Definition of headman in US English:



  • The chief or leader of a community or tribe.

    • ‘All land was owned and allocated by the king through chiefs and headmen.’
    • ‘They provided the loyal headmen to displace recalcitrant chiefs, as well as mission-educated ministers, teachers, and agricultural demonstrators, who became the models and ideologues for a new African identity.’
    • ‘About 300 people, including the headmen of 10 communities and children and teachers from Coffee Bay schools, attended the function.’
    • ‘Village chiefs or headmen usually have more than one wife.’
    • ‘Often in debt, they are economically and politically dependent on local headmen and landlords.’
    • ‘The council consists of the headman, priest, village watchman, and four or five elders.’
    • ‘This is where community leaders such chiefs, headmen and indeed agricultural extension officers need to step in and carry out a massive education campaign.’
    • ‘However, conscription quotas placed on African chiefs or headmen in the Reserves undermined the legitimacy of the colonial regime on the ground.’
    • ‘It is based on the traditional model of Lakota government, where the headman of each band represented the band's tribe, and the headman of each Lakota tribe represented the Greater Sioux Council.’
    • ‘Chiefs and headmen are important figures both in villages and nationally, although they are forbidden to be active in party politics.’
    • ‘On land administration, the villagers said a committee of 10 people with representation of chiefs, headmen and other stakeholders should be formed at village level to ensure transparency when giving out land.’
    • ‘Seeing chiefs, village headmen and politicians crying for free food for their constituents may give the impression that the bumper harvest was something of a hoax.’
    • ‘The system of chieftaincy follows the progression of paramount chief (the king), senior chiefs, sub-chiefs, headmen and sub-headmen.’
    • ‘Tribal affiliations had to be ‘redefined’ and, after some conflict, different groups associated themselves with different chiefs and headmen.’
    • ‘Far from exhibiting any shame over his actions, W had asked the headman's son to write on his behalf to all the chiefs in defence of his actions.’
    • ‘I went there around September and thanks to the village headman, the council leader and some of the village dignitaries held a banquet in my honor.’
    • ‘Other peoples had military leaders, tribal chiefs, or headmen, but not officials.’
    • ‘Local headmen and tribal chiefs, on whom his regime relies, were given even larger awards of between 500 and 750 percent.’
    • ‘It is run by a headman to whom most of the villagers are related.’
    • ‘This message was delivered in church sermons, but also in the headman's addresses to the community.’
    chief, chieftain, leader, ruler, head, overlord, master, commander, suzerain, seigneur, lord, liege, liege lord, potentate
    View synonyms