One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘he ran up the road to head off approaching cars’
intercept, divert, deflect, redirect, reroute, turn aside, draw away, turn away, cut off
2‘they headed off a row by ordering further study of both plans’
forestall, avert, ward off, fend off, stave off, hold off, nip in the bud, keep at bay
prevent, avoid, stop, check, thwart
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