Meaning of head in English:


Pronunciation /hɛd/

See synonyms for head

Translate head into Spanish


  • 1The upper part of the human body, or the front or upper part of the body of an animal, typically separated from the rest of the body by a neck, and containing the brain, mouth, and sense organs.

    skull, cranium, crown
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    1. 1.1The head regarded as the location of intellect, imagination, and memory.
      • ‘whatever comes into my head’
      brain, brains, brainpower, intellect, intelligence, intellectual capacity, mental capacity, powers of reasoning
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    2. 1.2head forAn aptitude for or tolerance of.
      ‘she had a good head for business’
      • ‘he had no head for heights’
      aptitude, faculty, flair, talent, gift, capacity, ability, knack, bent
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    3. 1.3 informal A headache, especially one resulting from intoxication.
      sore head, migraine
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    4. 1.4The height or length of a head as a measure.
      • ‘he was beaten by a head’
    5. 1.5headsThe side of a coin bearing the image of a head (used when tossing a coin to determine a winner)
      • ‘heads or tails?’
    6. 1.6The antlers of a deer.
      • ‘stags yearly cast their heads in March’
  • 2A thing resembling a head either in form or in relation to a whole.

    1. 2.1The cutting, striking, or operational end of a tool, weapon, or mechanism.
    2. 2.2The flattened or knobbed end of a nail, pin, screw, or match.
    3. 2.3The ornamented top of a pillar or column.
    4. 2.4A compact mass of leaves or flowers at the top of a stem, especially a capitulum.
      • ‘huge heads of fluffy cream flowers’
    5. 2.5The edible leafy part at the top of the stem of such green vegetables as cabbage and lettuce.
  • 3The front, forward, or upper part or end of something.

    front, beginning, start, fore, forefront, top, leading position, foremost position
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    1. 3.1The upper end of a table or bed.
      ‘he sat down at the head of the cot’
      • ‘They made their way to the grand room where the King sat at the head of the long table.’
      • ‘Could you please position yourself at the bed's head?’
      • ‘I was put at the head of the table in between Teodora, and Ivan, her Serbian uncle.’
      • ‘Gwen sat at the head of the table, like a queen and kept her eyes on Jamie at all times.’
      • ‘I suggested to Barnette that since he was our guest he should sit at the head of the table.’
      • ‘Each dignitary was assigned a specific seat as the Sultan was put at the head of the table.’
      • ‘At the head of the table sits a brooding Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, moodily attacking a chicken dish.’
      • ‘The immediate past champion sits at the head of the dinner table alongside Hootie and Byron Nelson.’
      • ‘The President sits at the head of a long table, immaculately dressed in a suit and striped tie.’
      • ‘He ushered her to a chair near the head of the table.’
      • ‘It was an attractive woman who sat at the head of the table who had made the dry statement.’
      • ‘Six places were set, one at the head of the table, three on the right and two on the left.’
      • ‘At the head of the table sat an old man with a shock of white hair that almost matched his robe.’
      • ‘With sheer will power, she forced herself to nod at Dante and sit at the head of the table.’
      • ‘She walked into the dining room and sat at the head of the long table in the center of the room.’
      • ‘She took a seat at the head of the table and told us her name was Judge Elizabeth Barkin.’
      • ‘All of the chairs had deep red covers put on them with the exception of the one at the head of the table.’
      • ‘The man took the seat at the head of the table and watching his guests select their lunch.’
      • ‘She stood at the head of the long table, her hands holding onto the back of the chair.’
      • ‘We have to figure out how we stop toys being chucked down the gap between the head of the bed and the wall.’
    2. 3.2The upper horizontal part of a window frame or door frame.
      ‘The tower appears to be structurally sound but internally the condition of the wall tops, window heads and windowsills are greatly degraded.’
      • ‘In The Music Lesson it is possible to see that the joists are supported at the left on a timber lintel or wall-plate, running across the heads of the windows.’
      • ‘The tower is four-staged, the topmost with four double belfry windows with triangular heads and mid-wall shafts.’
      • ‘On the same occasion, one week ago, Dr. Reed made some observations with respect to snow on the heads of the stone window surrounds.’
      • ‘The windows of the top storey were concealed within the frieze of the main entablature whilst the heads of those on the first floor were dropped to suit the new storey heights.’
    3. 3.3The flat end of a cask or drum.
      ‘The bass drum is the largest orchestral drum: normally it has two heads.’
      • ‘He'll split the heads of his drums into different textures and has contact mics on them.’
    4. 3.4The front of a queue or procession.
      ‘at the head of the queue’
      • ‘Many pitched tents more than a fortnight ago to make sure they were at the head of the queue when the homes come on sale tomorrow morning.’
      • ‘A picture shows the developers on horseback at the head of the parade.’
      • ‘As Ella and George watch the rest of the march, the kids sneak down the alleyways and rejoin the head of the procession.’
      • ‘Andy then climbed down the staircase and pushed to the head of the line.’
      • ‘Williams is expected to sell another pipeline soon, and it's a safe bet that Sokol will be near the head of the line of potential buyers.’
      • ‘He was waiting at the head of the queue of traffic.’
      • ‘I was waiting at the head of a queue of traffic at a set of lights.’
      • ‘So I'll be at the head of the queue for transfers, which are embargoed until September 1st.’
      • ‘And, in any event, the banks are at the head of the queue, so other creditors are unlikely to see a penny.’
      • ‘At the head of the parallel queue immediately to the right, the clerk's colleague smirks at me and I smirk back at her.’
      • ‘With competition hotting up, you need some preparation and panache to stay at the head of the queue.’
      • ‘Or is airline service that bad that the only way to get to the head of the queue is to threaten the staff!’
      • ‘Everyone let me go to the head of the queue with my few items for a picnic lunch - no one seems to shop here for just a few items!’
      • ‘People who get to the head of the queue and then take ages to find their purse/wallet - surely you?’
      • ‘But with a qualification or two, you can go to the head of the queue when an opening occurs.’
      • ‘Some of the Hackenthorpe branch of the star's fan club have been taking it in turns to keep their place at the head of the queue.’
      • ‘When I reach the head of the queue, my passport is looked at carefully before I'm allowed to pass.’
      • ‘If he had had as much influence on the films that he directed, his place at the head of the Hollywood queue would be assured.’
      • ‘I write with the disappointment of one who was second from the head of the queue when he made his decision.’
      • ‘On the morning of the battle she begged me to allow her to carry the American flag at the head of the regiment.’
    5. 3.5The top of a page.
      ‘For some time I tried to find an wise or witty one to insert at the head of my home page.’
      • ‘He would start reading at the head of a page then his head would move downward in a straight line until he got to the foot of the page.’
      • ‘At 115, at the head of the page, your Honours will see, at line 4, his Honour reads out the questions which had been written by the jury.’
    6. 3.6
      short for headline
      • ‘The front section of each issue has brief pieces, about research and about the political and social setting of science, and these often have punchy heads.’
    7. 3.7The top of a flight of stairs or steps.
      ‘The best entrance to the hotel ballroom, a double door at the head of a short flight of steps, was strictly forbidden.’
      • ‘He left me at the head of a flight of stairs leading to the basement.’
      • ‘He quickly climbed up the steps and left it coiled in a heap at the head of the stairs.’
      • ‘Miss Howitt broke away from a group of her friends when she saw Croft come to the head of the stairs.’
    8. 3.8The foam on top of a glass of beer, or the cream on the top of milk.
      ‘It's an almost black beer with a creamy head, giving a subtle roasted coffee aroma.’
      • ‘We look at how we can extend the shelf life of beer and at improving foam - people equate freshness with a nice head of foam.’
      • ‘The purpose of a proper glass is to concentrate the aroma and allow a full head of foam to develop.’
      • ‘All beer heads decay exponentially with time, with most taking around three minutes to decay almost completely.’
      • ‘A number of other drinking traditions also use hygiene as an excuse - take the ‘two fingers’ of head on every glass of beer.’
      • ‘You may be one of the many people who see head on your beer as a bad thing.’
      froth, foam, bubbles, spume, mousse, fizz, effervescence, lather, suds
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    9. 3.9The source of a river or stream.
      ‘The river head is the source not only of the property's water, but also of its joie de vivre.’
      • ‘With his wife and child, he had ridden seventy-five miles up the valley to meet the Mormon party near the head of Lemhi River.’
      • ‘In 1754, Virginia dispatched an army under Lieutenant Colonel George Washington to construct a fort at the head of the Ohio River.’
      • ‘As the autumn floods encourage the salmon to the spawning redds in the river heads, the Government has again given the thumbs down to any plan for a buy out of the drift net fishers.’
      • ‘The head of the river, the top of the ladder is where all the biggest fish want to be.’
      source, origin, well head, headspring, headwater, headwaters
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    10. 3.10The end of a lake or inlet at which a river enters.
      ‘Leaving the head of Lake Wanaka the road then runs through an open valley to Makarora.’
      • ‘St Petersburg is located on the delta of the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland.’
      • ‘Another age had passed when she saw a man sitting upon a rock at the head of the inlet.’
      • ‘He will say that we forced him to carry us, and that he let us off at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘Then I thought he was just in a hurry to get to the head of the lake for another run.’
      • ‘We were at the margins of the lake, where a river runs into its head.’
      • ‘He started to prepare his studies at the head of Lake Ontario as a large monograph in three parts.’
      • ‘A steamer came out of Rio Bay, and shook them with its wash, as it churned past on the way to the head of the lake.’
      • ‘Set on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley, at the head of Lake Tanganyika, it is also volcanic.’
      • ‘Midden sites have been found at Kerr Bay and in the Travers Valley at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘This is fairly level and offers great views of Mount Earnslaw and other mountains at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘Watch for the notice board with a diagram identifying the mountains at the head of the lake.’
      • ‘What looks like the head of the lake opens up as one rounds the next corner to reveal another sheet of water.’
      • ‘He and his party took a water taxi to the head of Lake Rotoroa and spent the first night at the West Sabine Hut.’
    11. 3.11usually in place names A promontory.
      ‘Beachy Head’
      • ‘The print was Thea Schrack's ‘Yaquina Head Lighthouse.’’
      • ‘Baynham has farmed for all of his 70 years at Penlen farm on St David's Head.’
      • ‘The images include four lighthouses in Maine - Bass Harbor Head Light, Cape Neddick Light, Pemaquid Point Light, and Portland Head Light.’
    12. 3.12The top of a ship's mast.
      • ‘In an effort to overcome this a forward-looking wind transducer is mounted at the head of the mast.’
    13. 3.13The bows of a ship.
      ‘As the Grosvenor sliced towards the rocks at six knots, the officer of the watch dismissed reports of shore fires beyond the ship's head.’
      • ‘There was no way the captain could keep the ship's head up into the seas.’
      bow, bows, stem, fore, forepart, front, head, nose, cutwater
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    14. 3.14
      short for cylinder head
      ‘The mammoth engine's double overhead camshaft heads and 64 valves are fed by a quartet of turbochargers.’
      • ‘Fix Auto Body of Ontario did the bodywork and paint and Precision Cylinder Heads modified the heads.’
      • ‘The remaining 40 percent of content, including cylinder blocks and heads, is made in-house.’
      • ‘For example, an engine that kept existing cylinder block and heads but may have had an internal detail change or a cosmetic update.’
      • ‘The rules require all cylinder blocks, heads and intake manifolds to have factory part numbers.’
  • 4A person in charge of something; a director or leader.

    ‘the head of the Dutch Catholic Church’
    • ‘Their findings are released today on the eve of the Thessaloniki summit of heads of EU political leaders that will decide the future framework of the community.’
    • ‘The next highest paid director was the head of its US aggregates business Tom Hill.’
    • ‘On the other hand, these same leaders are often the heads of militias and these militias are being used to assassinate political opponents.’
    • ‘In a macabre move, his party has decided to keep its deceased leader as its head until after this week's elections.’
    • ‘This probe could result in civil charges against research department heads, banking chiefs, and even some CEOs.’
    • ‘The government has also threatened to press charges against the heads of two regional governments for aiding and abetting the strikers.’
    • ‘The Swedes have said no to their leaders - an alliance of politicians, union heads, businesspeople, and media figures.’
    • ‘I personally answer more than 100 e-mails a day no matter where I am, as do our regional leaders and agency heads.’
    • ‘Some eastern rural areas are still dominated by large landowners, traditional clan heads, and religious leaders.’
    • ‘What other elected politician can you find asking direct, unflinching questions to heads of government ministries?’
    • ‘Of all the European government heads, the British Prime Minister's position is, in the near term, the most precarious.’
    • ‘Detailed talks on the future of European Union expansion are set to continue as the Prime Minister joins other heads of the European Council in Brussels.’
    • ‘Of 1,000 heads of small firms polled by the company, 93% said they would like to see restrictions on staff work hours eased.’
    • ‘Division of labor in the reproductive economy and time use patterns for household heads were also measured.’
    • ‘Most village heads have some business relations with the town's shop owners or traders.’
    • ‘Dillon is head of public relations for Ladbrokes, Manchester United's betting partner.’
    • ‘The duo will meet the heads of 15 top IT companies and showcase the state's ‘intrinsic strengths’.’
    • ‘Scheinman set up monthly meetings with the heads of operations, sales, and finance to vet potential deals.’
    • ‘Not only do many construction staffers come from architecture backgrounds, but so do the heads of the in-house wood and metal shops.’
    • ‘They then stepped into the sunshine for a tour of the sculpture trail, guided by John Le Page, head of art.’
    leader, chief, boss, controller, master, supervisor, governor, superintendent, foreman, forewoman, headman
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    1. 4.1British
      ‘The National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers say heads must find money to implement the accord.’
      • ‘The second related to a new duty placed on all teachers to assist school heads in assessing whether their colleagues merited receiving the award.’
      • ‘The numbers of teachers and heads choosing to retire early from primary schools has risen by 40 per cent since 2002.’
      • ‘Most heads and teachers strive to provide fair advice.’
      • ‘Four seminars were held in July, one each for trustees, presidents, deans, and school heads.’
      • ‘Government plans to relax much-criticised SATs testing of young children have been welcomed by Southend school heads and teachers' unions.’
      • ‘Before Oakbank, he was an associate head at Hanson Secondary School, in Bradford.’
      • ‘City technology colleges underline what can be achieved if the government trusts heads and teachers to run schools.’
      • ‘For deans, the key questions were always curricular, and for school heads, they were both curricular and pedagogical.’
      • ‘The school's headteacher said heads were seeking to meet with the police to address the issue.’
      • ‘Training has also been carried out for teachers and heads.’
      • ‘She had an ability to communicate and to understand exactly what heads and teachers needed that was second to none.’
      • ‘The Commission denied it wanted to take control over a large proportion of school spending away from heads and governors and give it back to LEAs.’
      • ‘The Education Minister further said that school heads must display phone numbers of nearest fire brigade officers on the school notice board.’
      • ‘He answered questions from Year 7 pupils on Friday following a meeting of all the heads and chairmen of governors of north Wiltshire secondary schools.’
      • ‘But grammar school heads say this is because their pupils have already reached high levels of attainment by that stage.’
      • ‘Rossendale Civic Pride is working with Groundwork Rossendale, Myerscough College, and heads of the schools to make the dream a reality.’
      • ‘Grammar school heads claim that schools which insist on taking only those that list them as first choice are being unfair to parents.’
      • ‘Ultimately there will be improved professional opportunities for Alice Springs based staff, with a few heads of schools based here.’
      • ‘The headteacher, who officially took up his post on January 1, says that he is keen to meet parents, as well as other heads to pick up tips and advice.’
  • 5A person considered as a numerical unit.

    ‘they paid fifty pounds a head’
    • ‘If the owner only gets a handful of visits a year it effectively costs the taxpayer thousands of pounds a head.’
    • ‘For a pound a head and three cups of tea each what better value could we find?’
    • ‘Typically a two-course meal complete with a couple of drinks will cost only about three pounds fifty per head!’
    • ‘If you could get a party of, say, six other enthusiasts, it would work out cheaper per head.’
    • ‘While more people were drinking wine than ever before, they drank only a moderate quantity per head.’
    • ‘By 1992 it had the highest quantity of arms per head of population of any country in the world.’
    • ‘Britain on the other hand mixes high income per head with high levels of social and family breakdown.’
    • ‘In raw economic statistics about income per head, it has moved towards the UK average.’
    1. 5.1treated as plural A number of cattle or game as specified.
      ‘seventy head of dairy cattle’
      • ‘The farming family also have around 20 head of cattle and 400 sheep on their land.’
      • ‘Thousands of lives and thousands of head of cattle are lost every year due to floods.’
      • ‘Slosh Farm at Appleby is run by Robert Baxter and has 180 head of beef cattle and 150 head of sheep.’
      • ‘In all it is expected that approximately 440 head of cattle are to be shipped for slaughter over the next week.’
      • ‘Each June around 30,000 head of cattle strike off for the north and fresh grass.’
      • ‘So we still run a few head of beef cattle, a bit of contact with the land.’
      • ‘He'd raised and sold a few head of cattle in his time and used his savings to take lessons.’
      • ‘To kill 30000 head of game in a season at Sandringham, even with help, required application of a kind.’
      • ‘He managed to move his 50 head of cattle to safety, but his entire crop of wheat and barley was lost.’
      • ‘The night raid was made right under the noses of a full pack of hounds and 15 head of poultry were wiped out.’
      • ‘There was a big sale of adult cattle at Fermoy Mart yesterday with 1,200 head on offer.’
      • ‘The livestock population of over seven million head is also expected to plummet.’
  • 6A component in an audio, video, or information system by which information is transferred from an electrical signal to the recording medium, or vice versa.

    ‘This thin data storage device has a flexible recordable disk and recording heads arranged on both sides of the disk.’
    • ‘The main drive contains the drive electronics and heads.’
    • ‘They are used for quality control in manufacturing digital recording heads as well as in the construction of compact audio disk stampers.’
    • ‘Multiple optical heads combine to produce a wide-field-of-view imaging system.’
    • ‘Depending on capacity each drive has between one and three platters, and up to six GMR recording heads.’
    • ‘For example: the recording head is now on the under side of the disk, to avoid problems from dust on the disk surface.’
    • ‘Make sure that you have cleaned the heads of the VCR between copying videos.’
    • ‘The GMR recording heads that are used in all of today's big disk drives are a good example of this.’
    1. 6.1The part of a record player that holds the playing cartridge and stylus.
    2. 6.2
      short for printhead
  • 7A body of water kept at a particular height in order to provide a supply at sufficient pressure.

    ‘an 8 m head of water in the shafts’
    • ‘The scheme will not require a dam but rather a wall that provides a constant head of water and which will be designed to utilise the flow of the river.’
    • ‘The seawater stream into which the combustion gas is injected is under pressure via the head of water exerted by the seawater reservoir.’
    • ‘The half weir was constructed to keep a good head of water in the river between Richmond and the end of the tidal flow at Teddington weir.’
    • ‘Measurements in a number of wells are required to map the distribution of hydraulic head within an aquifer.’
    1. 7.1The pressure exerted by a head of water or by a confined body of steam.
      ‘a good head of steam on the gauge’
      • ‘The high pitched noise of the steam engines and their strong heads of steam are to dominate the afternoon.’
      • ‘We made sure that there was plenty of coal out at the boiler fronts and a good head of steam to start them off.’
  • 8Nautical
    A toilet on a ship or boat.

    ‘they were cleaning out the heads’
    • ‘Although the sea washed the heads clean as the ship pitched, the heads still needed a regular scrub-down with a broom.’
    • ‘It was posted in some of the heads on the ship the day before the plane went down.’
    • ‘To the port side aft is the head and shower and a quarter berth cabin with large double berth.’
    • ‘Jim laughed softly and stepped into the head to splash some cold water over his face.’
    • ‘The berthing, heads, galley, engine room and other spaces are located below the water line.’
    • ‘The Mississippi also had trough type urinals and unwalled johns in the heads, and salt water showers.’
    lavatory, bathroom, facilities, urinal, privy, latrine, outhouse
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  • 9Grammar
    The word that governs all the other words in a phrase in which it is used, having the same grammatical function as the whole phrase.

    ‘In many grammatical theories, the head of a phrase is defined as that constituent which determines the syntactic category of the phrase.’
    • ‘All of these examples involve head nouns with an indefinite article.’
    • ‘Recall that a verb governs an object, and the head of a phrase governs the complement.’
  • 10Geology
    mass noun A superficial deposit of rock fragments, formed at the edge of an ice sheet by repeated freezing and thawing and then moved downhill.

    ‘Larger-scale climatic changes or tectonic changes in the hinterland produce relative changes in the main agents of deposition and entrenchment of the upper fan (the fan head).’
    • ‘The rock and soil debris may even move on very shallow slopes, resulting in a large accumulation of head at the valley bottom.’
  • 11 rare A group of pheasants.

    ‘it is easy to get up a head of pheasants with the aid of good keepers’
    • ‘It is their business to provide a good head of pheasants.’
    • ‘The keeper who has a good head of pheasants is constantly on the watch to keep them at home.’
    • ‘The alternative manner of providing a head of pheasants for a preserve is by hatching their eggs under fowls and rearing the progeny by hand.’
    • ‘A lot of birds being imported from a distance would do his stock good in the way of crossing with new blood, which is necessary where a large head of pheasants are annually reared.’
    • ‘Some estates will support a much larger head of pheasants than others of a similar size.’


  • Chief; principal.

    ‘the head waiter’
    • ‘The head waiter gave parties every night in the kitchens, at which he and his local friends drank the cellars out.’
    • ‘At dinner that night, I only had to reach for the wine bottle when the head waiter raced across to pour it for me.’
    • ‘If you don't like the table you have been assigned in the restaurant, talk to the head waiter.’
    • ‘The news was greeted with delight yesterday at the Hope Foundation's head office in Cork.’
    • ‘Tarrant is currently nearing completion of his term as head coach with the junior women's team.’
    • ‘The Knights 2005 squad had their first training session under new head coach Mick Cook last night.’
    • ‘She said a United Utilities worker at head office had told her there was a delay in the delivery of advice leaflets to residents.’
    • ‘She was head girl at Musselburgh high school and that ethos lingers.’
    • ‘My role was to invent some recipes using native plants as herbs, design a menu, and act as head chef on the night.’
    • ‘We declined the offer of sandwiches because we expected head chef Simon Burns would test our tastebuds at dinner.’
    • ‘The Ministry of Works had taken over Rievaulx Abbey by the time of his return, and he was taken on as the abbey's head mason.’
    • ‘Last year she walked away from her job as Tennis Scotland's head coach.’
    • ‘Whether or not his club makes the playoffs, head coach Bishop said he is happy with how the season went.’
    • ‘Northcote's head chef Warwick Dodds outlined the restaurant's secret for a successful hotpot.’
    • ‘Mohamed works in the library at the police's head office communications services.’
    • ‘Picture the scene: the boardroom at fashion retailer Next's head office in Leicester.’
    • ‘She'd been sitting next to Peter Burt, head honcho at the Bank of Scotland.’
    • ‘Had things worked out differently, Abram could have been Leigh's head coach.’
    • ‘The directors also revealed that the club is appointing top Australian coach Leo Epifania as head coach.’
    • ‘The new site will bring all Morrisons' head office staff under one roof.’
    chief, principal, leading, main, first, front, prime, premier, foremost, top, topmost, highest, supreme, pre-eminent, high-ranking, top-ranking, most important
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • 1Be in the leading position on.

    ‘the St George's Day procession was headed by the mayor’
    • ‘With white and purple-robed priests heading the procession, the coffin was carried into the church.’
    • ‘Five police cars headed the march.’
    • ‘Sean Lamont heads a quintet of wing specialists who are vying for position in the Stade de France showdown.’
    • ‘Mayor Derek Benfield headed a list of local VIPs who assembled at Waterstone's in the Brunel Centre for yesterday's ceremony.’
    • ‘Bridlington now head the league, albeit on points difference only.’
    • ‘Once all runners had got up to speed and found track position, Viso immediately headed the times with a 47: 445.’
    • ‘Madrid heads the Spanish league with 11 rounds of matches remaining.’
    • ‘The Swansea ATC Band headed the carnival procession, and the enormous enthusiasm of carnival entrants made up for the lack of numbers.’
    • ‘The St Mary's U - 13 boys' team are currently heading the league positions just ahead of Leeds Grammar School.’
    • ‘Crowds lined the streets on Friday to cheer a procession headed by England's patron saint on horseback.’
    • ‘Senior Army officers and civic leaders, headed by the Mayor of Scarborough Sheila Kettlewell, will also attend.’
    • ‘At the festival celebrated in the country around Athens, a jar of wine and a vine headed the procession.’
    • ‘The procession, headed by a military-style cadet band, will set off from Malsis Road at 2pm.’
    • ‘The Queen and Prince Philip headed the royal procession into the hall, followed by the Prince of Wales with Princes William and Harry.’
    • ‘In London a procession headed by two soldiers who had resigned from the army put a black cardboard coffin outside the embassy.’
    • ‘Also qualifying was a veritable list of rowing powers: Italy, Poland, and France head the field.’
    • ‘During my rough times my luxuries were small: coffee headed the list.’
    • ‘With 32 titles, Kerry heads the list of All-Ireland football winners with rural clubs providing the majority of the county team.’
    • ‘Lampkin, of Silsden, now heads the title battle on equal points with Fujinami while Jarvis has climbed to joint third place.’
    • ‘A few years ago, his name headed a public opinion poll that had asked who the people of Benin would prefer as president.’
    be at the front of, lead, be the leader of, be at the head of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Be in charge of.
      ‘Young heads a team of internationally recognized experts in bone disease and drug development’
      • ‘The man who heads the company charged with regenerating Swindon's town centre is leaving after only two years in the job.’
      • ‘In the late 1990s he was, briefly, charged with heading a newly established repatriation service.’
      • ‘A monitoring unit, headed by Martinez's son, Hugo, pinpointed the area where the call was coming from.’
      • ‘Mark Gillingham heads the technology unit at the Great Books Foundation in Chicago.’
      • ‘R. Pichumani who heads the centre, said the plan was to cover students in all districts of the State in three years.’
      • ‘Detective Inspector Steve Eckersley, who runs the robbery unit for south Manchester, headed a small team investigating the incidents.’
      • ‘Guest speaker will be Richard Hallett who headed a successful campaign to keep a maternity unit in East Sussex open.’
      • ‘The president, who heads the executive branch, serves for a single six-year term.’
      • ‘A branch manager heads each distribution center and reports to one of five regional managers.’
      • ‘Politicians from the Upper South headed the Whig party and charted a moderate course.’
      • ‘Smith, who heads the Dutch branch of the organisation, was taken for questioning by security forces.’
      • ‘Niedermayer, who was also the German consul in Belfast, headed the Grundig plant.’
      • ‘Extensive powers were vested into the hands of the President who headed the executive branch of government.’
      • ‘He left the Met as director of intelligence but had previously worked for Special Branch and he headed the drugs directorate.’
      • ‘The company is headed by managing director Martin Baker and employs a workforce of 60 in Grafton Way, Basingstoke.’
      • ‘Noel Terry became chairman and managing director and headed the company until his retirement in 1970.’
      • ‘A new management structure headed by a political director.’
      • ‘A committee which is headed by the chairman himself was also never formed.’
      • ‘Would you let me know what percentage of the companies on this year's list are headed by women?’
      • ‘Each Blackfoot reservation is governed by a general council headed by a single chairman.’
      • ‘She has lived in Iraq for 30 years and heads CARE's operations in the country.’
      be in charge of, be at the head of, be in command of, command, be in control of, control, lead, be the leader of, run, manage, direct, administer, supervise, superintend, oversee, preside over, rule, govern, captain, be the boss of, be at the helm of
      View synonyms
  • 2Give a title or caption to.

    ‘an article headed ‘The Protection of Human Life’’
    • ‘She has an obvious reverence for the music; most of the book's chapters are headed by famous song titles.’
    • ‘He heads his article by saying that havens for wild life don't need buffer zones.’
    • ‘His article is headed The BBC has done the country a favour.’
    • ‘We have just read with interest your article headed Mum Furious at Police Inaction.’
    • ‘There is an article here that is headed, ‘President backs extreme view on sex’.’
    • ‘The pre-dive briefing took around an hour and the warning that heads this article was read at both beginning and end.’
    • ‘Essentially, we want to use the front page to present the key stories of the moment - the Web equivalent of the headlines heading radio and TV bulletins.’
    • ‘And Paddy Smith's print edition article in today's Oz is headed Smorgon takes road to more attractive product.’
    • ‘I refer to the article on page 3 of Journal headed The state of hospitals.’
    • ‘May I refer to the letter by M Jones of October 23 headed Peters for Mayor.’
    • ‘One review, in a leading German paper, was headed: ‘Not to be touched with a barge pole.’’
    • ‘In a column headed Minor Matters, The Times of India writes about motivation classes for young children.’
    • ‘A column headed ITV Watch, possibly with a comma and an exclamation mark, would be far more useful, because hardly anyone does.’
  • 3also be headedno object, with adverbial of direction Move in a specified direction.

    ‘he was heading for the exit’
    • ‘head towards the town centre until the road takes a sharp right’
    • ‘we were headed in the wrong direction’
    • ‘I turned and headed home’
    • ‘She also waters each plant thoroughly every Sunday afternoon before she heads home.’
    • ‘I yell goodbye to my dad as he heads out the door for work.’
    • ‘He heads upstairs to the weight room for strength training.’
    • ‘She heads to the elevator to leave the hospital at last.’
    • ‘So he gathers up all his belongings and he heads back.’
    • ‘As he reached a window, he saw her, heading across the big lawn.’
    • ‘So instead of going to the house he heads to the office.’
    • ‘She heads straight for the back door and Josh follows her out.’
    • ‘Scottish lawyers are concerned at skiers' naivety as they head off for their winter sun.’
    • ‘Most birds are heading from wintering grounds to breeding areas in February and March.’
    • ‘A vehicle was heard leaving the lower village at speed, heading up towards the Church, out of Dunmore East.’
    • ‘Now she heads back to her old home, to Richmond, Virginia, but things aren't quite like she expected to find them when she goes back home.’
    • ‘He and the other two changed direction and headed off into the night.’
    • ‘After the incident, the group was believed to have headed off in the direction of Sainsbury's petrol station.’
    • ‘So her last stop in the morning before heading to her car is usually the flower garden.’
    • ‘Both women left the faculty lounge and headed off in opposite directions.’
    • ‘If Southern California boaters want inland, protected waters they have to head east.’
    • ‘I climbed down and headed down the path toward the lake for a swim.’
    • ‘Handing some money over, and nodding politely, she headed for the exit.’
    • ‘Paying for the postcard, she tucked it in her handbag and headed for her departure gate.’
    move towards, go towards, make for, aim for, make one's way towards, go in the direction of, direct one's steps towards, be bound for, steer for, make a beeline for
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Proceed towards a particular state of affairs, consequence, or outcome, especially one that is undesirable.
      ‘the economy is heading for recession’
      • ‘traders all over the world are wondering just where stock markets are heading’
      • ‘I fear we're headed for disaster’
      • ‘the nation is headed towards a complete collapse’
      move towards, go towards, make for, aim for, make one's way towards, go in the direction of, direct one's steps towards, be bound for, steer for, make a beeline for
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2with object and adverbial of direction Direct or steer in a specified direction.
      ‘she headed the car towards them’
      • ‘The sheep halted, and at the whistle the dog proceeded with short flanking runs which headed them into the gap.’
      • ‘Stallone heads his car towards him, so he jumps into the river.’
      • ‘Head them towards the Washington area.’
      • ‘He sighed, and headed us back to the station.’
      • ‘We're going to head her back to port.’
  • 4Soccer
    Shoot or pass (the ball) with the head.

    ‘a corner kick that Moody headed into the net’
    • ‘The Czechs attack again, with Karel Poborsky heading a long ball back across the face of goal from the far post.’
    • ‘Duff attacks down the left wing, but his ball is headed away by Sulimani.’
    • ‘Finnan loops a cross into the box, and Keane heads the ball down into Duff's path.’
    • ‘Who needs Owen when a Beckham free kick is headed in by Frank Lampard.’
    • ‘Windass was coming more and more into it and after a couple of sighters at Dibble's goal he headed home a cross by Crooks - only for the flag to immediately dampen his joy.’
    kick, hit, throw, head, lob, loft
    View synonyms
  • 5Lop off the upper part or branches of (a plant or tree)

    ‘the willow is headed every three or four years’
    • ‘The trunks of some trees have been headed which causes several branches to grow from just below the cut.’
  • 6no object (of a lettuce or cabbage) form a head.

    ‘Under very cool conditions, as in an unheated solar greenhouse or a polyethylene tunnel, any Asian heading cabbage will grow more loose and open.’
    • ‘Of the handful of komatsunas available, some are crosses of komatsuna with heading brassicas, either napa types or bok choy.’


    a head start
    • An advantage granted or gained at the beginning of something.

      ‘our fine traditions give us a head start on the competition’
      • ‘If you were fleeing tyranny, you would bring everything that could possibly give you a head start in the new society.’
      • ‘And I got into the office early this morning so as to get a head start.’
      • ‘Given the amount of travel I have coming up, I don't need a head start on getting sick.’
      • ‘Their earnings will enable them to maintain accommodation and so on on the outside, and give them a head start when they leave prison.’
      • ‘Greater support for boosting the skills of workers is another way in which businesses can get a head start over their competitors.’
      • ‘Obviously it will fade as your skin sheds dead layers over a week or so, so give yourself a head start by applying the products on younger cells.’
      • ‘It will give you a head start on those guests who take a leisurely breakfast and arrive mid morning.’
      • ‘Left wing politicos would do well to start campaigning at the local level now and get a head start on their opponents.’
      • ‘Granted, with the roll call of the most illustrious pieces of golf real estate on their books they've already got a bit of a head start.’
      • ‘The shoots will be well away as soon as they are under the ground, giving the plant a head start and guaranteeing lots of delicious spuds.’
    bang people's heads together
    • Reprimand people severely, especially in an attempt to stop them arguing.

      ‘This lying, prevarication and knocking people's heads together is standard practice.’
      • ‘I just think it's fun to knock people's heads together and call attention to how silly arguing over NOTHING can be.’
      • ‘We were inches away and if he had not taken that initiative - something John is very good at - of knocking people's heads together and forcing them to come to an agreement to settle matters or to say ‘we cannot make an agreement’, that would not have been done.’
      • ‘Big organizations exist because there are economies of scale, or because - as Ronald Coase pointed out in this classic paper - it's more efficient to run things by banging people's heads together than by haggling over contracts.’
    be hanging over someone's head
    • (of something unpleasant) threaten to affect someone at any moment.

      ‘uncertainty about the group's future was hanging over their heads’
      • ‘They wanted to provide a better world for everyone that was over there, and they certainly don't deserve a fate that is hanging over their head.’
      • ‘Add to this year's mix the fact that I'm supposed to complete a novel this month, my favorite boss is running for a position in a different court, this school program that is hanging over my head and you have a recipe for a nervous breakdown.’
      • ‘This is the noise I am making as I finish, print out and collate a pack of 7 essays that have been hanging over my head for ages and ages, ready to hand in as the last act before the holidays.’
      • ‘The thing has been hanging over my head since the summer, and I wanted to finish it before Christmas.’
      • ‘A client's computer problem has been hanging over my head for a few weeks now, and this morning it was finally sorted out.’
      • ‘The incident, he said, had been hanging over his head for a substantial period of time, and had taken ‘a considerable toll of his mental and financial well-being’.’
      • ‘All the while the citizenship issue was hanging over my head.’
      • ‘The idea of the engagement party was hanging over my head like a dark cloud and I wondered whether there was any way to get out of it.’
      • ‘The press were on his case, and a court case for alleged assault was hanging over his head (he was cleared later in the year).’
      • ‘This has been hanging over my head since I started here.’
    be in over one's head
    • Be involved in something that is beyond one's capacity to deal with.

      • ‘when I became a graduate student I knew at once I was in over my head’
      • ‘Near the start of the film, a city cop volunteers to help the small-town policemen, who seem to be in over their heads.’
      • ‘Some of the soldiers are there out of a sense of duty; most of them realize they might be in over their heads.’
      • ‘After my first lead role, I knew I was in over my head, so I started training in acting and martial arts.’
      • ‘It's during these inept stabs at drama that the director displays how far in over his head he is.’
      • ‘Now she's in over her head, and her wisecracks to the cops don't help her situation.’
      • ‘I began with the tutorial missions and realized I was definitely in over my head.’
      • ‘The overwhelming impression I get from Firewarrior is that of being constantly in over my head.’
      • ‘As I say in my opening comments, we're likely getting in over our heads, but it's a debate worth starting.’
      • ‘She had a sinking feeling that she was getting in over her head.’
      • ‘How do you decide when you are in over your head in a work-related situation?’
    be on someone's own head
    • Be someone's sole responsibility.

      ‘your conduct is on your own head’
      • ‘if you're willing to risk it then on your head be it’
      • ‘If I suddenly become fit and healthy, it's going to be on her head, let me tell you.’
      • ‘Either way, whatever happened to him now was on her head.’
      • ‘Very well, everything that happens here after is on your head… love.’
      • ‘Whatever happens to them in the field is on your head, man.’
      • ‘In the revolt I slew all the peasants; all their blood is on my head.’
      • ‘If the Government wants to impose the failed experiment of parole, the failed experiment of sentencing, on the law-abiding citizens of this country, then it is on its head; it is on its conscience.’
      • ‘Well, it is on his own head, your Honour, the delay, it cannot be said otherwise.’
      • ‘He tied me up and he is masquerading as me, now stop asking questions, or if anything happens to Janey it'll be on your head.’
      • ‘If anything happens to that boy, it'll be on your head!’
      • ‘If this is what you want, let it be on your head then.’
    bite someone's head off
    • Reply sharply and brusquely to someone.

      ‘I made some comment and he bit my head off’
      • ‘‘You too, Dave,’ she replied hesitantly, as if she expected Jill to bite her head off.’
      • ‘‘Yeah the guy bit my head off for it,’ he replied, shrugging his shoulders.’
      • ‘I had so much I wanted to say to her, and it was all I could do to avoid biting her head off when she passed a remark about how long it's been since Bro rang her.’
      • ‘Being assertive, telling the salesperson/company what the nature of your complaint is, be firm, but don't bite their head off.’
      • ‘Next person who asks why I'm alone, I'll bite his head off.’
      • ‘People from Glasgow are more approachable - I stopped to ask someone the time in Edinburgh once and they bit my head off.’
      • ‘I know that now, but back then, I could tell something was wrong and when I asked you about it, you dang near snapped my head off.’
      • ‘Usually you snap my head off for stealing your food.’
      • ‘I mean I put up with your materialism, superficiality, and egotism on a daily basis without biting your head off.’
      • ‘The slightest error on anyone else's part and he was biting their head off like they had drastically fowled up a mission.’
    by the head
    • (of a boat or ship) deeper in the water forward than astern.

      ‘the Boy Andrew went down by the head’
      • ‘Captain Smith ordered the Marconi operators to send out a distress call that the ship was sinking by the head.’
    come to a head
    • Reach a crisis.

      ‘the violence came to a head with the deaths of six youths’
      • ‘That situation came to a head and reached a crisis point in August of that year.’
      • ‘This crisis may have come to a head with the collapse of the socialist camp but its origins lie in the emergence of a modern capitalist order capable of accommodating itself rapidly to changes in the forces of production.’
      • ‘The extent of the funding crisis came to a head when school budgets finalised in March were not enough to cover rising costs in the new financial year.’
      • ‘The club's financial crisis came to a head in February when it narrowly avoided going into administration.’
      • ‘By late summer 1923 the crisis was coming to a head.’
      • ‘History suggests that crises need to come to a head before we start to make hard changes - try to imagine passing the New Deal in 1928.’
      • ‘The fiscal demands of the military were added to a long-term inflation of currency that came to a head during the crisis.’
      • ‘The intense violence came to a head at the weekend as hundreds of rioters pelted police with petrol bombs, blast bombs, rocks and bottles.’
      • ‘The situation came to a head in Liverpool in similar circumstances to the crisis which has now arisen in Glasgow - with money the central problem.’
      • ‘This came to a head in 1979 when the violence really began in earnest.’
    do someone's head in
    British informal
    • Make someone feel annoyed, confused, or frustrated.

      • ‘my relationship with my publicist was doing my head in’
      • ‘Probably what does the manager's head in is that we are not doing that - one week we are up and then next week we are down.’
    from head to toe
    • All over one's body.

      ‘I was shaking from head to toe’
      • ‘We checked his body from head to toe, got him ready for the paramedics and then I took off and left.’
      • ‘When my friend went in to see the doctor, her body was swollen from head to toe.’
      • ‘Close your eyes, take a breath, exhale slowly, and scan your body from head to toe.’
      • ‘Warmth filled my body from head to toe and I finally understood what had been happening to me.’
      • ‘It has most definitely got the best album cover - a nude woman body painted from head to toe!’
      • ‘A shudder ran thorough his body from head to toe, and his breath fell out in a long sigh.’
      • ‘Despite the grief of losing her only son, she personally examined the body from head to foot and defied the funeral home about the arrangement to keep the casket closed.’
      • ‘I was shaking from head to toe when I heard what had happened and I couldn't get there quickly enough.’
      • ‘I was vaguely aware I was shaking from head to foot.’
      • ‘Every muscle in her body was tense and she was trembling from head to foot.’
    get one's head around
    • usually with negative Understand or come to terms with.

      • ‘I just can't get my head around this idea’
      • ‘he was very emotionally invested in the relationship and has found it hard to get his head round the split’
      • ‘Doubtless it takes time to get your head around the understated complexities of Japanese food.’
      • ‘Obviously you're only going to be able to get your head around this stuff in terms of Jungian pop psychology, because that sounds like an intellectually plausible frame of reference, and its the only one you have for it.’
      • ‘When I've got my head around how it's going, I'll write something about how it's working, too.’
      • ‘I didn't start at the beginning - I know I'm still having trouble getting my head around that, so I skipped to chapter three and read it through - 18,000 words - before dinner.’
      • ‘Even Machiavelli would have trouble getting his head round that one.’
      • ‘It's not easy stuff to get your head round, but it is clearly vital.’
      • ‘We encourage you to read this article because it might help you get your head round what we've just said.’
      • ‘Equally as daunting is the local slimming class in a draughty scout hut, with public weigh-ins and complex eating plans you haven't time to get your head around.’
      • ‘To go to another team and sit on the bench, it would be disappointing to finish my career that way… it's difficult to get your head around that.’
      • ‘It is not all practical; the coursework is very hard to get your head around.’
    get one's head down
    British informal
    • 1Sleep.

      • ‘if he got his head down for a couple of hours he would be nice and fresh for the evening’
      • ‘I was living on the streets, eating out of skips, sleeping in cars, anywhere I could get my head down and sleep.’
      • ‘So I arose early yesterday morning, groggy as you like after about 4 hours of sleep having been unable to get my head down.’
      • ‘Possibly the most sensible option is to get my head down and sleep, but don't feel like sleeping.’
      • ‘I was sleeping rough, anywhere I could get my head down.’
      • ‘I went and had some dinner and a couple of cans and tried to get my head down.’
      • ‘Maybe I could just get my head down for a few minutes at lunchtime - I'll tell someone to cover for me, I've done it enough times to justify this demand.’
      • ‘I think my alarm clock is set for 5.30 am, so I'd better get my head down for an early night.’
      • ‘By sticking to this pattern he would manage to get his head down for 90 minutes at a time.’
      • ‘Joanne said she was going to get her head down for another hour, so when I was dressed I got back into bed and cuddled up to her again.’
      • ‘A season's worth of Saturday afternoon shopping with the missus was finally beginning to take its toll and to avoid any more misery he even resorted to getting his head down for 40 winks during match time.’
    • 2Concentrate on the task in hand.

      • ‘at home I can get my head down and get on with the job in hand’
      • ‘Obviously I've not played at this level before so I had to get my head down and concentrate and I thought it went quite well to be fair.’
      • ‘They were the sorts of schools where, if you got your head down, you could do quite well.’
      • ‘I've always been the kind of person who just got their head down and just did my work and hopefully people saw what I was like through my work.’
      • ‘Usually, when I'm racing, I've got my head down, and all I remember about a resort is its racetrack.’
      • ‘It took me a while to get the hang of proper snorkelling technique but once I got my head down, I had a near religious experience.’
      • ‘Time after time he got his head down and ripped through the heart of Newcastle, clipping the outside of a post with a rasping 25-yard drive at the end of one thrilling run.’
      • ‘He got his head down and made steady progress to work his way up to 22nd at the back end of the group fighting for 15th place.’
      • ‘I became a party animal and social butterfly on the Glasgow scene, Christopher got his head down and worked.’
      • ‘Just before Christmas, my life was in limbo and basically it's now a case of getting my head down here at Burnley and letting my performances show everyone that I'm not as bad as the newspapers make out.’
      • ‘David will get his head down and work towards the team cause as will the rest of the lads and if we fail it won't be for the want of trying.’
    get something into one's head
    • 1Form a particular idea or notion.

      • ‘I got it into my head that I was going to start my own student magazine’
      1. 1.1Realize or understand something.
        ‘when will you get it into your head that it's the project that counts not me?’
        • ‘I understand that Jimmy, like you, cannot get it into his head that she doesn't want to be with him anymore.’
        • ‘I was in secondary school and I somehow got it into my head that because I was good at sciences (especially physics) I should become an engineer.’
        • ‘We have a pretty simple uniform while we're cooking or serving, but I got it into my head that it would be cool to have team aprons - I came up with this design.’
        • ‘He was a bit concerned that I seem to have got it into my head that I'll be fine in another 6 months or so, enough to go back straight into full time work anyhow.’
        • ‘For some reason, I had got it into my head that the small white square with a ‘T’ marked in it was the Minster.’
        • ‘I'd got it into my head that today would be the final resolution of the London flat problem, after several false starts.’
        • ‘I had got it into my head that Cirencester is a long way away but it isn't.’
        • ‘I seem to have got it into my head that I need to read novels set in New York.’
        • ‘He's got it into his head to replace the fossil fuels he uses to heat the air and water in his Highgrove residence with wood before it becomes fossilised.’
        • ‘He got it into his head that he was stupid, but this course made him realise he isn't.’
    give someone head
    vulgar slang
    • Perform oral sex on someone.

    give someone their head
    • Allow someone complete freedom of action.

      ‘For the opening sequence of this piece, he stands apart in a corner to give them their head, in swathes of darting, scything movement, bewitching articulation, surging bursts of speedy turns and airy flights.’
      • ‘Andy - he - you give - there are certain guys, you give them their head.’
      • ‘However, when Bowman does give them their head, the dragons are both physically intimidating and stunningly effective.’
      • ‘‘If you are going to have a youth wing, you have to give them their head,’ one senior aide said.’
      • ‘You have to harness what is good in it and then take on board good key people and give them their head.’
      • ‘There will be cerebral excitement, particularly if youngsters like Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder are given their head.’
      • ‘As you will hear, Wangenstein's policy of selecting the brightest and the best, giving them their head and supporting them, was critical to success.’
      • ‘Wenger's identification of such targets shows the brilliance of his intelligence network and it is fair, too, to say that no one else is more likely to refine such talents and give them their head.’
      • ‘Our people see the same sort of potential in Braht Lahts as Drachensblut showed when we gave them their head.’
    go to someone's head
    • 1(of alcohol) make someone dizzy or slightly drunk.

      ‘Lily began feeling the alcohol go to her head after her 6th drink, and she almost passed out.’
      • ‘I supposed that the large consumption of alcohol the night before had gone to his head.’
      • ‘I had two drinks that just went to my head, because I hadn't eaten.’
      • ‘The sangria had gone to my head and I badly wanted to go home.’
      • ‘Maybe it was our French friend again - he is apparently a lover of all things Scottish, and clearly the whisky had gone to his head.’
      1. 1.1(of success) make someone conceited.
        ‘And it is because of his home town, admits this designer modestly, that success has not gone to his head.’
        • ‘Then I won a prize in the talent show and it all went to my head.’
        • ‘Something about being first in the procession went to my head instead.’
        • ‘It was the imagined glory of his role in local government which went to his head.’
        • ‘I am glad I had children before I got published, otherwise it might have gone to my head and I might start thinking book-writing was important.’
        • ‘It seems that the power of being Vice President has finally gone to his head.’
        • ‘He's a ref and it's gone to his head, he just had an authority thing, whether it was some sort of power trip I don't know.’
        • ‘And has mixing in venerable music circles gone to his head?’
        • ‘All of the talent and fame haven't gone to his head.’
        • ‘It's nice to hear that the news hasn't gone to his head.’
    hang one's head
    • Be deeply ashamed.

      ‘a record that should make them hang their heads in shame’
      • ‘he hung his head, aghast at his lack of judgement’
      • ‘Jonathon nodded, hanging his head like an ashamed child.’
      • ‘Instead, I placed my elbows on the counter and hung my head, sighing deeply.’
      • ‘I hung my head in shame and bought three extra sessions with the personal trainer immediately.’
      • ‘I should have hung my head and scuttled along to the hideously entitled ‘family carriage’ where anyone in a nappy is conventionally banished.’
      • ‘Even the defender hung his head, knowing the fault was his.’
      • ‘A drink-driver who killed his friend in a car crash hung his head as he was jailed for five years on Friday.’
      • ‘He hung his head and refused to appear after the match to discuss his profligacy.’
      • ‘I hope the person who spoke to her in such an inhumane way reads this and hangs their head in shame.’
      • ‘Instead of hanging his head in shame, he has taken each and every opportunity our lenient justice system has given him to try and get himself off the hook.’
      • ‘This is something to weep over, and a reason for everyone who's got anything to do with our local authority to hang their head in shame.’
    have a good head on one's shoulders
    • Be sensible and reliable.

      ‘I really can tell that he has a good head on his shoulders’
      • ‘I hope people see that I have a good head on my shoulders.’
      • ‘She has a good head on her shoulders and she is in business like you.’
      • ‘Max has a good head on his shoulders, and seems to have handled the situation in a mature manner.’
      • ‘She has a good head on her shoulders, and we trust her judgment.’
      • ‘You have to trust me that I'm making the right decision that I have a good head on my shoulders.’
      • ‘My kids both have a good head on their shoulders, and seem to be thinking pretty maturely about the idea of "mom" having a life again.’
      • ‘He has a good head on his shoulders, and he understands the reality of the world that we live in.’
      • ‘George had a good head on his shoulders and was an accomplished school student.’
    head and shoulders above
    • Far superior to.

      • ‘you were just head and shoulders above all the other girls’
      • ‘Several pupils stood head and shoulders above all other applicants, getting one of the top five marks in individual subjects.’
      • ‘In fact, the entire relationship has a very odd, pragmatic air to it that makes this stand head and shoulders above most of the rest of the field.’
      • ‘There they stand, head and shoulders above all others, some aggressive and pushy, others large and showy.’
      • ‘Having said all this, there are at least three future classics here and it's still head and shoulders above what most contemporaries are achieving.’
      • ‘But one stands out, head and shoulders above all the others.’
      • ‘While it only gives you one eighth or so of the total live experience, it's still head and shoulders above most minimal mix CDs out there.’
      • ‘This tended to detract from the fact that it was a good game in its own right, and to my mind still head and shoulders above most of the competition.’
      • ‘He stood head and shoulders above all his contemporaries inside and outside the University.’
      • ‘The truth is Henry has been head and shoulders above all other goalscorers this season.’
      • ‘When he is in full flow he is easily head and shoulders above all other footballers.’
    head of hair
    • The hair on a person's head, regarded in terms of its appearance or quantity.

      ‘he had a fine head of hair’
      • ‘She remembers him, with his fine head of hair, forever working.’
      • ‘All I've gotten for it is a very annoying head of hair and a growing loss of hair.’
      • ‘It seems obvious to say false - not because the present king of France has a fine head of hair, but because he does not exist.’
      • ‘He curled my entire head of hair and pinned it up into my crown so half of my curls were up and half were down.’
      • ‘The man appears to have an unruly head of hair and wears a tunic with dots, apparently meant to suggest an animal hide.’
      • ‘Although many opt for dying their entire head of hair so that they can finally prove that blondes have more fun, others try a tamer, sun-kissed glow through highlighting.’
      • ‘I wouldn't go back to my 20s if you gave me a full head of hair.’
      • ‘With his thick head of hair and crinkly cornflower eyes he looks undeniably statesmanlike - an impression compounded when he asks me for news of the Irish peace process.’
      • ‘The one with the heavy legs has a beautiful head of hair.’
      • ‘The attacker is described as Asian, aged about 20, 5ft 8in tall and was said to be slim with a thick head of hair and good looking.’
    head over heels
    • 1Turning over completely in forward motion, as in a somersault.

      ‘he fell backwards, tumbling head over heels down the steps’
      • ‘The powerful forearms and shoulders collapsed in full stride sending the lion nose first into the dirt, hind end vaulting upward as the cat tumbled head over heels, its forward momentum carrying it almost to my feet.’
      • ‘Monkey jumped out of the way so quickly that he lost his balance and went tumbling, head over heels, into the brush, the dog in yelping pursuit.’
      • ‘As per usual, he tumbled and flipped head over heels in a posing routine that brought the house - and the lights - down one more time.’
      • ‘In his eagerness to greet us, he tumbles down the steps head over heels.’
      • ‘Do NOT roll head over heels as if doing a forward somersault.’
      • ‘She tumbled head over heels right into the arms of a boy.’
      • ‘He tumbled down the incline, head over heels amid falling debris, and thudded against something soft.’
      • ‘She cried out in pain and watched in amazement, as her attacker seemed to fly backward and fall head over heels over her bed.’
      • ‘In doing this though he lost his balance and tumbled head over heels out of the window.’
      • ‘Amy braced, but was still blown backwards by the strong wind, tumbling head over heels and desperately trying to right herself or at least control her movements.’
    • 2

      (also head over heels in love)
      Madly in love.

      ‘I immediately fell head over heels for Don’
      • ‘We were emailing, phoning or writing daily, sending each other love songs, head over heels in love and planning our future, both feeling totally alive for the first time in years.’
      • ‘I realized that I not only loved him, but I was head over heels in love with him.’
      • ‘I fell head over heels in love with a wonderful man who I truthfully still love.’
      • ‘Now my little Desiree has found a young man she has fallen head over heels in love with, they are besotted, spending all their free time with each other, talking in a language only they seem to understand.’
      • ‘And in that mood you can find yourself hankering for a passport back to that time of ultimate innocence, when you first fell head over heels in love with the grand old game.’
      • ‘Oblivious to the implications, he falls head over heels in love, embarking on a bitter-sweet romance that will have cataclysmic consequences.’
      • ‘I wasn't going to fall head over heels in love with this new cat.’
      • ‘‘He rang me up straight away, and it was obvious he had fallen head over heels in love with her,’ said Mrs Murphy.’
      • ‘All three seem to fall head over heels in love with her (like you do).’
    heads I win, tails you lose
    • I win whatever happens.

      ‘Lower interest rates, higher interest rates - they're all the same to Roach who has adopted the stance ‘heads I win, tails you lose’.’
      • ‘Of course, this ignores the ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ aspect: executives get a share of investors' gains if things go well, but don't share the losses if things go badly.’
      • ‘Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this just another way of saying, we'll flip a coin, and heads I win, tails you lose?’
      • ‘A situation develops in which institutions can directly or indirectly take speculative positions using funds protected by the deposit insurance safety net - the classic ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ situation.’
      • ‘As many of you are well aware, hedge funds generally take 20% of fund profits, while afforded the luxury of not having to pay for losses - the old ‘heads I win, tails you lose’.’
      • ‘‘This is heads I win, tails you lose,’ said one critic of restricted stock, who noted that the issuing of thousands of new shares served to dilute the value of shares held by small investors.’
      • ‘This has given rise to risk-taking of the ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ variety where managers and other agents get to play with other people's money, often in a rigged game.’
      • ‘It's the old ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ conundrum.’
      • ‘It's a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ proposition for the banks.’
      • ‘For companies such as Kelda, it really is a case of ‘heads I win, tails you lose’.’
    heads will roll
    • People will be dismissed or forced to resign.

      ‘heads will have to roll at board level’
      • ‘I will be instigating some enquiries and some heads will roll.’
      • ‘I imagine heads will roll (but hopefully only figuratively).’
      • ‘And heads will roll for giving me wrong information.’
      • ‘Experience tells us that each time there is a party congress, heads will roll and purges will abound as intra-party struggle erupts.’
      • ‘It is expected that a number of heads will roll within the bank when his report is completed but the identities and numbers to be fired still remain very much a matter for speculation.’
      • ‘And as Eric said, a lot of heads will roll if we make another mistake.’
      • ‘Let the garbage pile up for a couple weeks at single-family homes in tonier parts of town, though, and heads will roll.’
      • ‘I think it's inevitable that some heads will roll over this once we get this independent investigation going.’
      • ‘I am sure that heads will roll and fingers of disgrace will be pointed in the right direction but our country's future is at stake.’
      • ‘I also hope heads will roll in the government for what's happened here this week.’
    hold a gun to someone's head
    • Force someone to do something by using threats.

      ‘Now, if one were to believe everything they read, it would seem that I held a gun to his head and force fed him the Mandarin and soda with a splash of OJ.’
      • ‘No-one puts a gun to your head and forces you to take that demeaning and last-resort job of Senator.’
      • ‘Fourth, nobody holds a gun to a man's head and forces him to be a priest.’
      • ‘I'm not generally a big fan of long lists of links, but they have their uses - and after all, it's not like anyone is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to click on any of them.’
      • ‘As a representative for a district where people oppose gay rights, he said he had no choice. As if someone had held a gun to his head, forcing him to run for office.’
      • ‘The trust has put a gun to the council's head by spending all this money on the building before the application has been heard and I don't think councillors will be able to turn this application down.’
      • ‘I wasn't forced to be a prostitute - no one put a gun to my head.’
      • ‘When you sign the contract, nobody puts a gun to your head.’
      • ‘But if you absolutely must - you know, if someone put a gun to your head - go against your instincts and sleep with an old one.’
      • ‘No one has put a gun to your head to come and read all this and hey, all it takes is just a little click to make your way out of here.’
    hold up one's head
    • Be confident or unashamed.

      ‘under the circumstances I would find it impossible to hold my head up in the town’
      • ‘He told me to hold my head high and look confident.’
      • ‘You might not get to the top as quick as everyone who's treading on other people's fingers, but at least you'll be able to hold your head high and say ‘I got here by myself’.’
      • ‘While I have tried in public to stay dignified, to hold up my head and to carry on with my job… in private I have been deeply upset and hurt and considerable damage has been inflicted on my personal life.’
      • ‘If I were never to lace on a glove again, I could hold my head high.’
      • ‘I've won the domestic trophies, the Championship and got back in the Champions League, so now when I leave the club I can hold my head high.’
      • ‘Now he can hold his head high and look back with pride on the 229 wickets which made him the eighth most successful bowler in England's history.’
      • ‘She held her head high and continued about her business with what may have seemed like an arrogance to some’
      • ‘He's a fine soldier, and he goes out holding his head high in service as chief staff the United States Army.’
      • ‘So, keep your hope alive and hold your head high.’
      • ‘You have to be prepared to hold your head high and whatever happens, happens, and you move on.’
    in one's head
    • By mental process without use of physical aids.

      ‘the piece he'd already written in his head’
      • ‘I was busy writing all about it in my head, when reality stabbed me in the stomach.’
      • ‘It fascinates me that a composer must hear music in their head and then write it in a foreign language before it is actually played.’
      • ‘On the way home I was writing this review in my head, before listening to the album.’
      • ‘To a large extent they ignored vision, which does a large part of the processing that goes on in your head.’
      • ‘After his tedious rail delay, Clark started writing down what had been bubbling in his head for years.’
      • ‘He had already potted the nine in his head, but now, since Jimmy made the call for the pocket, he had to rewind.’
      • ‘Then we watched boys snowboard and a man ski, and she wrote her next Christmas list in her head.’
      • ‘In other words, if you can picture it in your head, it will occur in the physical world.’
      • ‘That goes on the whole time and you play little games in your head.’
      • ‘I know the images you get in your head after reading a book are very peculiar to you but the building just didn't fit with my images.’
    keep one's head
    • Remain calm.

      ‘he takes chances but keeps his head’
      • ‘But I found the best advice was to keep your head and to stay calm even when all this excitement is happening around you.’
      • ‘Fortunately, Damien kept his calm, allowing Richard to keep his head.’
      • ‘I knew there was more in our fellows, every player kept his head, and I was delighted at the positive way we regained the initiative.’
      • ‘He followed the TV show's advice, kept his head, saw an air pocket behind him, pulled himself into the back of the car and, with water up to his chin, waited an agonising 25 minutes for help.’
      • ‘He kept his head and successfully put all three attempts through the posts to move his side into mid-table and nine points clear of Irish, who now occupy bottom place in the Premiership table.’
      • ‘But despite the pressure, the young Norwegian kept his head and battled through the bad times to realize his dream and win his first world title.’
      • ‘When suspicions began to grow about him, he kept his head.’
      • ‘‘He kept his head when all around him were losing their shirts,’ says a fellow director.’
      • ‘He has kept his head and stuck with the things he believes in.’
      • ‘However, he kept his head and roared back to take the next three.’
    keep one's head above water
    • Avoid succumbing to difficulties, typically debt.

      ‘We have managed to keep our head above water in the last 24 months despite increasingly difficult market conditions.’
      • ‘Nearly every week there's something else; you find you're constantly in debt and always borrowing to keep your head above water.’
      • ‘Lots of things were going through my head, and I wasn't speaking to anyone, and then when the manager came up and said that, it keeps your head above water, and gives you a wee bit of extra determination.’
      • ‘But I took an evening job and just about kept my head above water.’
      • ‘And those people are not - they are having a hard time keeping their head above water.’
      • ‘They know that one person's dime's worth of difference is another person's dollar's worth and that that dollar's worth can be the difference between keeping one's head above water or not.’
      • ‘The cumulative effect is that merely keeping one's head above water, rather than getting ahead, has become the top priority for Americans between the ages of 18 and 34.’
      • ‘Listen, I - I'm having enough trouble keeping my head above water without deciding what they should be doing in the sports department.’
      • ‘It's all you can do to keep your head above water sometimes.’
      • ‘One does have to work like the devil in order to keep your head above water in this country… or death by drowning is sure to happen with our economic climate.’
    keep one's head down
    • Remain inconspicuous in difficult or dangerous times.

      ‘he was in deep trouble and all his instincts told him to keep his head down’
      • ‘It is difficult but you've just got to keep your head down, work hard and hope that things come right.’
      • ‘You kept your head down and you never challenged your political betters.’
      • ‘You kept your head down, did your work and made sure you were ready for when the call came.’
      • ‘And that's why I am successful, because I kept my head down and made sure things got done.’
      • ‘But I kept my head down, played straight into the wind and finished with eight straight pars.’
      • ‘‘I've intentionally kept my head down as it would be too easy to be seen as a spoilt brat,’ he replies in a tone that combines nervousness and natural self-deprecation.’
      • ‘This would have been noted and maybe efforts would have been made to find out why I was so miserable, but no one cared, I never caused any trouble and if I did my work and kept my head down, the teachers barely noticed or cared if I was there.’
      • ‘You've got to be pretty lucky to get to the final, but I kept my head down and was polite to the other players so they didn't stitch me up.’
      • ‘I kept quiet and kept my head down, but now it's fine and people have started accepting me.’
      • ‘However, like any gracious Cork man I have kept my head down and taken the banter like a man.’
    lose one's head
    • Lose self-control; panic.

      ‘He doesn't panic or lose his head under pressure.’
      • ‘Maura must have panicked and completely lost her head, because I know I hadn't taught her to break like that.’
      • ‘There were a couple of speakers, no-one lost their head over the issue.’
      • ‘But it was a long and complicated birth with many disasters, and Walter lost his head for a moment.’
      • ‘The man has clearly lost his head and his thinking is devoid of the wisdom he could have had.’
      • ‘This man never lost his head, and was a great champion of the unchampioned youth of his country.’
      • ‘Anybody who thinks they could endure the horrible golf he went through without losing their head occasionally is deluded.’
      • ‘So, I got all my cards re-ordered, and set about getting replacement loyalty cards (perhaps they'll send me a little commiseration present too), congratulating myself on not losing my head too much.’
      • ‘Initially I was still bottling it up but my new-found knowledge stopped me from losing my head, at least at school but as the bullies lost interest in me it got easier and easier until finally it went away altogether.’
      • ‘You tell yourself that you will never lose your head, but after a couple of weeks, you are throwing the clubs about again.’
    make head or tail of
    • usually with negative Understand at all.

      ‘we couldn't make head or tail of his answer’
      • ‘We still cannot make head or tail of what happened.’
      • ‘Anyway, I couldn't make head or tail of what he was saying.’
      • ‘She couldn't make head or tail of what she was being told and thought it a nightmare.’
      • ‘Now it is difficult to make head or tail of what he is at.’
      • ‘I'm not surprised - pension statements are remarkably difficult to make head or tail of.’
      • ‘Last week one of his followers tried to make head or tail of it all.’
      • ‘For they are creators of truths so unprecedented, purveyors of proposals so revolutionary, that not a soul is capable of making head or tail of them.’
      • ‘I would gladly pay to have someone summarize the plot of this alleged supernatural thriller for me, because, owing to whatever heretofore unrecognized deficiency on my part, I couldn't really make head or tail of it.’
      • ‘I've never been able to make head or tail of it.’
      • ‘These women are so obsessed with the idea that they are the ones wanting commitment while men don't that they can't make head or tail of this new version of themselves.’
    off one's head
    • 1British informal Crazy.

      • ‘my old man's going off his head, you know’
      • ‘I've never been one for going off my head at refs.’
      • ‘Anway, Sonny has taken on the mantle of being a ginger cat in every sense of the word: he's a bloody off his head, mental, homicidal-psycho-jungle-cat.’
      • ‘I went off my head and used crack cocaine; it was intense, I was doing things that I never thought I could do, robbing people because drugs had a hold on me.’
      • ‘Maybe ordinarily Al would've had enough sense not to push it, but right now he looked stubborn, grouchy, and about half out of his head with pain.’
      • ‘The other factor is that I was pregnant and off my head with hormones half the time.’
      1. 1.1Very intoxicated.
        ‘When I like a record, it's not because I'm out of my head or drunk on anything.’
        • ‘Of course he didn't remember he was drunk out of his head, which was the only reason anything happened between them.’
        • ‘Still, I'm finding that not being whacked off my head on drugs all the time, or thinking about my next score of drugs, that I can cope with the little ups and downs a lot better.’
        • ‘They see it as a grown-up thing to do, to get drunk out of your head.’
        • ‘And then he starts to mess with me, and I let it happen for a bit, mainly cos I'm drunk out of my head, but eventually reality kicks in.’
        • ‘Even though he was upstairs, drunk out of his head in her house, she still risked calling me from her house phone.’
        • ‘She was also face down in the common room, drunk off her head, with pervy James trying to look up her skirt.’
        • ‘It gave me a feeling of elation, I was on my own, no one telling me what to do, off my head with gas or glue.’
        • ‘You got absoulutely off your head that time and you decided not to do drugs again but you couldn't help liking the income of dealing the stuff.’
        • ‘I'm a little drunk, but I'm not so off my head that I'd actually do anything with you.’
    off the top of one's head
    • Without careful thought or investigation.

      ‘I can't tell you off the top of my head’
      • ‘He gives a very polished, professional performance with excellent comic timing to make the jokes appear impromptu and off the top of his head.’
      • ‘One little girl, only seven years of age, stood at the top of the classroom one day and told a story off the top of her head, capturing the attention of the entire class for twenty minutes.’
      • ‘I thought you just remembered it off the top of your head.’
      • ‘And can you really divide $15.03 by two off the top of your head?’
      • ‘There are differences in the economic and social policies advocated by the two parties, but I bet you can't mention a major one off the top of your head.’
      • ‘I'd like to see you come up with something better, right there off the top of your head.’
      • ‘How many words for marijuana, or for smoking it, can you think of on the spot, right off the top of your head?’
      • ‘Someone's gathered a whole list of rain songs, but before you look, which ones can you think off the top of your head?’
      • ‘We will receive a sheet of paper with one of a number of topical issues printed on it and then have to speak for two minutes off the top of our head.’
      • ‘And that's just off the top of my head; I may have the dates wrong.’
    over someone's head
    • 1Beyond someone's ability to understand.

      ‘the discussion was over my head’
      • ‘So I figure its best to humour her, maths is not my strongest point and I try to ignore anything that has to do with numbers and indeed most of it goes over my head as I do not understand.’
      • ‘It went mostly over his head when it happened but he'll start to understand this chapter.’
      • ‘While some of the legal details sailed over my head, there were interesting discussions about technology and implementation issues.’
      • ‘Despite the raunchier jokes going over my head, I laughed a great deal.’
      • ‘‘It is about entertainment, it makes a point but without flying over your head,’ she claims.’
      • ‘Don't worry if that's gone completely over your head, it probably requires knowing stuff about the A-level system to really ‘get’ it, but it was just me thinking aloud in a clearer manner than actually talking to myself.’
      • ‘Quit talking about things over your head, like politics, and go make me some pie.’
    • 2Without someone's knowledge or involvement, especially when they have a right to it.

      ‘the deal was struck over the heads of the regions concerned’
      • ‘There was this big discussion going on over my head.’
      1. 2.1With disregard for someone else's (stronger) claim.
        ‘his promotion over the heads of more senior colleagues’
        • ‘And I just said to him, Well I'm very sorry but we don't feel that you are, and that is why we went over your head, and we would still like to see Mr O'Neill, please.’
    put their heads together
    • Consult and work together.

      ‘I think if we put our heads together we can come up with something’
      • ‘they forced the major banks to put their heads together to sort it out’
      • ‘It is really a matter of people getting together and putting their heads together and coming up with ways to do this - it truly starts in the community.’
      • ‘We have put our heads together to discuss how to move our plans forward.’
      • ‘If the community put their heads together and intervened, the problem of street kids would be a thing of the past.’
      • ‘I picture the editor and director putting their heads together in the editing room, trying to cobble together a sequence out of incompatible footage because they cannot afford reshoots.’
      • ‘More than 1,000 people from 25 European countries put their heads together in Salzburg at the weekend to discuss ideas to reverse the trend.’
      • ‘But hours before the meeting, the Opposition leaders put their heads together and issued notice for a special council to discuss the issue.’
      • ‘The annual conference is the one chance these coroners get to put their heads together for an exchange of ideas and information.’
      • ‘All the gurus were putting their heads together on how it could be reconstructed, given more vigour and life.’
      • ‘Over the past couple of weeks throughout the length and breadth of this region, people of every age have been putting their heads together to come up with some of the most amazing fundraising ideas I have ever heard.’
      • ‘Now, rail bosses, the neighbourhood watch, the town council and the borough council are putting their heads together to find a solution.’
    standing on one's head
    • With no difficulty at all.

      ‘I could design this garden standing on my head’
      • ‘I read the script and thought I could do the character standing on my head.’
      • ‘I applied for the post and I remember that, on the phone, I said that I could provide no paperwork to prove my qualifications but that I could do the job standing on my head.’
      • ‘‘I played a part in it which I could do standing on my head but it is still a small part in a big film,’ he recalls.’
      • ‘Both of them are part time and to be honest I can do the Librarian stuff standing on my head, plus they would give me 1/2 a day off each week for my class work so it wouldn't be that hard - I've worked numerous jobs at one before.’
      • ‘Anyway what I missed was Italian and it is grammar day and we're doing stuff I could do standing on my head in a tornado, so, I'm not worried.’
      • ‘Owen can do this kind of thing standing on his head, while balancing a cage of turtledoves.’
      • ‘Hawkins could knock this sort of thing out standing on his head, which he probably did.’
    take it into one's head to do something
    • Impetuously decide to do something.

      ‘I wonder why he suddenly took it into his head to confess to you’
      • ‘Why, when two men in medieval times chanced to to be standing next to each other, did one of them suddenly take it into his head to do this thing, and why was the other one happy to acquiesce?’
      • ‘No one, after all, wanted to get too friendly with a gigantic barbarian who might suddenly take it into his head to chop one into teeny, tiny pieces for no particular reason.’
      • ‘I took it into my head to write a formal sonnet in classical form, and have been sweating over it all day, breaking off now and again to have a good curse at the obstinacy that words exhibit when you try to herd them into a prescribed form.’
      • ‘I asked if the reason for the questions was to keep the doctor on the right side of the law in case I took it into my head to bring an action against him.’
      • ‘Left alone at home one day, she took it into her head to dress up in clothes belonging to the family servant: a ragged blue ankle-length dress with a long, faded red apron, and a rough cotton shawl and hood over the top.’
      • ‘I took it into my head to take some book along to moderate my pace.’
      • ‘When we exited the store and headed back, Jake took it into his head to ask, ‘Where next mother?’’
      • ‘He wasn't exactly sure how he'd get her to talk if she took it into her head to be difficult, but he was sure he could think of something.’
      • ‘If it should happen you'd aught to do with that, I just might take it into my head to carve out your liver and fry it in front of you.’
    turn heads
    • Attract a great deal of attention or interest.

      ‘this outfit is sure to turn heads’
      • ‘why waste time with a car that does not turn heads?’
      • ‘There is something about leather that turns heads and catches attention.’
      • ‘The unusual gathering attracted attention from the shoppers and turned heads and some of the passers by had a go at drawing.’
      • ‘Your attractiveness is turning heads all over the place.’
      • ‘I often turned heads, but this flash of interest was accompanied by raucous laughter, shrill whistles, or, most often, suggestive murmurs.’
      • ‘It must have turned heads as cars passed, drawing more unwanted attention to the situation.’
      • ‘The €20 million-plus price tag may turn heads in Limerick, but provincial papers tend to attract high prices, despite their select circulations.’
      • ‘Every once in a while folk from the land down under do something that turns heads up here in the north.’
      • ‘It turns heads with its front, side and rear profiles.’
      • ‘Their special triplet pram turns heads, and one passing woman was so surprised when she saw the three little girls she dropped the pie she was eating.’
      • ‘But this is the only time of year when a black-cloaked guide screaming and brandishing a whip barely turns heads.’
    turn someone's head
    • Make someone conceited.

      ‘being made dean had turned his head’
      • ‘The success of the movie isn't turning his head, but it's making him more aware of social realities.’
      • ‘Wendy believes all the adulation turned Peter 's head, sowing the seeds of overweening self-esteem.’
    turn something on its head
    • Completely reverse the principles or interpretation of an idea or argument.

      ‘a book that turns the accepted view of modernism on its head’
      • ‘This novel bravely turns that idea on its head, and in doing so reinvigorates our perceptions of the North American continent.’
      • ‘In turning this idea on its head - protagonist escapes prison unchanged - the thrilling element of this trilogy turns out to be a lesson in the necessity for change and how quickly life's certainties can disappear.’
      • ‘We would turn that argument on its head and say that, to a small firm reliant on trade that has been built up probably over a number of years, the impact of the riots was costly and disruptive to their business.’
      • ‘Equally so, the argument could be turned on its head and we could ask the mobile phone companies to prove that these masts are not harmful to people's well being.’
      • ‘But turning this argument on its head, it is also true that never before has it been so clear that the alliance is making its significance, its military and its political weight, dependent on the contribution from the United States.’
      • ‘In Asia, a debate about the importance of Asian values got underway, with the state-business elite turning the liberal idea on its head, and arguing that individualism and pluralism actually negated economic success.’
      • ‘You can turn that argument on its head if they are appointed as an interim government in the first place and begin to exercise some level of executive power, which at present they're not doing.’
      • ‘Betting exchanges turn that principle on its head.’
      • ‘Where meaning and significance are traditionally associated with language and representation, these moves turn that idea on its head.’
      • ‘But there is also the option to turn this argument on its head.’
    — one's head off
    • Talk, laugh, etc. unrestrainedly.

      ‘he was drunk as a newt and singing his head off’
      • ‘But if you are from England, you are probably laughing your head off, as that topped the regional results back then.’
      • ‘As soon as the curtains go up you will be laughing your head off.’
      • ‘Mostly, his blackly comic writing will make you laugh your head off, but it can also rip your heart out.’
      • ‘I found this too hilarious, and continued to sit on the floor, laughing my head off.’
      • ‘I was laughing my head off along with everybody else as we watched this spectacle.’
      • ‘When Alex had presented it to me, only just four months ago, it had made me laugh my head off.’
      • ‘When I picked up the phone, Nick was still there, laughing his head off.’
      • ‘Five minutes later, he came out of the school with a group of about six people, laughing his head off.’
      • ‘He released me a minute or two later, after laughing his head off at me like I was a freak of nature.’
      • ‘I told him the story and he laughed his head off, brought his nurses in and we all had a good laugh.’

Phrasal Verbs

    head off
    • 1head someone or something off, head off someone or somethingIntercept and cause someone or something to turn aside.

      ‘he ran up the road to head off approaching cars’
      • ‘Jared goes after them instantly, running along the edge of the field to head them off and catch them by surprise.’
      • ‘He spied David making his way towards the car lot, a bottle in his hand, and moved to head him off, catching up with him just outside the exit.’
      • ‘Some people swung their cars round and tried to head him off at the other side of the playing fields.’
      • ‘They planned to demonstrate outside banks and insurance companies but police headed them off into a side street.’
      • ‘As the PM left the hotel for the airport, the ABC's political correspondent, ignoring security, headed him off at the door and apologised.’
      • ‘And if the taxi driver is upset that I blocked his path for all of 30 seconds, well, as demonstrated I would have headed him off at the traffic lights anyway.’
      • ‘All they want to do is head us off and hope that we give up.’
      • ‘Being up front is the only way to head them off and restore integrity and policy debate to our political system.’
      • ‘If this does not solve the problem it may be possible to head them off.’
      • ‘The police, he said, used always to head his gang off from crossing a certain street into a more upmarket neighbourhood.’
      • ‘Last night fans watched as Dev raced to head Maya off as part of his quest to free Sunita from prison after she was framed by his former fiancée.’
      • ‘I volunteered to go down the steep bank with Newby to head the lion off while Ruth and Husseman took the high route.’
      • ‘Or do you quietly watch the signals so you know where your adversary plans to be, head him off, and kill him then?’
      • ‘I try to head him off, but eventually he gets past me and jumps on Jarvis again, snarling and growling again.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, they are headed off by Jimmy's manager and can't get near him, while their demo tape gets thrown into a pile with a thousand others under his bus.’
      • ‘The early sequences of the stampeding wild horses and how they are headed off from racing over the edge of a cliff are particularly exciting.’
      • ‘I busied myself with finding the next act on the schedule and preparing to introduce him while Lance ran interference for me, heading several people off as they came forward.’
      • ‘‘Sit,’ Howarth told her, heading her off from the stove.’
      • ‘The officers themselves wouldn't come all the way down here to head them off though - that would be defeating the purpose.’
      • ‘I came across from his left to try to head him off as Paul Davis moved in from his right.’
      1. 1.1head something off, head off somethingForestall something.
        ‘they headed off a row by ordering further study of both plans’
        • ‘They recognize emergency situations before they become critical and head them off with appropriate countermeasures.’
        • ‘It can head them off entirely by preventing or fixing problems before they arise.’
        • ‘We now try to deal with animal health on a preventative basis, anticipating problems and heading them off.’
        • ‘Routines are proactive as well - establishing routines heads off many behavioral problems before they occur.’
        • ‘In Bradsher's view, environmental and safety groups were slow to catch on to where automakers were going and failed to head them off.’
        • ‘A series of major terrorist schemes had been headed off.’
        • ‘I've not seen a statement from the embassy commenting on the delay yet, so perhaps this thing will be headed off, after all.’
        • ‘Mr Ahern said potentially dangerous stand-offs had been headed off by ‘sensible policing and the work of community activists and local politicians’.’
        • ‘The UN probably can't head the attack off either.’
        • ‘As he waxes lyrical about the fact that he is mixing in illustrious circles these days, the temptation to accuse him teasingly of name-dropping grows, but he heads it off with a well-timed dollop of self-deprecation.’
        • ‘He thinks there might be other objections, and tries to head them off.’
        • ‘Gwen's eyes widened, but again the would-be squabble was headed off.’
        • ‘Whether or not there was a way to forecast what was going on here and head it off, I just don't know.’
        • ‘It's increasingly likely the Americans, once they heard word of the proposed delay, kicked things into overdrive to head it off.’
        • ‘Today independent health think-tank the King's Fund said the NHS urgently needed mechanisms to deal with hospital failure as well as to head it off before it happened.’
        • ‘Consumer representative groups have gone on record to insist that despite pre-conversion assurances to the contrary and official measures to head it off, the euro-linked price-rise factor is now a reality in Ireland.’
        • ‘This Task Force has been working flat out to ensure that we head something off before it happens and our response to the bus crash showed how well this worked.’
        • ‘Of course, the government still has several options within its control to largely head the whole issue off.’
    head up
    • 1head something up, head up somethingBe in charge or control of something.

      ‘she headed up two Fraud Squad teams within the City of London police’
      • ‘I'm going to be heading up Michael's new management team’
    • 2Sailing
      Steer towards the wind.

      • ‘Any sideways thrust exerted on the forward part of a yacht will encourage her to turn away from it, while any effort exerted aft will induce her to head up.’


Old English hēafod, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoofd and German Haupt.