head: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (hed), [key]
— n.
  1. the upper part of the body in humans, joined to the trunk by the neck, containing the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
  2. the corresponding part of the body in other animals.
  3. the head considered as the center of the intellect, as of thought, memory, understanding, or emotional control; mind; brain: She has a good head for mathematics. Keep a cool head in an emergency.
  4. the position or place of leadership, greatest authority, or honor.
  5. a person to whom others are subordinate, as the director of an institution or the manager of a department; leader or chief.
  6. a person considered with reference to his or her mind, disposition, attributes, status, etc.: wise heads; crowned heads.
  7. that part of anything that forms or is regarded as forming the top, summit, or upper end: head of a pin; head of a page.
  8. the foremost part or front end of anything or a forward projecting part: head of a procession.
  9. the part of a weapon, tool, etc., used for striking: the head of a hammer.
  10. a person or animal considered merely as one of a number, herd, or group: ten head of cattle; a dinner at $20 a head.
  11. a culminating point, usually of a critical nature; crisis or climax: to bring matters to a head.
  12. the hair covering the head: to wash one's head.
  13. froth or foam at the top of a liquid: the head on beer.
    1. any dense flower cluster or inflorescence. See illus. underinflorescence.
    2. any other compact part of a plant, usually at the top of the stem, as that composed of leaves in the cabbage or lettuce, of leafstalks in the celery, or of flower buds in the cauliflower.
  14. the maturated part of an abscess, boil, etc.
  15. a projecting point of a coast, esp. when high, as a cape, headland, or promontory.
  16. the obverse of a coin, as bearing a head or other principal figure (opposed to tail).
  17. one of the chief parts or points of a written or oral discourse; a main division of a subject, theme, or topic.
  18. something resembling a head in form or a representation of a head, as a piece of sculpture.
  19. the source of a river or stream.
  20. feds versus the heads; an acid-head; a pothead.
    1. a habitual user of a drug, esp. LSD or marijuana (often used in combination):feds versus the heads; an acid-head; a pothead.
    2. a fan or devotee (usually used in combination):a punk-rock head; a chili head.
  21. alcohol produced during the initial fermentation. Cf. tail (def. 6d).
  22. headline.
  23. a toilet or lavatory, esp. on a boat or ship.
    1. the forepart of a vessel; bow.
    2. the upper edge of a quadrilateral sail.
    3. the upper corner of a jib-headed sail. See diag. undersail.
    4. that part of the upper end of one spar of a mast that is overlapped by a spar above; a doubling at the upper end of a spar.
    5. that part of the upper end of a mast between the highest standing rigging and the truck.
    6. crown (def. 28).
    1. the member of an endocentric construction that belongs to the same form class and may play the same grammatical role as the construction itself.
    2. the member upon which another depends and to which it is subordinate. In former presidents, presidents is head and former is modifier.
  24. the stretched membrane covering the end of a drum or similar musical instrument.
  25. a level or road driven into solid coal for proving or working a mine.
  26. any of various devices on machine tools for holding, moving, indexing, or changing tools or work, as the headstock or turret of a lathe.
  27. railhead (def. 3).
  28. (loosely) the pressure exerted by confined fluid: a head of steam.
  29. Also called
    1. the vertical distance between two points in a liquid, as water, or some other fluid
    2. the pressure differential resulting from this separation, expressed in terms of the vertical distance between the points.
    3. the pressure of a fluid expressed in terms of the height of a column of liquid yielding an equivalent pressure.
  30. Also calledthe part or parts of a tape recorder that record, play back, or erase magnetic signals on magnetic tape. Cf. erasing head, playback head, recording head.
  31. See
    1. a mounting for a camera, as on a tripod.
    2. the part of an enlarger that contains the light source, negative carrier, lensboard, and lens.
  32. . fellatio.
  33. power, strength, or force progressively gathered or gradually attained.
  34. so loaded as to draw more water forward than aft.
  35. The struggle for power came to a head.
    1. to suppurate, as a boil.
    2. to reach a crisis; culminate:The struggle for power came to a head.
  36. to have one's actions, thoughts, or emotions under control or in order: If he'd get his head together, maybe he'd get to work on time.
  37. . perform fellatio.
  38. to permit someone to do as he or she likes; allow someone freedom of choice: She wanted to go away to college, and her parents gave her her head.
  39. Power went to his head. The brandy went to his head.
    1. to make someone dizzy or drunk; overcome one with excitement:Power went to his head. The brandy went to his head.
    2. to make someone conceited or self-important:Success went to his head.
  40. to become dejected or ashamed: When he realized what an unkind thing he had done, he hung his head in shame.
  41. In intelligence, he was head and shoulders above the rest of the children in the class.
    1. far better, more qualified, etc.; superior:In intelligence, he was head and shoulders above the rest of the children in the class.
    2. force.
  42. He tripped and fell head over heels into the gully.
    1. headlong, as in a somersault:He tripped and fell head over heels into the gully.
    2. intensely; completely:head over heels in love.
    3. impulsively; carelessly:They plunged head over heels into the fighting.
  43. be careful! watch out for danger!
  44. in direct opposition or competition: The candidates will debate head to head.
  45. to remain calm or poised, as in the midst of crisis or confusion: It was fortunate that someone kept his head and called a doctor.
  46. to remain financially solvent: Despite their debts, they are managing to keep their heads above water.
  47. to meet in order to discuss, consult, or scheme: Neither of them had enough money for a tour of Europe, so they put their heads together and decided to find jobs there.
  48. to become uncontrolled or wildly excited: When he thought he saw an animal in the underbrush, he lost his head and began shooting recklessly.
  49. to progress or advance, esp. despite opposition; make headway: There have been many delays, but we are at last making head.
  50. to exert authority by firing or dismissing employees or subordinates: He made heads roll as soon as he took office.
  51. to be unable to understand or decipher: We couldn't make head or tail of the strange story.
  52. candidly or extemporaneously: Off the top of my head, I'd say that's right.
  53. extremely; excessively: We screamed our heads off at that horror movie. He laughed his head off at the monkey's antics.
  54. as one's responsibility or fault: Because of his reckless driving he now has the deaths of three persons on his head.
  55. You're out of your head if you accept those terms.
    1. insane; crazy.
    2. Informal.delirious; irrational:You're out of your head if you accept those terms.
  56. The classical allusion went right over his head.
    1. beyond one's comprehension, ability, or resources:The classical allusion went right over his head.
    2. beyond one's financial resources or ability to pay:He's lost over his head in that poker game.
  57. to appeal to someone having a superior position or prior claim: She went over her supervisor's head and complained to a vice president.
  58. to keep quiet or mind one's own business; shut up.
  59. to form a notion, purpose, or plan: She took it into her head to study medicine.
  60. Her recent success has completely turned her head.
    1. to cause someone to become smug or conceited:Her recent success has completely turned her head.
    2. to cause one to become foolish or confused:A whirlwind romance has quite turned his head.
  1. first in rank or position; chief; leading; principal: a head official.
  2. of, pertaining to, or for the head (often used in combination): head covering; headgear; headpiece.
  3. situated at the top, front, or head of anything (often used in combination): headline; headboard.
  4. moving or coming from a direction in front of the head or prow of a vessel: head sea; head tide; head current.
  5. of or pertaining to drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug users.
  1. to go at the head of or in front of; lead; precede: to head a list.
  2. to outdo or excel; take the lead in or over: to head a race; to head one's competitors in a field.
  3. to be the head or chief of (sometimes fol. by up): to head a school; to head up a department.
  4. to direct the course of; turn the head or front of in a specified direction: I'll head the boat for the shore. Head me in the right direction and I'll walk to the store.
  5. to go around the head of (a stream).
  6. to furnish or fit with a head.
  7. to take the head off; decapitate; behead.
  8. to remove the upper branches of (a tree).
  9. to turn aside (a fox) from its intended course.
  10. to get in front of in order to stop, turn aside, attack, etc.
  11. headline (def. 4).
  12. to propel (the ball) by striking it with the head, esp. with the forehead.
  1. to move forward toward a point specified; direct one's course; go in a certain direction: to head toward town.
  2. to come or grow to a head; form a head: Cabbage heads quickly.
  3. (of a river or stream) to have the head or source where specified.
  4. to go before in order to hinder the progress of; intercept: The police headed off the fleeing driver at a railroad crossing.


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a native English suffix meaning “state of being” (godhead; maidenhead), occurring in words now mostly archaic or obsolete, many being superseded by forms in
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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