to get a head start.’
      • ‘Given the amount of travel I have coming up, I don't need a head start on getting sick.’
      • ‘It will give you a head start on those guests who take a leisurely breakfast and arrive mid morning.’
      • ‘If you were fleeing tyranny, you would bring everything that could possibly give you a head start in the new society.’
      • ‘The shoots will be well away as soon as they are under the ground, giving the plant a head start and guaranteeing lots of delicious spuds.’
      • ‘Their earnings will enable them to maintain accommodation and so on on the outside, and give them a head start when they leave prison.’
      • ‘Obviously it will fade as your skin sheds dead layers over a week or so, so give yourself a head start by applying the products on younger cells.’
      • ‘Granted, with the roll call of the most illustrious pieces of golf real estate on their books they've already got a bit of a head start.’
      • ‘Left wing politicos would do well to start campaigning at the local level now and get a head start on their opponents.’
      • ‘Greater support for boosting the skills of workers is another way in which businesses can get a head start over their competitors.’
      an advantage, a commanding position, an edge, the edge, the whip hand, a lead, a head start, ascendancy, superiority, supremacy, sway, control, predominance, power, mastery, dominance, command
      View synonyms
  • heads will roll

    • People will be dismissed or forced to resign.

      • ‘I think it's inevitable that some heads will roll over this once we get this independent investigation going.’
      • ‘I will be instigating some enquiries and some heads will roll.’
      • ‘I also hope heads will roll in the government for what's happened here this week.’
      • ‘And heads will roll for giving me wrong information.’
      • ‘I imagine heads will roll (but hopefully only figuratively).’
      • ‘It is expected that a number of heads will roll within the bank when his report is completed but the identities and numbers to be fired still remain very much a matter for speculation.’
      • ‘Experience tells us that each time there is a party congress, heads will roll and purges will abound as intra-party struggle erupts.’
      • ‘And as Eric said, a lot of heads will roll if we make another mistake.’
      • ‘Let the garbage pile up for a couple weeks at single-family homes in tonier parts of town, though, and heads will roll.’
      • ‘I am sure that heads will roll and fingers of disgrace will be pointed in the right direction but our country's future is at stake.’
  • head to head

    • In open, direct conflict or competition.

      ‘the governor and the senator went head to head in a spontaneous debate’
      • ‘Provinces go head to head in fundraising competitions to raise money for investment projects.’
      • ‘So recently, these two teams, her team and my team, went head to head, and my team lost.’
      • ‘Next week 65-year-old Brian will try to keep the roof over his head when he goes head to head with the council.’
      • ‘The competition consists of the school teams going head to head in a mock trial with a real judge acting as adjudicator.’
      • ‘Even though it is not competing head to head, it is taking passengers.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, he was very willing to just run head to head with the other horse.’
      • ‘Given the recent high price of opium, it's difficult to compete head to head with any other crop.’
      • ‘He said smaller stores can't compete head to head with the big retailers when it comes to selection and prices.’
      • ‘In what other sport can an intermediate level athlete compete head to head with the world's best?’
      • ‘The veteran and the newcomer go head to head in a defining election for Australia.’
  • hold up one's head (or hold one's head high)

    • Be confident or unashamed.

      ‘under the circumstances I would find it impossible to hold my head up in the town’
      • ‘If I were never to lace on a glove again, I could hold my head high.’
      • ‘He's a fine soldier, and he goes out holding his head high in service as chief staff the United States Army.’
      • ‘Now he can hold his head high and look back with pride on the 229 wickets which made him the eighth most successful bowler in England's history.’
      • ‘I've won the domestic trophies, the Championship and got back in the Champions League, so now when I leave the club I can hold my head high.’
      • ‘She held her head high and continued about her business with what may have seemed like an arrogance to some’
      • ‘He told me to hold my head high and look confident.’
      • ‘You might not get to the top as quick as everyone who's treading on other people's fingers, but at least you'll be able to hold your head high and say ‘I got here by myself’.’
      • ‘You have to be prepared to hold your head high and whatever happens, happens, and you move on.’
      • ‘So, keep your hope alive and hold your head high.’
      • ‘While I have tried in public to stay dignified, to hold up my head and to carry on with my job… in private I have been deeply upset and hurt and considerable damage has been inflicted on my personal life.’
  • in one's head

    • By mental process without use of physical aids.

      ‘the piece he'd already written in his head’
      • ‘On the way home I was writing this review in my head, before listening to the album.’
      • ‘Then we watched boys snowboard and a man ski, and she wrote her next Christmas list in her head.’
      • ‘I know the images you get in your head after reading a book are very peculiar to you but the building just didn't fit with my images.’
      • ‘To a large extent they ignored vision, which does a large part of the processing that goes on in your head.’
      • ‘After his tedious rail delay, Clark started writing down what had been bubbling in his head for years.’
      • ‘I was busy writing all about it in my head, when reality stabbed me in the stomach.’
      • ‘In other words, if you can picture it in your head, it will occur in the physical world.’
      • ‘That goes on the whole time and you play little games in your head.’
      • ‘He had already potted the nine in his head, but now, since Jimmy made the call for the pocket, he had to rewind.’
      • ‘It fascinates me that a composer must hear music in their head and then write it in a foreign language before it is actually played.’
      in one's mind, in the mind, in one's brain, in the brain, in one's head, in the head, inwardly, intellectually, cerebrally, cognitively, psychologically, psychically
      View synonyms
  • keep one's head

    • Remain calm.

      • ‘But I found the best advice was to keep your head and to stay calm even when all this excitement is happening around you.’
      • ‘Fortunately, Damien kept his calm, allowing Richard to keep his head.’
      • ‘When suspicions began to grow about him, he kept his head.’
      • ‘I knew there was more in our fellows, every player kept his head, and I was delighted at the positive way we regained the initiative.’
      • ‘However, he kept his head and roared back to take the next three.’
      • ‘He followed the TV show's advice, kept his head, saw an air pocket behind him, pulled himself into the back of the car and, with water up to his chin, waited an agonising 25 minutes for help.’
      • ‘He kept his head and successfully put all three attempts through the posts to move his side into mid-table and nine points clear of Irish, who now occupy bottom place in the Premiership table.’
      • ‘But despite the pressure, the young Norwegian kept his head and battled through the bad times to realize his dream and win his first world title.’
      • ‘‘He kept his head when all around him were losing their shirts,’ says a fellow director.’
      • ‘He has kept his head and stuck with the things he believes in.’
      keep calm, stay calm, keep cool, stay cool, remain unruffled, keep control of oneself, keep one's self-control, maintain one's equilibrium, maintain one's composure
      keep one's cool, keep one's shirt on
      View synonyms
  • keep one's head above water

    • Avoid succumbing to difficulties, typically debt.

      • ‘Lots of things were going through my head, and I wasn't speaking to anyone, and then when the manager came up and said that, it keeps your head above water, and gives you a wee bit of extra determination.’
      • ‘It's all you can do to keep your head above water sometimes.’
      • ‘Nearly every week there's something else; you find you're constantly in debt and always borrowing to keep your head above water.’
      • ‘We have managed to keep our head above water in the last 24 months despite increasingly difficult market conditions.’
      • ‘But I took an evening job and just about kept my head above water.’
      • ‘One does have to work like the devil in order to keep your head above water in this country… or death by drowning is sure to happen with our economic climate.’
      • ‘The cumulative effect is that merely keeping one's head above water, rather than getting ahead, has become the top priority for Americans between the ages of 18 and 34.’
      • ‘They know that one person's dime's worth of difference is another person's dollar's worth and that that dollar's worth can be the difference between keeping one's head above water or not.’
      • ‘Listen, I - I'm having enough trouble keeping my head above water without deciding what they should be doing in the sports department.’
      • ‘And those people are not - they are having a hard time keeping their head above water.’
      manage, survive, subsist, look after oneself, fend for oneself, shift for oneself, stand on one's own two feet, carry on, get through, get on, get along, get by, muddle through, muddle along, scrape by, bear up, make the grade, come through, hold one's own, keep one's end up, keep one's head above water, keep the wolf from the door, weather the storm
      View synonyms
  • keep one's head down

    • Remain inconspicuous in difficult or dangerous times.

      • ‘You kept your head down and you never challenged your political betters.’
      • ‘However, like any gracious Cork man I have kept my head down and taken the banter like a man.’
      • ‘You've got to be pretty lucky to get to the final, but I kept my head down and was polite to the other players so they didn't stitch me up.’
      • ‘And that's why I am successful, because I kept my head down and made sure things got done.’
      • ‘You kept your head down, did your work and made sure you were ready for when the call came.’
      • ‘This would have been noted and maybe efforts would have been made to find out why I was so miserable, but no one cared, I never caused any trouble and if I did my work and kept my head down, the teachers barely noticed or cared if I was there.’
      • ‘It is difficult but you've just got to keep your head down, work hard and hope that things come right.’
      • ‘But I kept my head down, played straight into the wind and finished with eight straight pars.’
      • ‘‘I've intentionally kept my head down as it would be too easy to be seen as a spoilt brat,’ he replies in a tone that combines nervousness and natural self-deprecation.’
      • ‘I kept quiet and kept my head down, but now it's fine and people have started accepting me.’
  • lose one's head

    • Lose self-control; panic.

      • ‘Initially I was still bottling it up but my new-found knowledge stopped me from losing my head, at least at school but as the bullies lost interest in me it got easier and easier until finally it went away altogether.’
      • ‘This man never lost his head, and was a great champion of the unchampioned youth of his country.’
      • ‘There were a couple of speakers, no-one lost their head over the issue.’
      • ‘You tell yourself that you will never lose your head, but after a couple of weeks, you are throwing the clubs about again.’
      • ‘Maura must have panicked and completely lost her head, because I know I hadn't taught her to break like that.’
      • ‘Anybody who thinks they could endure the horrible golf he went through without losing their head occasionally is deluded.’
      • ‘So, I got all my cards re-ordered, and set about getting replacement loyalty cards (perhaps they'll send me a little commiseration present too), congratulating myself on not losing my head too much.’
      • ‘But it was a long and complicated birth with many disasters, and Walter lost his head for a moment.’
      • ‘The man has clearly lost his head and his thinking is devoid of the wisdom he could have had.’
      • ‘He doesn't panic or lose his head under pressure.’
      lose control of oneself, lose one's composure, lose one's self-control, lose one's equilibrium, lose control of the situation, go to pieces, fall to pieces
      panic, go mad, get flustered, get confused, get angry, get excited, get hysterical
      lose one's cool, freak out, crack up
      go into a spin, go into a flat spin, throw a wobbly
      View synonyms
  • make head or tail (or heads or tails) of

    • [usually with negative]Understand at all.

      ‘we couldn't make head or tail of his answer’
      • ‘Last week one of his followers tried to make head or tail of it all.’
      • ‘I would gladly pay to have someone summarize the plot of this alleged supernatural thriller for me, because, owing to whatever heretofore unrecognized deficiency on my part, I couldn't really make head or tail of it.’
      • ‘These women are so obsessed with the idea that they are the ones wanting commitment while men don't that they can't make head or tail of this new version of themselves.’
      • ‘Now it is difficult to make head or tail of what he is at.’
      • ‘I'm not surprised - pension statements are remarkably difficult to make head or tail of.’
      • ‘For they are creators of truths so unprecedented, purveyors of proposals so revolutionary, that not a soul is capable of making head or tail of them.’
      • ‘We still cannot make head or tail of what happened.’
      • ‘Anyway, I couldn't make head or tail of what he was saying.’
      • ‘She couldn't make head or tail of what she was being told and thought it a nightmare.’
      • ‘I've never been able to make head or tail of it and it has always seemed to me that as soon as Catholics leave the debating zone, Protestants go back to living and acting exactly like Catholics.’
      understand, comprehend, work out, fathom out, make sense of, grasp, catch, follow, perceive, make out, penetrate, divine, search out, ferret out, puzzle out, take in, assimilate, absorb, get to the bottom of
      View synonyms
  • off (or out of) one's head

    • 1informal Crazy.

      ‘my old man's going off his head, you know’
      • ‘The other factor is that I was pregnant and off my head with hormones half the time.’
      • ‘I went off my head and used crack cocaine; it was intense, I was doing things that I never thought I could do, robbing people because drugs had a hold on me.’
      • ‘Anway, Sonny has taken on the mantle of being a ginger cat in every sense of the word: he's a bloody off his head, mental, homicidal-psycho-jungle-cat.’
      • ‘Maybe ordinarily Al would've had enough sense not to push it, but right now he looked stubborn, grouchy, and about half out of his head with pain.’
      • ‘I've never been one for going off my head at refs.’
      mad, insane, out of one's mind, deranged, demented, not in one's right mind, crazed, lunatic, non compos mentis, unbalanced, unhinged, unstable, disturbed, distracted, mad as a hatter, mad as a march hare, stark mad
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Extremely drunk or severely under the influence of drugs.
        • ‘Still, I'm finding that not being whacked off my head on drugs all the time, or thinking about my next score of drugs, that I can cope with the little ups and downs a lot better.’
        • ‘Even though he was upstairs, drunk out of his head in her house, she still risked calling me from her house phone.’
        • ‘You got absoulutely off your head that time and you decided not to do drugs again but you couldn't help liking the income of dealing the stuff.’
        • ‘Of course he didn't remember he was drunk out of his head, which was the only reason anything happened between them.’
        • ‘When I like a record, it's not because I'm out of my head or drunk on anything.’
        • ‘They see it as a grown-up thing to do, to get drunk out of your head.’
        • ‘She was also face down in the common room, drunk off her head, with pervy James trying to look up her skirt.’
        • ‘I'm a little drunk, but I'm not so off my head that I'd actually do anything with you.’
        • ‘It gave me a feeling of elation, I was on my own, no one telling me what to do, off my head with gas or glue.’
        • ‘And then he starts to mess with me, and I let it happen for a bit, mainly cos I'm drunk out of my head, but eventually reality kicks in.’
        intoxicated, inebriated, drunken, befuddled, incapable, tipsy, the worse for drink, under the influence, maudlin
        View synonyms
  • off the top of one's head

    • Without careful thought or investigation.

      • ‘And can you really divide $15.03 by two off the top of your head?’
      • ‘He gives a very polished, professional performance with excellent comic timing to make the jokes appear impromptu and off the top of his head.’
      • ‘Someone's gathered a whole list of rain songs, but before you look, which ones can you think off the top of your head?’
      • ‘I'd like to see you come up with something better, right there off the top of your head.’
      • ‘I thought you just remembered it off the top of your head.’
      • ‘There are differences in the economic and social policies advocated by the two parties, but I bet you can't mention a major one off the top of your head.’
      • ‘How many words for marijuana, or for smoking it, can you think of on the spot, right off the top of your head?’
      • ‘And that's just off the top of my head; I may have the dates wrong.’
      • ‘One little girl, only seven years of age, stood at the top of the classroom one day and told a story off the top of her head, capturing the attention of the entire class for twenty minutes.’
      • ‘We will receive a sheet of paper with one of a number of topical issues printed on it and then have to speak for two minutes off the top of our head.’
      impromptu, spontaneous, unscripted, ad lib
      View synonyms
  • over someone's head

    • 1Beyond someone's ability to understand.

      ‘the discussion was over my head, I'm afraid’
      • ‘While some of the legal details sailed over my head, there were interesting discussions about technology and implementation issues.’
      • ‘So I figure its best to humour her, maths is not my strongest point and I try to ignore anything that has to do with numbers and indeed most of it goes over my head as I do not understand.’
      • ‘It went mostly over his head when it happened but he'll start to understand this chapter.’
      • ‘Quit talking about things over your head, like politics, and go make me some pie.’
      • ‘‘It is about entertainment, it makes a point but without flying over your head,’ she claims.’
      • ‘Despite the raunchier jokes going over my head, I laughed a great deal.’
      • ‘Don't worry if that's gone completely over your head, it probably requires knowing stuff about the A-level system to really ‘get’ it, but it was just me thinking aloud in a clearer manner than actually talking to myself.’
    • 2Without someone's knowledge or involvement, especially when they have a right to it.

      ‘the deal was struck over the heads of the regions concerned’
      • ‘There was this big discussion going on over my head.’
      1. 2.1With disregard for someone else's (stronger) claim.
        ‘his promotion over the heads of more senior colleagues’
        • ‘And I just said to him, Well I'm very sorry but we don't feel that you are, and that is why we went over your head, and we would still like to see Mr O'Neill, please.’
  • put their (or our or your) heads together

    • Consult and work together.

      ‘they forced the major banks to put their heads together to sort it out’
      • ‘Over the past couple of weeks throughout the length and breadth of this region, people of every age have been putting their heads together to come up with some of the most amazing fundraising ideas I have ever heard.’
      • ‘All the gurus were putting their heads together on how it could be reconstructed, given more vigour and life.’
      • ‘Now, rail bosses, the neighbourhood watch, the town council and the borough council are putting their heads together to find a solution.’
      • ‘More than 1,000 people from 25 European countries put their heads together in Salzburg at the weekend to discuss ideas to reverse the trend.’
      • ‘It is really a matter of people getting together and putting their heads together and coming up with ways to do this - it truly starts in the community.’
      • ‘I picture the editor and director putting their heads together in the editing room, trying to cobble together a sequence out of incompatible footage because they cannot afford reshoots.’
      • ‘But hours before the meeting, the Opposition leaders put their heads together and issued notice for a special council to discuss the issue.’
      • ‘The annual conference is the one chance these coroners get to put their heads together for an exchange of ideas and information.’
      • ‘If the community put their heads together and intervened, the problem of street kids would be a thing of the past.’
      • ‘We have put our heads together to discuss how to move our plans forward.’
      confer, discuss, talk, talk things over, have a talk, exchange views, have discussions, converse, communicate, parley
      View synonyms
  • put something into someone's head

    • Suggest something to someone.

      ‘who's being putting ideas into your head?’
      • ‘Books about outlaws were blamed because they put ideas into his head about an exciting life of crime.’
      • ‘After Gail had put the idea into my head, it was hard not to run out onto the street screaming my discovery to the world.’
      • ‘The only reason why you might want to rebel against your culture was because you had been got at by some western liberals who've put these different ideas into your head.’
      • ‘It was probably he who put the idea into my head that an ordinary man could leave something for the future.’
      • ‘She had dreaded this as soon as the idea was put into her head.’
      • ‘On the other hand no one can conceive of a black mayor until the hero recognises the young black man cleaning in a restaurant as the future mayor and puts the idea into his head.’
      • ‘I should have never put the idea into his head in the first place.’
      • ‘Who ever put the idea into my head that anyone could help me?’
      • ‘My friends were the first to put the idea into my head and when I told my parents about it, they said if I was curious, they could contact the adoption agency.’
      • ‘And oh, by the way Richard, thanks for putting that idea into my head.’
  • take it into one's head to do something

    • Impetuously decide to do something.

      • ‘I took it into my head to take some book along to moderate my pace.’
      • ‘Why, when two men in medieval times chanced to to be standing next to each other, did one of them suddenly take it into his head to do this thing, and why was the other one happy to acquiesce?’
      • ‘I took it into my head to write a formal sonnet in classical form, and have been sweating over it all day, breaking off now and again to have a good curse at the obstinacy that words exhibit when you try to herd them into a prescribed form.’
      • ‘Talking of which, they say the front benches are exactly three sword lengths apart, just in case the leader of the opposition takes it into his head to disembowel the Prime Minister.’
      • ‘I asked if the reason for the questions was to keep the doctor on the right side of the law in case I took it into my head to bring an action against him.’
      • ‘He wasn't exactly sure how he'd get her to talk if she took it into her head to be difficult, but he was sure he could think of something.’
      • ‘No one, after all, wanted to get too friendly with a gigantic barbarian who might suddenly take it into his head to chop one into teeny, tiny pieces for no particular reason.’
      • ‘Left alone at home one day, she took it into her head to dress up in clothes belonging to the family servant: a ragged blue ankle-length dress with a long, faded red apron, and a rough cotton shawl and hood over the top.’
      • ‘When we exited the store and headed back, Jake took it into his head to ask, ‘Where next mother?’’
      • ‘If it should happen you'd aught to do with that, I just might take it into my head to carve out your liver and fry it in front of you.’
  • turn someone's head

    • Make someone conceited.

      • ‘The success of the movie isn't turning his head, but it's making him more aware of social realities.’
      • ‘Wendy believes all the adulation turned Peter 's head, sowing the seeds of overweening self-esteem.’
      make someone conceited, make someone arrogant, turn someone's head, make someone full of themselves, puff someone up
      View synonyms
  • turn heads

    • Attract a great deal of attention or interest.

      ‘she recently turned heads with a nude scene’
      • ‘The €20 million-plus price tag may turn heads in Limerick, but provincial papers tend to attract high prices, despite their select circulations.’
      • ‘The unusual gathering attracted attention from the shoppers and turned heads and some of the passers by had a go at drawing.’
      • ‘Your attractiveness is turning heads all over the place.’
      • ‘It must have turned heads as cars passed, drawing more unwanted attention to the situation.’
      • ‘Their special triplet pram turns heads, and one passing woman was so surprised when she saw the three little girls she dropped the pie she was eating.’
      • ‘I often turned heads, but this flash of interest was accompanied by raucous laughter, shrill whistles, or, most often, suggestive murmurs.’
      • ‘Every once in a while folk from the land down under do something that turns heads up here in the north.’
      • ‘But this is the only time of year when a black-cloaked guide screaming and brandishing a whip barely turns heads.’
      • ‘It turns heads with its front, side and rear profiles.’
      • ‘There is something about leather that turns heads and catches attention.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • head someone/something off

    • 1Intercept and turn aside.

      ‘he ran up the road to head off approaching cars’
      • ‘‘Sit,’ Howarth told her, heading her off from the stove.’
      • ‘Being up front is the only way to head them off and restore integrity and policy debate to our political system.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some people swung their cars round and tried to head him off at the other side of the playing fields.’
      • ‘All they want to do is head us off and hope that we give up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘I try to head him off, but eventually he gets past me and jumps on Jarvis again, snarling and growling again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jared goes after them instantly, running along the edge of the field to head them off and catch them by surprise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I came across from his left to try to head him off as Paul Davis moved in from his right.’
      • ‘The police, he said, used always to head his gang off from crossing a certain street into a more upmarket neighbourhood.’
      • ‘The officers themselves wouldn't come all the way down here to head them off though - that would be defeating the purpose.’
      • ‘They planned to demonstrate outside banks and insurance companies but police headed them off into a side street.’
      • ‘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.’
      intercept, divert, deflect, redirect, reroute, turn aside, draw away, turn away, cut off
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Forestall.
        ‘they headed off a fight 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’.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Gwen's eyes widened, but again the would-be squabble was headed off.’
        • ‘They recognize emergency situations before they become critical and head them off with appropriate countermeasures.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The UN probably can't head the attack off either.’
        • ‘Whether or not there was a way to forecast what was going on here and head it off, I just don't know.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘I've not seen a statement from the embassy commenting on the delay yet, so perhaps this thing will be headed off, after all.’
        • ‘We now try to deal with animal health on a preventative basis, anticipating problems and heading them off.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Of course, the government still has several options within its control to largely head the whole issue off.’
        • ‘A series of major terrorist schemes had been headed off.’
        • ‘It's increasingly likely the Americans, once they heard word of the proposed delay, kicked things into overdrive to head it off.’
        • ‘It can head them off entirely by preventing or fixing problems before they arise.’
        forestall, avert, ward off, fend off, stave off, hold off, nip in the bud, keep at bay
        View synonyms
  • head up

    • Steer toward the wind.

      • ‘Any sideways thrust exerted on the forward part of a yacht will encourage her to turn away from it, while any effort exerted aft will induce her to head up.’


Old English hēafod, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoofd and German Haupt.