Definition of head-and-shoulders in US English:


(also head-and-shoulder)


  • 1Designating a portrait, likeness, photograph, etc., in which only the head and shoulders are shown.

  • 2Shooting. Designating a target resembling or representing a person's head and shoulders.

  • 3Finance (originally US). Designating a graph of a financial market which plots price against time and resembles the shape of a person's head and shoulders (with the head as the summit and the shoulders the lower peaks on either side); designating a pattern or trend in a market which may be represented in this way.


  • 1A head-and-shoulders portrait or likeness.

  • 2Finance (originally US). A head-and-shoulders pattern, trend, or graph.


Early 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas F. Dibdin (1776–1847), bibliographer. In some forms from head + and + shoulder.