head ( heads plural & 3rd person present) ( heading present participle) ( headed past tense & past participle )
Head is used in a large number of expressions which are explained under other words in the dictionary. For example, the expression `off the top of your head' is explained at `top'.
1 n-count Your head is the top part of your body, which has your eyes, mouth, and brain in it.
She turned her head away from him...
2 n-count You can use head to refer to your mind and your mental abilities.
...an exceptional analyst who could do complex maths in his head.
3 n-sing The headof a line of people or vehicles is the front of it, or the first person or vehicle in the line.
...the head of the queue...
4 verb If someone or something heads a line or procession, they are at the front of it.
The parson, heading the procession, had just turned right towards the churchyard. V n
5 verb If something heads a list or group, it is at the top of it.
Running a business heads the list of ambitions among the 1,000 people interviewed by Good Housekeeping magazine. V n
6 n-sing The head of something is the highest or top part of it.
usu N of n
...the head of the stairs..., Every day a different name was placed at the head of the chart.
7 n-count The head of something long and thin is the end which is wider than or a different shape from the rest, and which is often considered to be the most important part.
usu with supp
Keep the head of the club the same height throughout the swing.
8 n-count The head of a school is the teacher who is in charge.
9 n-count The head of a company or organization is the person in charge of it and in charge of the people in it.
Heads of government from more than 100 countries gather in Geneva tomorrow., ...the head waiter.
10 verb If you head a department, company, or organization, you are the person in charge of it.
...Michael Williams, who heads the department's Office of Civil Rights. V n
...the ruling Socialist Party, headed by Dr Franz Vranitzky. V-ed
11 n-count The head on a glass of beer is the layer of small bubbles that form on the top of the beer.
12 n-count If you have a bad head, you have a headache.
INFORMAL usu sing, with supp
I had a terrible head and was extraordinarily drunk.
13 adv If you toss a coin and it comes down heads, you can see the side of the coin which has a picture of a head on it.
be ADV, ADV after v
`We might toss up for it,' suggested Ted. `If it's heads, then we'll talk.'..., Heads or tails?
14 verb If you are heading for a particular place, you are going towards that place. In American English, you can also say that you are headed for a particular place.
He headed for the bus stop... V for n
It is not clear how many of them will be heading back to Saudi Arabia tomorrow... V adv/prep
She and her child boarded a plane headed to where her family lived... V-ed
15 verb If something or someone is heading for a particular result, the situation they are in is developing in a way that makes that result very likely. In American English, you can also say that something or someone is headedfor a particular result.
The latest talks aimed at ending the civil war appear to be heading for deadlock... V for/towards n
The centuries-old ritual seems headed for extinction. V-ed
16 verb If a piece of writing is headed a particular title, it has that title written at the beginning of it.
One chapter is headed, `Beating the Test'. be V-ed quote
17 verb If you head a ball in football, you hit it with your head in order to make it go in a particular direction.
He headed the ball across the face of the goal. V n prep/adv
19 You use a head or per head after stating a cost or amount in order to indicate that that cost or amount is for each person in a particular group.
a/per head phrase amount PHR
This simple chicken dish costs less than £1 a head...
20 From head to foot means all over your body.
from head to foot phrase oft be V-ed PHR (emphasis)
Colin had been put into a bath and been scrubbed from head to foot.
21 If you a have ahead for something, you can deal with it easily. For example, if you have ahead for figures, you can do arithmetic easily, and if you have ahead for heights, you can climb to a great height without feeling afraid.
head for sth phrase have/with PHR, PHR n
I don't have a head for business.
22 If you get a fact or idea into your head, you suddenly realize or think that it is true and you usually do not change your opinion about it.
get sth into one's head phrase V and N inflect
Once they get an idea into their heads, they never give up.
23 If you say that someone has got something into their head, you mean that they have finally understood or accepted it, and you are usually criticizing them because it has taken them a long time to do this.
get sth into one's head phrase V and N inflect
Managers have at last got it into their heads that they can no longer accept inefficient operations.
24 If alcoholic drink goes to your head, it makes you feel drunk.
go to one's head phrase V and N inflect
That wine was strong, it went to your head.
25 If you say that something such as praise or success goes to someone's head, you are criticizing them because you think that it makes them too proud or confident.
go to one's head phrase V and N inflect (disapproval)
Ford is definitely not a man to let a little success go to his head.
26 If you are head over heels or head over heels in love, you are very much in love.
be head over heels/be head over heels in love phrase v PHR, v-link PHR
27 If you keep your head, you remain calm in a difficult situation. If you lose your head, you panic or do not remain calm in a difficult situation.
keep one's head/lose one's head phrase V and N inflect
She was able to keep her head and not panic..., She lost her head and started screaming at me.
28 If you knock something on the head, you stop it.
knock sth on the head phrase V inflects
When we stop enjoying ourselves we'll knock it on the head.
29 Phrases such as laugh your head off and scream your head off can be used to emphasize that someone is laughing or screaming a lot or very loudly.
laugh one's head off phrase N inflects (emphasis)
He carried on telling a joke, laughing his head off.
30 If you say that someone is off their head, you think that their ideas or behaviour are very strange, foolish, or dangerous.
off one's head phrase N inflects, usu v-link PHR (disapproval)
He's gone completely off his head.
31 If you stand an idea or argument on its head or turn it on its head, you think about it or treat it in a completely new and different way.
stand/turn sth on it's head phrase V inflects
Their relationship turned the standard notion of marriage on its head.
32 If something such as an idea, joke, or comment goes over someone's head, it is too difficult for them to understand.
be over sb's head phrase v-link PHR, PHR after v
I admit that a lot of the ideas went way over my head.
33 If someone does something over another person's head, they do it without asking them or discussing it with them, especially when they should do so because the other person is in a position of authority.
over sb's head phrase v-link PHR, PHR after v
He was reprimanded for trying to go over the heads of senior officers.
34 If you say that something unpleasant or embarrassing rears its ugly head or raises its ugly head, you mean that it occurs, often after not occurring for some time.
rear/raise its ugly head phrase V inflects
There was a problem which reared its ugly head about a week after she moved back in...
35 If you stand on your head, you balance upside down with the top of your head and your hands on the ground.
stand on one's head phrase V and N inflect
36 If you say that you cannot make head nor tail of something or you cannot make head or tail of it, you are emphasizing that you cannot understand it at all.
make head (n)or tail phrase usu with brd-neg, V inflects, PHR n
I couldn't make head nor tail of the damn film.
37 If somebody takes it into their headto do something, especially something strange or foolish, they suddenly decide to do it.
take it into one's head phrase V and N inflect, usu PHR to-inf
He suddenly took it into his head to go out to Australia to stay with his son.
38 If a problem or disagreement comes to a head or is brought to a head, it becomes so bad that something must be done about it.
come to a head/bring sth to a head phrase V inflects
These problems came to a head in September when five of the station's journalists were sacked.
39 If two or more people put their heads together, they talk about a problem they have and try to solve it.
put their heads together phrase V inflects
So everyone put their heads together and eventually an amicable arrangement was reached.
40 If you keep your head above water, you just avoid getting into difficulties; used especially to talk about business.
keep one's head above water phrase V inflects
We are keeping our head above water, but our cash flow position is not too good.
41 If you say that heads will roll as a result of something bad that has happened, you mean that people will be punished for it, especially by losing their jobs.
heads will roll phrase V inflects
The group's problems have led to speculation that heads will roll. head off
1 phrasal verb If you head off a person, animal, or vehicle, you move to a place in front of them in order to capture them or make them change the direction they are moving in.
He changed direction swiftly, turned into the hallway and headed her off. V n P, Also V P n (not pron)
2 phrasal verb If you head something off, especially something unpleasant, you take action before it is expected to happen in order to prevent it from happening. He would ask Congress to intervene and head off a strike... V P n (not pron) You have to be good at spotting trouble on the way and heading it off. V n P head up phrasal verb The person who heads up a group, organization, or activity is the leader of it. Judge Frederick Lacey headed up the investigation... V P n (not pron) We asked ourselves what we wanted from our management structure and who we wanted to head it up. V n P
big head ( big heads plural ) If you describe someone as a big head, you disapprove of them because they think they are very clever and know everything.
dead-head ( dead-heads plural & 3rd person present) ( dead-heading present participle) ( dead-headed past tense & past participle ) , deadhead
1 verb To dead-head a plant which is flowering means to remove all the dead flowers from it.
Dead-head roses as the blooms fade. V n
2 n-count If you say that someone is a deadhead, you mean that they are stupid or slow.
head boy ( head boys plural ) The head boy of a school is the boy who is the leader of the prefects and who often represents the school on public occasions.
head-butt ( head-butts plural & 3rd person present) ( head-butting present participle) ( head-butted past tense & past participle ) , headbutt If someone head-butts you, they hit you with the top of their head. verb
He was said to have head-butted one policeman and stamped on another's hand. V n
Head-butt is also a noun., n-count
The cuts on Colin's head could only have been made by head-butts.
head count ( head counts plural ) If you do a head count, you count the number of people present. You can also use head count to talk about the number of people that are present at an event, or that an organization employs. n-count
head-first , headfirst
If you move head-first in a particular direction, your head is the part of your body that is furthest forward as you are moving. adv ADV after v
He had apparently fallen head-first down the stairwell...
head girl ( head girls plural ) The head girl of a school is the girl who is the leader of the prefects and who often represents the school on public occasions.
head of state ( heads of state plural ) A head of state is the leader of a country, for example a president, king, or queen. n-count
1 adv If two vehicles hit each other head-on, they hit each other with their fronts pointing towards each other.
ADV after v
Pulling out to overtake, the car collided head-on with a van.
Head-on is also an adjective., adj ADJ n
Their car was in a head-on smash with an articulated lorry.
2 adj A head-on conflict or approach is direct, without any attempt to compromise or avoid the issue.
The only victors in a head-on clash between the president and the assembly would be the hardliners on both sides.
Head-on is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
Once again, I chose to confront the issue head-on.
head start ( head starts plural ) If you have a head starton other people, you have an advantage over them in something such as a competition or race. n-count usu sing, oft N on/over n
A good education gives your child a head start in life.
head teacher ( head teachers plural ) , headteacher A head teacher is a teacher who is in charge of a school.
head-to-head ( head-to-heads plural )
1 adj A head-to-head contest or competition is one in which two people or groups compete directly against each other.
usu ADJ n
He won a head-to-head battle with NF leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Head-to-head is also an adverb., adv v ADV
Canadian business cannot compete head-to-head with American business.
2 n-count A head-to-head is a head-to-head contest or competition.
...a head-to-head between the champion and the aspiring champion.
talking head ( talking heads plural ) Talking heads are people who appear in television discussion programmes and interviews to give their opinions about a topic. (JOURNALISM) n-count