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Middle English , hed , heed , heved , from heaved Old English hēafd-, hēafod ( “ head; top; source, origin; chief, leader; capital ” ), from Proto-West Germanic , from *haubud Proto-Germanic *haubudą ( “ head ” ), from Proto-Indo-European . The modern word comes from Old English oblique stem *káput- hēafd-, the expected Modern English outcome for hēafod would be *heaved (similar to the Middle English word), with irregular pronunciation of /ˈheɪvd/. Doublet of , caput , cape and chef .
Scots , heid , hede , hevid heved ( “ head ” ), Old English hafola ( “ head ” ), North Frisian hood ( “ head ” ), Dutch hoofd ( “ head ” ), German Haupt ( “ head ” ), Swedish huvud ( “ head ” ), Danish hoved ( “ head ” ), Icelandic höfuð ( “ head ” ), Latin caput ( “ head ” ), Sanskrit कपाल ( kapāla, “ skull ” ), Hindi कपाल ( kapāl, “ skull ” ).
head ( , countable and uncountable plural heads or )
( countable ) The part of the body of an animal or human which contains the brain, mouth , and main sense organs.
Be careful when you pet that dog on the head; it may bite.
1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, in , Mr. Pratt's Patients page 175: Afore we got to the shanty Colonel Applegate stuck his head out of the door. His temper had been getting raggeder all the time, and the sousing he got when he fell overboard had just about ripped what was left of it to ravellings.
( people ) To do with heads.
Mental or emotional aptitude or skill.
The company is looking for people with good heads for business.
He has no head for heights. It's all about having a good head on your shoulders.
( figuratively , metonymically ) Mind; one's own thoughts.
This song keeps going through my head. 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, in Death on the Centre Court: “Anthea hasn't a notion in her head but to vamp a lot of silly mugwumps. She's set her heart on that tennis bloke whom the papers are making such a fuss about.” A
headache; especially one resulting from intoxication.
1888, Rudyard Kipling, “ Thrown Away”, in , Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co.; London: W. Thacker & Co., Plain Tales from the Hills , OCLC 228690273 page 15: He found whist, and gymkhanas, and things of that kind (meant to amuse one after office) good; but he took them seriously, too, just as seriously as he took the “ head” that followed after drink. 1926, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist : "Mornin', Tom," he said in a husky voice. Then as the wife left the room: "Got a drop of Scotch about? I've a head on me this morning." A
headdress; a covering for the head.
a laced head; a head of hair ( figuratively , metonymically ) An individual person.
Admission is three dollars a head. 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter VII, in , volume III, London: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling A Millar , , book VIII, OCLC 928184292 pages 196–197: but here we are obliged to diſcloſe ſome Maxims, which Publicans hold to be the grand Myſteries of their Trade. And, laſtly, if any of their Gueſts call but for little, to make them pay a double Price for every Thing they have ; ſo that the Amount by the Head may be much the ſame. ( animals ) To do with heads.
( plural head , measure word for livestock and game ) A single animal.
200 head of cattle and 50 head of horses
12 head of big cattle and 14 head of branded calves
at five years of age this head of cattle is worth perhaps $40
a reduction in the assessment per head of sheep they shot 20 head of quail The population of
we have a heavy head of deer this year planting the hedges increased the head of quail and doves The antlers of a deer.
( countable ) The topmost, foremost, or leading part.
What does it say at the head of the page?
1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 10, in , Mr. Pratt's Patients page 243: Men that I knew around Wapatomac didn't wear high, shiny plug hats, nor yeller spring overcoats, nor carry canes with ivory heads as big as a catboat's anchor, as you might say. The end of a table.
The end of a rectangular
table furthest from the entrance; traditionally considered a seat of honor.
During meetings, the supervisor usually sits at the head of the table. ( billiards ) The end of a pool table opposite the end where the balls have been racked.
( countable ) The principal operative part of a machine or tool.
The end of a
hammer, axe, golf club , or similar implement used for striking other objects. The end of a
nail, screw, bolt , or similar fastener which is opposite the point; usually blunt and relatively wide.
Hit the nail on the head! The
sharp end of an arrow, spear , or pointer.
The head of the compass needle is pointing due north.
( lacrosse ) The top part of a lacrosse stick that holds the ball.
( music ) A drum head, the membrane which is hit to produce sound.
Tap the head of the drum for this roll. A
machine element which reads or writes electromagnetic signals to or from a storage medium.
The heads of your tape player need to be cleaned.
( computing ) The part of a disk drive responsible for reading and writing data. ( automotive ) The cylinder head, a platform above the cylinders in an internal combustion engine, containing the valves and spark plugs.
( uncountable , countable ) The foam that forms on top of beer or other carbonated beverages.
Pour me a fresh beer; this one has no head. He never learned how to pour a glass of beer so it didn't have too much head.
( engineering ) The end cap of a cylindrically-shaped pressure vessel.
( geology ) The uppermost part of a valley.
( Britain , geology ) Deposits near the top of a geological succession.
( journalism ) Short for .
headline 1968, Earl English, Clarence Hach, Scholastic Journalism (page 166)
The content of a headline over a news story should be taken from the lead of the story. The head should give the same impression as the body of the story.
( medicine ) The end of an abscess where pus collects.
( music ) The headstock of a guitar.
( nautical ) A leading component.
top edge of a sail. The bow of a vessel. ( Britain ) A headland.
( social , countable , metonymically ) A leader or expert.
The place of honour, or of command; the most important or foremost position; the
1708, Joseph Addison, The present state of the war, and the necessity of an augmentation, consider'd , page 33: We saw the last Campaign that an Army of Fourscore Thousand of the best Troops in Europe, with the Duke of Marlborough at the Head of them, cou'd do nothing against an Enemy that were too numerous to be assaulted in their Camps, or attack'd in their Strong Holds.
( metonymically ) Leader; chief; mastermind.
I'd like to speak to the head of the department. Police arrested the head of the gang in a raid last night. 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, in , Mr. Pratt's Patients pages 153-154: “I don't know how you and the ‘ head,’ as you call him, will get on, but I do know that if you call my duds a ‘livery’ again there'll be trouble. It's bad enough to go around togged out like a life saver on a drill day, but I can stand that 'cause I'm paid for it. What I won't stand is to have them togs called a livery. ”
( metonymically ) A headmaster or headmistress.
1992 June 24, Edwina Currie, Diary:
At 4pm, the phone went. It was The Sun: 'We hear your daughter's been expelled for cheating at her school exams...' She'd made a remark to a friend at the end of the German exam and had been pulled up for talking. As they left the exam room, she muttered that the teacher was a ' twat'. He heard and flipped—a pretty stupid thing to do, knowing the kids were tired and tense after exams. Instead of dropping it, the teacher complained to the Head and Deb was carpeted. I was called into the head's office to discuss my behaviour. ( music , slang , figuratively , metonymically ) A person with an extensive knowledge of hip hop.
Only true heads know this. A significant or important part.
A beginning or end, a protuberance.
source of a river; the end of a lake where a river flows into it.
The expedition followed the river all the way to the head. A clump of
seeds, leaves or flowers; a capitulum.
Give me a head of lettuce.
2013 May-June, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, “ Wild Plants to the Rescue”, in , volume 101, number 3: American Scientist Plant breeding is always a numbers game. The wild species we use are rich in genetic variation, . In addition, we are looking for rare alleles, so the more plants we try, the better. These rarities may be new mutations, or they can be existing ones that are neutral—or are even selected against—in a wild population. A good example is mutations that disrupt seed dispersal, leaving the seeds on the heads long after they are ripe. An
ear of wheat, barley, or other small cereal. The leafy top part of a tree.
( anatomy ) The rounded part of a bone fitting into a depression in another bone to form a ball-and-socket joint.
( nautical ) The toilet of a ship.
I've got to go to the head. ( in the plural ) Tiles laid at the eaves of a house.
1875, Edward H. Knight, Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary, vol. II, page 1086
Heads. ( Roofing.) Tiles which are laid at the eaves of a house A component.
( jazz ) The principal melody or theme of a piece. ( linguistics ) A morpheme that determines the category of a compound or the word that determines the syntactic type of the phrase of which it is a member.
We are having a difficult time making head against this wind. Topic;
We will consider performance issues under the head of future improvements.
( only in the singular ) Denouement; crisis.
These isses are going to come to a head today.
1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “ The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies ( First Folio), London: Isaac Iaggard, and Ed Blount, published 1623, , , OCLC 606515358 page 41: Northumberland, thou Ladder wherewithall The mounting Bullingbrooke aſcends my Throne, The time ſhall not be many houres of age, More then it is, ere foule ſinne, gathering head, Shall breake into corruption 1712 October 18, anonymous letter in , edited by The Spectator Joseph Addison, no. 513, collected in The Works of the Late Right Honorable Joseph Addison, Esq, Birmingham: John Baskerville, published 1761, volume IV, page 10:
The indiſpoſition which has long hung upon me, is at laſt grown to ſuch an head, that it muſt quickly make an end of me, or of itſelf.
( fluid dynamics ) Pressure and energy.
( uncountable , countable ) A buildup of fluid pressure, often quantified as pressure head.
Let the engine build up a good head of steam. How much head do you have at the Glens Falls feeder dam? The difference in
elevation between two points in a column of fluid, and the resulting pressure of the fluid at the lower point. More generally, energy in a mass of fluid divided by its weight.
( slang , uncountable ) Fellatio or cunnilingus; oral sex.
She gave great head.
( slang ) The glans penis.
( slang , countable ) A heavy or habitual user of illicit drugs.
1936, Lee Duncan, Over The Wall, Dutton
Then I saw the more advanced narcotic addicts, who shot unbelievable doses of powerful heroin in the main line – the vein of their arms; the hysien users; chloroform sniffers, who belonged to the riff-raff element of the dope chippeys, who mingled freely with others of their kind; canned heat stiffs, paragoric hounds, laudanum fiends, and last but not least, the veronal heads.
1968, Fred Davis; Laura Munoz, “Heads and freaks: patterns and meanings of drug use among hippies”, in Journal of Health and Social Behavior, volume 9, number 2, page 156-64: The term, " head," is, of course, not new with hippies. It has a long history among drug users generally, for whom it signified a regular, experienced user of any illegal drug—e.g., pot "head," meth "head," smack (heroin) "head." 2005, Martin Torgoff, Can't Find My Way Home, Simon & Schuster, page 177,
The hutch now looks like a “Turkish bath,” and the heads have their arms around one another, passing the pipe and snapping their fingers as they sing Smokey Robinson's “Tracks of My Tears” into the night. ( obsolete ) Power; armed force.
1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “ The First Part of Henry the Sixt”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies ( First Folio), London: Isaac Iaggard, and Ed Blount, published 1623, , , OCLC 606515358 page 100: My lord, my lord, the French have gathered head:
Head of a pressurized cylinder.
Head of a two-stroke engine.
head between two points.
( part of the body ) : caput ( anatomy ); , pate noggin ( slang ), loaf ( slang ), nut ( slang ), noodle ( slang ), bonce ( British slang )
( mental aptitude or talent ) : mind
( mental or emotional control ) : , composure poise
( topmost part of anything ) : top
( leader ) : , boss , chief leader
( headmaster , headmistress ) : headmaster , m headmistress , f principal ( US )
( toilet of a ship ) : See Thesaurus:toilet and Thesaurus:bathroom
( top of a sail ) :
( foam on carbonated beverages ) :
( fellatio ) : , blowjob , blow job , fellatio oral sex
( end of tool used for striking ) :
( blunt end of fastener ) : See also Thesaurus:head
To is to allow it to run freely. This is used for horses, and, sometimes, figuratively for vehicles. give something its head
big head, bighead
by a head
crackhead, crack head
do someone's head in
get one's head around
go to someone's head
hard head, hardhead
have a head for
have one's head read
head and shoulders
headcase, head case
head down, bum up
head over heels
headshunt, head shunt
Heads of Ayr
Heads of the Valleys Road
head start, headstart
heads will roll
head to head
head to wind
hit the head
hold one's head high
in one's head
keep one's head
keep one's head above water
keep one's head below the parapet
lose one's head
lose one's head if it wasn't attached
make head against
off with someone's head
one's head off
pull one's head in
put a gun to someone's head
rail head, railhead
screw head, screwhead
shake one's head
sleepyhead, sleepy head
snap someone's head off
turn someone's head
wrongheaded you can't put an old head on young shoulders
→ Japanese: ヘッド ( heddo ) Sranan Tongo: ede
head ( not )
Of, relating to, or intended for the head.
of, relating to, or intended for the head
head ( third-person singular simple present , heads present participle , heading simple past and past participle )
( transitive ) To be in command of. (See also .)
Who heads the board of trustees? to head an army, an expedition, or a riot
( transitive ) To come at the beginning or front of; to commence.
A group of clowns headed the procession. The most important items headed the list.
1943 November and December, G. T. Porter, “The Lines Behind the Lines in Burma”, in Railway Magazine, page 325: When it arrived, the train was headed by a "K" class 4-6-0 wood-burning locomotive, and a water-tank wagon next to the tender was immediately besieged by women and girls, clad in their picturesque national costume, all with empty kerosene tins for water, a scene which was re-enacted at each stop down the line. 2018, James Lambert, “Setting the Record Straight: An In-depth Examination of Hobson-Jobson”, in International Journal of Lexicography, volume 31, number 4, , page 491: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ijl/ecy010 The citations are set in smaller font, start on a new indented line and are headed with a date.
( transitive ) To strike with the head; as in soccer, to head the ball
( intransitive ) To move in a specified direction.
We are going to head up North for our holiday.
Next holiday we will head out West, or head to Chicago.
Right now I need to head into town to do some shopping.
I'm fed up working for a boss. I'm going to head out on my own, set up my own business. Where does the train head to? 1960 December, Voyageur, “The Mountain Railways of the Bernese Oberland”, in Trains Illustrated, page 752: To the left towers the Jungfrau, with the train heading directly towards it.
( fishing ) To remove the head from a fish.
The salmon are first headed and then scaled.
( intransitive ) To originate; to spring; to have its course, as a river.
1775, James Adair, The History of the American Indians, page 223
a broad purling river, that heads in the great blue ridge of mountains, 1934, Henry G. Lamond, An Aviary on the Plains, Sydney: Angus and Robertson, page 156: The Templeton heads in the Cloncurry ranges
( intransitive ) To form a head.
This kind of cabbage heads early. 1995, Anne Raver, “Gandhi Gardening”, in Deep in the Green: An Exploration of Country Pleasures, New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, : →ISBN To be honest, this hasn't been my Garden of Eden year. The lettuce turned bitter and bolted. The Green Comet broccoli was good, but my coveted Romanescos never headed up.
( transitive ) To form a head to; to fit or furnish with a head.
to head a nail
( transitive ) To cut off the top of; to lop off.
to head trees
( transitive , obsolete ) To behead; to decapitate.
1822, Allan Cunningham, " Ezra Peden", in Traditional Tales of the English and Scottish Peasantry, v. 1, p. 37.
I tell thee, man of God, the uncharitableness of the sect to which thou pertainest has thronged the land of punishment as much as those who headed, and hanged, and stabbed, and shot, and tortured. c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, “ Measure for Measure”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies ( First Folio), London: Isaac Iaggard, and Ed Blount, published 1623, , : OCLC 606515358 If you head, and hang all that offend that way but for ten yeare together; you'll be glad to giue out a Commission for more heads To go in front of.
to head a drove of cattle to head a person To get in the front of, so as to hinder or stop; to oppose.
The wind headed the ship and made progress difficult.
( by extension ) To check or restrain. To set on the head.
to head a cask
to be in command of
узнача́льваць impf ( uznačálʹvacʹ ), ачо́льваць impf ( ačólʹvacʹ ) Breton:
ren (br) Bulgarian:
ръководя (bg) ( rǎkovodja ) Catalan:
comandar , (ca) dirigir , (ca) encapçalar , (ca) liderar (ca) Dutch:
leiden , (nl) aanvoeren (nl) Esperanto:
komandi , (eo) konduki Finnish:
johtaa , (fi) komentaa (fi) ( military ) French:
commander , (fr) diriger , (fr) chapeauter (fr) German:
führen , (de) leiten , (de) anführen , (de) , die Leitung innehaben , die Führung innehaben an der Spitze stehen Guaraní:
עמד בראש ( amad b’rosh ) Icelandic: leiða
memimpin (id) Interlingua:
, commandar , diriger leaderar Japanese:
指導する ( しどうする, shidō-suru ) Kurdish:
Northern Kurdish: birêvebirin (ku) Persian:
اداره کردن (fa) ( edâre kardan ) Polish:
kierować (pl) Portuguese:
comandar , (pt) dirigir , (pt) liderar (pt) Romanian:
comanda (ro) Russian:
возглавля́ть (ru) impf ( vozglavljátʹ ), возгла́вить (ru) pf ( vozglávitʹ ), руководи́ть (ru) impf ( rukovodítʹ ), главе́нствовать (ru) impf ( glavénstvovatʹ ) Slovak:
encabezar , (es) dirigir , (es) liderar (es) Swedish:
leda (sv) Ukrainian: очо́лювати impf ( očóljuvaty ), очо́лити pf ( očólyty )
to come at the beginning of; to commence
to move in a specified direction
اِتَّجَهَ ( ittajaha ) Basque:
(please verify) skeiñ war-du Bulgarian:
отправям се ( otpravjam se ) Catalan:
anar (ca) Dutch:
, (please verify) ergens naar toe gaan (please verify) een richting op gaan Finnish:
suunnata , (fi) suunnistaa , (fi) , lähteä johonkin , kulkea kohti matkata kohti French:
(please verify) se diriger (fr) , courir (fr) ( for: vers ), aller (fr) German:
, gehen ( nach/ in Richtung) , fahren ( nach/ in Richtung) , sich bewegen ( nach/ in Richtung) , ziehen ( nach/ in Richtung) (please verify) auf etwas zusteuern Hebrew:
עשה את דרכו Icelandic: , stefna fara (is)
menuju (id) Interlingua:
diriger se Italian:
andare (it) Japanese:
向かう (ja) ( むかう, mukau ) Kurdish:
Northern Kurdish: , (please verify) berê xwe dan derekê (please verify) ber bi derekê ve çûn Malay:
, ahu , naka neke Polish:
kierować się , (pl) brać azymut , impf wziąć azymut pf Portuguese:
, dirigir-se , encaminhar-se rumar , (pt) ir (pt) Russian:
направля́ться (ru) impf ( napravljátʹsja ), напра́виться (ru) pf ( naprávitʹsja ) Slovak:
ísť (sk) Spanish:
dirigirse , (es) ir (es) Swedish: åka (sv)
fishing: to remove the head from a fish
to fit or furnish with a head
to get in the front of, so as to hinder or stop
Translations to be checked
Middle English , from heed Old English hēafod- ( “ main ” ), from Proto-West Germanic , derived from the noun *haubida- *haubid ( “ head ” ). Cognate with Saterland Frisian , hööft- West Frisian , haad- Dutch , hoofd- German Low German , höövd- German .
head ( not )
Foremost in rank or importance.
1918, W B Maxwell, chapter XXXIX, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, , OCLC 4293071 page 307: At the far end of the houses the head gardener stood waiting for his mistress, and he gave her strips of bass to tie up her nosegay. This she did slowly and laboriously, with knuckly old fingers that shook. the head cook Placed at the top or the front.
Coming from in front.
head sea head wind
( coming from in front ) : tail
foremost in rank or importance
placed at the top or the front
slang: of, relating to, or for drugs or drug users
partitive singular nominative plural