, genitive singular, transmission error), OE eafd-
(inflected form, rare
), OE hæafd-
(inflected form, rare
), OE hæfad-
(inflected form, rare
), OE hafod
), OE hafud-
(in compounds, rare
), OE heafu
, transmission error), OE heafut
), OE heafvd
), OE hefid-
, in compounds), OE heofd-
(inflected form, rare
), OE heofed
), OE heofud
), OE heouod
), OE hiafd-
(inflected form, rare
), OE (rare
, OE (rare
(inflected form), OE (rare
, OE (rare
, OE–eME heafd-
(inflected form), OE–eME heafed
, OE–eME heafod
, OE (rare
, OE (chiefly Anglian
, OE (rare
, OE (rare
(inflected form), OE–eME heofod
, lOE hæafud-
(in compounds), lOE hæuod
, lOE hauud
, lOE heæfd-
(inflected form), lOE heæfed
, lOE heæfod
, lOE heafð-
(inflected form), lOE (eME in copy of OE charter) æfd-
(inflected form), lOE (eME in copy of OE charter) hefod
, lOE–eME hæued
, lOE–eME heafd
, lOE–eME heuod
, lOE–ME heaued
, lOE–ME hefd
, eME eaued
, eME eueth
(in a Latin text), eME eved
, eME hæfd
, eME hæfed
, eME hæfedd
), eME hæfet
, eME hæffod
(in copy of OE charter), eME hæfued
, eME hæhued
, eME hæuet
, eME hafd-
(inflected form), eME hafed
, eME hafedd
), eME hafot
, eME hafued
, eME haphed
(in a place name), eME hauod
, eME heafet
, eME heafeð
, eME heafoded
(probably transmission error), eME heaheafde
(plural, transmission error), eME heauet
, eME heaueð
, eME heauot
(in a Latin text), eME heawed
, eME hefad
(in copy of OE charter), eME hefet
, eME hefued
, eME heofd
(in copy of OE charter), eME heueed
, eME heuet
, eME heueð
, eME hevod
(in copy of OE charter), eME hewid
, eME hewit
, eME hued
, ME efd
, ME eued
, ME hade
, ME haued
, ME haved
, ME havede
, ME heafodde
(in copy of OE charter), ME heauede
, ME heauyd
(in copy of OE charter), ME heedd
, ME hef
, ME hefde
, ME hefed
, ME hefede
, ME heifd
), ME heried
(transmission error), ME het
, ME heud
, ME heue
, ME heued
, ME heuede
, ME heuid
, ME heuyd
, ME heved
, ME hevede
, ME hevid
, ME hevyd
, ME hewed
, ME hewede
, ME hewyd
, ME heyd
(chiefly north-east midlands
), ME heyde
(chiefly north-east midlands
), ME hide
, ME hied
), ME hiede
), ME hiued
, ME hude
, perhaps transmission error), ME hyfdes
(plural), ME (17 N. Amer.
, ME–15 hedd
, ME–15 hedde
, ME–15 heed
, ME–15 heede
, ME (chiefly northern
)–15 (19– Irish English
, ME–16 hede
, ME–16 (18 Irish English
, ME–17 hed
, ME– head
, lME heuesde
(transmission error), 15 ede
, 15 ȝaed
, 15 headde
, 15 heydd
, 16 headd
, 18 'ed
), 18 ed
), 18 haade
)), 18 ned
), 18– 'ead
), 18– ead
); Eng. regional
, 17– yead
, 18 haid
, 18 hede
), 18 heoad
), 18 heyde
, 18 hidd
), 18– ad
), 18– 'eead
, 18– hade
, 18– hed
, 18– heead
, 18– heeade
, 18– heed
, 18– heid
), 18– hid
), 18– hod
), 18– hud
, 18– yed
, 18– yedd
, 18– yeead
, 18– yud
, 19– yod
); U.S. regional
, chiefly in African-American usage) 18 hade
, 18– haid
, 19– hai'd
, pre-17 hade
, pre-17 haed
, pre-17 heade
, pre-17 hed
, pre-17 hede
, pre-17 heidd
, pre-17 heide
, pre-17 heuit
, pre-17 heved
, pre-17 hevid
, pre-17 hevyd
, pre-17 hevyde
, pre-17 hewid
, pre-17 hewide
, pre-17 hewit
, pre-17 hewyd
, pre-17 hewyde
, pre-17 heyd
, pre-17 17– head
, pre-17 17– heed
, pre-17 17– heid /hid/
, pre-17 18 haid
, 17 hide
, 18 hehd
). (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Cognate with Old Frisian hāved
, Old Saxon hōvid
(Middle Low German hȫvet
), Middle Dutch hōvet
), Old High German houbit
(Middle High German houbet
, German Haupt
), Old Icelandic haufuð
, Gothic haubiþ
, apparently reflecting a variant or alteration (see note) of the Germanic base of Old Icelandic hǫfuð
, Norn (Shetland) huge
, Old Swedish hovudh
), Old Danish hovæth
), Old Gutnish hafuþ
< the same Indo-European base as classical Latin capit-
(see ), probably < a base meaning ‘cup, vessel’; further etymology uncertain, perhaps < the Indo-European base of classical Latin capere
to take, lift (see
and compare ); compare (with different suffix) Sanskrit kapāla
With the semantic development from ‘cup, vessel’ to ‘head’ compare French tête
(see ) and German Kopf
and the discussion at that entry), both now only in sense ‘head’; compare
The diphthongized base seen in the West Germanic and some other forms probably shows secondary influence from another word; suggestions for this include the Germanic base of
and the Germanic base of
Old English inflection.
In Old English usually a strong neuter; a strong masculine accusative plural hēafdas
is attested once.
The word sometimes appears to show dative plural hēafdum
in singular sense, especially in locative function, as in the phrase æt hēafdum
. Similar constructions are occasionally found in Old High German and Old Icelandic. The origin of such forms is uncertain and disputed. It has been suggested that they reflect an old instrumental singular form or a former dual, but they may also have arisen secondarily in contexts such as quot.
and be influenced by the dative plural ending of fōtum
feet, with which the word is often paired or contrasted. The form hēafdum
may also represent such a locative form, but the later use of the plural in sense
is probably unconnected.
Old English forms.
In Old English the word usually shows the long diphthong ēa
in the first syllable, the regular reflex of Germanic au
; occasional forms such as
occur especially in Anglian sources in which the graphic distinction between the diphthongs ēa
is not always clearly maintained. Forms such as , , showing a monophthong in the first syllable, are occasionally attested, and have sometimes been interpreted as showing the reflex of Germanic a
, but they are rare and relatively late. Late Old English forms such as
in particular clearly reflect monophthongization of the earlier diphthong rather than an inherited monophthong.
The vowel of the second syllable (originally u
, in West Saxon usually o
) is liable to syncope in inflected forms, but also to analogical restoration; the precise phonological history is complex and disputed, and subject to much dialectal and diachronic variation (see further R. M. Hogg & R. D. Fulk Gram. Old Eng.
) II. §§3.56–7, 3.63–6, 3.72). In late Old English shortening in the first syllable is liable to occur both in trisyllabic inflected forms such as genitive singular hēafodes
, nominative plural hēafodu
, and also in disyllabic forms before the consonant group, such as hēafdes
Later form history.
The Middle English forms show reflexes of both long and shortened vowels, the latter further reinforced by shortening of long open ē
(or its reflex) before d
(after loss of the intervening fricative) in late Middle English or early modern English (compare e.g. , , , etc.). Older Scots did not share the tendency to shorten open ē
in this environment, and the usual modern form
reflects a long vowel (subsequently shortened by the operation of Aitken's Law).
shows metanalysis (see ).
Notes on specific senses.
Compare post-classical Latin caput
(see ) and also Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French chief
(see ), which have a similar semantic range.
compare Anglo-Norman teste
head of a stag, antlers (both first half of the 14th cent.). Earlier currency of this sense is perhaps shown by the following Old English gloss of post-classical Latin brunda
, an obscure word, probably of Messapian origin, meaning ‘head (or perhaps antlers) of a deer’. The ultimate source of the gloss is Isidore ( Origines
15. 1. 49), who cites brunda
(which he considers a Greek word) as etymon of the classical Latin name of Brundisium
(now Brindisi): ‘Brundisium autem dictum [est] Graece quod brunda caput cervi dicatur,’ ‘Brundisium is so called in Greek because brunda is the head of a deer.’ The word is glossed elsewhere both as ‘head of a deer’ and ‘antlers of a deer’ (with the latter compare the Middle English quots. below); it is impossible to know which sense was uppermost in the mind of the Anglo-Saxon glossator:
OE Antwerp-London Gloss.
Brunda, heortes heafod.
?c1475 Catholicon Anglicum
(BL Add. 15562)
A harthorne, brunda, cornu cerui.
?c1475 Catholicon Anglicum
(BL Add. 15562)
A Horne, brunda..cornu.
compare Old English hēafodlic
in its rare sense ‘situated at the top’, attested only with reference to the architrave or capital of a column (compare sense ). With use in reference to columns perhaps compare also the following attestation of the Old English compound hēafodstōl
(compare ), ostensibly glossing post-classical Latin capitella
, plural of capitellum
capital of a column (see ), although the gloss is perhaps more likely to reflect confusion of post-classical Latin capitellum
with classical Latin capitōlium
eOE Cleopatra Gloss. in W. G. Stryker Lat.-Old Eng. Gloss. in MS Cotton Cleopatra A.III
(Ph.D. diss., Stanford Univ.)
compare Old English (Northumbrian) hēafodweard
chapter, heading (see ).
(and the related place names discussed below) compare
and its Brittonic etymon.
compare Anglo-Norman a bon chef
to a successful conclusion, a mal chef
to an unfavourable conclusion, to a bad end (both late 12th cent.), etc., and the expressions cited at
Use in place names.
The word is attested in place names in a number of senses, including ‘upper end of a valley’ (compare sense ), ‘source of a stream’ (compare sense ), and ‘headland of a field’ (compare sense ). However, a significant number of early place names appear to show the word as second element in sense ‘projecting piece of ground’ (compare branch ); this use differs both from later sense
(‘promontory, cape’) in that it is not typically found in coastal areas, and from later sense
(‘summit’) in that it does not seem to refer to the highest part of a hill, but chiefly to hill-spurs and the like; compare e.g. Dunehefde
, Somerset (1086, now Downhead), Duneheve
, Wiltshire (1086; also to Dunheafdan
in a 13th-cent. copy of a charter of 955; now Donhead), names probably to be interpreted as meaning ‘projecting end of a hill’ (compare ). This sense of the word is not well attested in lexical use, although compare early Middle English westhēafod
1155) in sense ‘western end of a hill’ in late copies of Anglo-Saxon charters; perhaps compare also the Old English phrase hlinces hēafod
(and similar collocations, e.g. hlinces ende
) in charter bounds, probably in sense ‘end of a ridge or terrace’ (compare , ).
An unusually high proportion of place names of this type have the name of an animal as the first element; comparison of the shape of the hill-spur with the shape of the animal's head is probably sometimes implied, although other kinds of association between animal and hill are also possible. (An earlier theory connecting such names with early Anglo-Saxon practices of animal sacrifice is now usually discounted.) See discussion in M. Gelling & A. Cole Landscape of Place-names
) 175–6. Compare e.g. Gateshevet
, Durham (1144–53, although earlier currency is implied by Bede's Latin translation as Ad Caprae Caput
(731); now Gateshead), and compare also the following:
OE Farm Accounts, Ely in A. J. Robertson Anglo-Saxon Charters
Twegen or[an wæ]ron to scipe & to net[tum] to Fearresheafde [i.e. present-day Farcet].
OE Bounds (Sawyer 1329) in D. Hooke Worcs. Anglo-Saxon Charter-bounds
Of cynelde weorðe swa on þære lytlan mædwe, swa on swines heafde [i.e. present-day Swinesherd].
Senses relating to the part of the body.
The literal sense, and directly connected uses.
The uppermost part of the body of a human, or the front or uppermost part of the body of an animal, typically separated from the rest of the body by a more or less distinct neck, and containing the brain, mouth, eyes, nose, and ears.
(b) With reference to animals.
eOE King Ælfred tr. Boethius
I. xxiii. 490
Ða sceolde cuman ðære helle hund ongean hine, þæs nama wæs Cerueruerus [read Ceruerus], se sceolde habban þrio heafdu.
God cwæð to ðære næddran:..heo tobrytt ðin heafod [L. caput tuum] & ðu syrwst ongean hire ho.
Hine þa þær oftorfodon mid banum & mid hryðera heafdum [OE Tiber. B. iv hryþera neata heafedum].
Ilc man..Heued and fet [of roasted lamb]..Lesen fro ðe bones, and eten.
i. l. 1536
He his horse heved aside Tho torneth.
a1450 in T. Austin
Take fayre garbagys of chykonys, as þe hed, þe fete, þe lyuerys.
1587 J. Hooker Chron. Ireland 157/1 in
The great & venomous hydra was thus shortened of one of his heds.
1607 E. Topsell 219
It is said..that if the head of a wolfe be hanged vp in a doue-cote, neither cat, Ferret, weasil, Stoate, or other noysome beast dare to enter therein.
1676 No. 1143/4
A little motled Bitch, with yellow motles from head to toe.
1737 J. Brickell 168
The Tobacco-worm..has two sharp horns on its Head.
1769 T. Pennant
III. iv. 249
This species is in some places called the bull trout, from the thickness and shortness of its head.
1810 A. von Sack App. 263
The bird is of a yellow colour; the head is ornamented with a comb of feathers.
1888 G. Rolleston & W. H. Jackson
Coelomata... A shorter anterior region or head which is preoral, and a longer postoral region, the body.
1934 J. A. Thomson & E. J. Holmyard I. ii. 26
The head begins to come into its own for the first time in some of the bristle-footed marine worms.
1966 W. Percy v. iv. 267
The dogs stuck their heads out the windows, grinning and splitting the wind.
1998 S. Lawrence 108
He noted the thickness of the serpent, and the evil triangle of its head: a viper, no doubt.
2000 P. Moore
Our dog Sally would bail them [sc. snakes] up and I'd cut off their heads with a shovel.
(c) fig. and in figurative contexts.Mainly in fixed phrases: see, for example, , , .
Cuþ is þæt se awyrgda gast is heafod ealra unrihtwisra dæda, swylce unrihtwise syndon deofles leomo.
OE Ælfric Homily
in J. C. Pope
Se Hælend..astah þa ana, ac him æfter fyligdon his agene lima [i.e. the saints], up to ðam Heafde [i.e. Christ].
1563 N. Winȝet
The auctoritie of the apostolik pouer put out the heid sua, that with maist hie seueritie it decretit.
1597 J. Norden 15
Let the two edged sword of faith and obedience cut off the head of sin in the head, that it may dye in the members.
1616 P. Simson III. viii. 152
This opinion of Transsubstantiation did no sooner put out its head, but assoone also contradiction was made vnto it.
1682 T. Otway
From the filthy Dunghil-faction bred, New-form'd Rebellion durst rear up its head.
a1752 T. Fitzgerald Winter's Evening in
From the Year are all its Honours fled, And dull November rears his gloomy Head.
1865 P. H. Gosse 5
An envious sea curled up its green head right over the quarter.
1883 12 July 156/2
Rayleigh Hill, which has long defied the attempts of all Essex men, has at length been compelled to lower its head beneath the triumphant wheel of our Captain.
1905 J. B. Bury iii. 51
Their [sc. the heretics'] doctrine was compelled to hide its head in Britain for a few years to come.
1952 C. Day Lewis tr. Virgil iv. 77
Rumour..soon puffs itself up, And walking upon the ground, buries its head in the cloud-base.
2005 D. Plotz ix. 167
As AID [= artificial insemination by donor] became more common..it started to poke its head out into the open.
The size or extent of a head used as a rough unit of measurement.
(a) In expressions indicating relative height, esp. as compared to the height of a particular person or of people in general, as taller by a (also the) head , etc.Cf. also and .
Þe stif mon hym bifore stod vpon hyȝt, Herre þen ani in þe hous by þe hede & more.
1535 1 Kings x. E
Whan he stode amonge the people, he was hygher by the heade then all the people.
1598 Shakespeare v. i. 41
Thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus.
?1624 T. Scott 5
A tall proper man, higher by the head then the common sort.
1663 A. Gray vi. 139
That idol of self indulgence..is as Saul, the head higher then the rest of all your idols within you.
1704 III. xiii. 315
Near the head higher than most tall Men.
1751 16 Oct. 314/1
The man..was a country looking, short punched person, about my height... Note, About the whole head shorter than Dixon.
1788 H. Repton 36
My father was but five feet high, and he was taller by a head than me.
1847 Tennyson iii. 55
She stood Among her maidens, higher by the head.
1875 B. Jowett tr. Plato
A is taller by a head than B.
1913 A. Blackwood ix. 117
She towered above him by a head at least.
1991 J. Wolf i. iii. 32
The fact that he was a full head taller than she only exacerbated her temper.
2009 B. Mitchell tr. G. Grass iii. 432
I was nearly two heads shorter than Sister Gertrud.
(b) orig. Horse Racing. With reference to the amount by which one horse is ahead of or behind a rival in a race, or the margin by which it wins or loses. Later frequently fig. with reference to any narrow margin of victory. Chiefly in to win (also lose, etc.) by a head . Cf. , .See also .
1743 26 May
The first Heat was won with great Difficulty by Mr. Greswood's Horse Badger, he not beating the Duke of Ancaster's Chesnut above half a Head.
1750 20 June
The second Heat was so nearly run, that Fancy won it by half the Head.
1794 July 79/1
The second heat was gained by a head, the third by rather less, and the last by half a length.
1805 Aug. 270/2
He [sc. a racehorse]..won his race by a head.
1816 W. T. Moncrieff ii. 47
‘Who's going to start now?’—‘Blucher and Boney.’..‘Boney has lost by half a head.’
1839 Mar. 208
He ran four miles carrying 130 lbs. losing by a head only.
1873 K. King II. vii. 181
‘I am told Morton was fearful spoons on the same girl. Is it true?’ ‘True enough. I won by a head only.’
1913 3 May 849/3
Louvois..passed Sanquhar and Fairy King, and going great guns..beat the favourite by a head.
1995 14 July 9/1
He..held on to win by a head.
2008 P. Robinson 292
The colt had not won the Irish Derby, but had been beaten by a head in a photo finish.
c. Chiefly Brit. colloq. A headache. Cf. .
1783 H. Mann Let. 18 Nov. in H. Walpole
It is become warm again, my habitual heads have ceased.
1869 Trollope I. xxiii. 189
Don't you know how one feels sometimes that one has got a head? And when that is the case one's armchair is the best place.
1888 R. Kipling Thrown Away in 15
He found whist, and gymkhanas,..good; but he took these..just as seriously as he took the ‘head’ that followed after drink.
1889 10 Aug. 3/2
He is decidedly feverish, and, in the pleasing vernacular of the modern youth about town, he has a ‘head’ on him.
1928 R. Macaulay xxv. 291
‘God, I've got a head.’ ‘You look rotten..better go straight to bed.’
1961 J. Wade xi. 164
I get one of those blinding heads.
2007 C. J. Pendergest xvi. 97
Delany woke up with a bit of a head. He hadn't drunk Bacardi for a long time.
b. Aptitude in a particular subject or sphere. Frequently in to have a (good, bad, etc.) head for .See also .
1642 R. Wright 1
I shall not speake as a Lawyer, for I have no Head for Law.
1674 Dryden et al. 70
A man should be learn'd in severall Sciences, and should have a reasonable Philosophicall, and in some measure a Mathematicall head.
1726 G. Crawfurd 381/1
He seems to have had..a good Head for Business.
1763 C. Johnstone
II. xiii. 81
I can't tell how it is, I have a bad head for politics myself.
1832 J. B. Fraser III. x. 256
What..would you have done without Glenvallich's good business head?
1876 C. H. Webb 101
Do not let anything I may have said lead you to believe that my friend Briggs has not a great financial head.
1895 2 509/2
I didn't rightly understand it, never having had a good head for figures.
1930 J. B. Priestley vi. 301
You say I haven't a head for business.
1985 J. Kerman 163
Since not everybody has a head for theory, a lot of fuzzy material of this kind is written by ethnomusicologists long past their student days.
1996 Aug. 109/2
Justin, whose father is a pilot, has a good math head.
2007 C. Berg iv. 35
Your explanations were very clear, and you've surely a good head for maps and scouting.
A person's ability to tolerate something.
(a) A person's ability to tolerate the effects of alcoholic drink or (in later use) other intoxicating substances. In early use with modifying word, esp. in strong head; in later use frequently with for. Cf. .
a1686 T. Watson
It must be a strong Head that bears heady Wine.
1748 R. Arnald xxxi. 165/1
Value not thyself upon a strong Head, much less affect the Character of a hard Drinker.
a1827 W. Hickey
I. iv. 35
I replied that I could drink as much as the best of them, and..I had, for such a youngster, a tolerable strong head.
1919 E. O'Neill 191
I've a head for strong drink, as ye know, but he hasn't.
1932 E. Bowen xiii. 131
Markie had a good head; if he had been very drunk he was not drunk now.
1990 C. Davis ix. 102
He had a head for dope, he said, never lost himself entirely.
2000 C. McCullough 164
Jimmy Price was a Somerset yokel with a poor head for rum.
(b) A person's ability to tolerate heights. Now frequently in to have a (good, bad, etc.) head for heights .
1850 W. A. Bromfield Let. 7 Nov. in
With by no means a strong head for climbing dizzy heights, I found I could look down from any part of the ascent without the least feeling whatever of giddiness.
1854 R. Curzon ix. 138
It requires much activity, and a good head for looking over a height, to attempt to come up with them [sc. wild sheep].
1900 C. E. M. Russell xv. 275
I have a very bad head for precipitous ground.
1954 I. Murdoch vi. 98
I..looked at the drop, and decided that I was not a daring fellow. I have no head for heights.
2001 July 27/2
You need a good head for heights on all climbing paths.
b. In plural or (less commonly) singular. The side of a coin which bears the figure of a head (opposed to ); the obverse. Chiefly paired with tails, esp. with reference to the practice of tossing a coin to determine a winner or to make a decision.Recorded earliest in . See also .
1675 T. Duffett iv. ii. 37
I'le tell y'what, wee'l play heads or tails, who goes first, that's fair now, e'nt it?
1729 B. Wilson tr. J. A. de Thou I. iv. 207
The Inscription on the Head of the Farnesian Coin..was P. Alois. Farn. Parm. et Plac. Dux.
Suppose 12 Half-pence to be thrown up, and those that come up Heads to be taken away, and the remaining ones to be thrown up again.
1801 J. Strutt iv. ii. 251
One person tosses the halfpenny up and the other calls at pleasure head or tail.
1834 T. De Quincey Sketches Life & Manners in Mar. 86/2
‘We tossed up’ to settle the question... ‘Heads’ came up.
1838 A. De Morgan 82
In 100,000 tosses, between what limits is it 99 to 1 that the heads shall be contained?
1884 5 Dec. 6/1
A coin can be so ‘doctored’ as to fall almost invariably heads or tails at will.
1911 7 Oct. 28/1
[They] lifted their fingers from the coins. ‘Four heads and two tails,’ said Nalakiel.
1931 P. A. Taylor viii. 120
I lost every bet I ever made in my life. If I called heads, it came tails.
1960 A. Rapoport
A coin is tossed. If a head turns up, you win 1¢.
1980 A. J. Jones iv. 177
Suppose on the toss of a fair coin one can win $20 on heads and lose $10 on tails. The expected value of the game is $5.
2005 V. Swarup 23
Time to make a decision. I take out my trusted one-rupee coin. Heads I cooperate with her. Tails I tell her ta-ta.
†c. Brit. colloq. A postage stamp; (sometimes) spec. a penny stamp. Obsolete (hist. in later use).So called from the figure of the sovereign's head depicted on all British stamps. Cf. .
1840 R. H. Barham Let. 30 July in R. H. D. Barham
II. viii. 99
One of those abominable little heads which the wisdom of our Post Office people has invented.
1854 R. S. Surtees
Take that to the Post, and mind you don't pick the 'ead off.
1872 12 187/2
Would ye plaze put a red head on it (anglice, a postage-stamp).
1891 2 251
Penny postage-stamps are still frequently called ‘heads’, the other kinds seem always to go by the name of stamps.
1927 G. Sturt i. 2
One very curious request would sometimes come from a villager; the man or woman asking for ‘a head’.
b. The hair as dressed in a particular (elaborate) style; esp. a style popular in the 18th cent., characterized by powdered or pomaded hair drawn up over a cushion or stuffing and dressed with gauze, ribbon, etc.; a removable wig or headdress in this style. Cf. , . Now hist. and rare.
l. 473 (MED)
Denyvs damysels..With purfelle and peloure and hedys full hye.
1484 Caxton tr. G. de La Tour Landry xlviii. sig. d viii
The remenaunt of their heedes was lyke two hornes.
a1513 R. Fabyan
I. ccxxiiii. f. cxlvi
For that tyme Clerkes vsed busshed and brayded hedys.
1580 J. Stow 490
Piked shoes, high heads, and long tayled gownes.
?1695 E. Ward 15
Two of your Metropolitan Sash Window Cherubins, that er'e [sic] Cut out a Muslin Head on a Counter.
1696 No. 3199/4
A striped Muslin Head, laced with a fine small edging.
1712 J. Addison No. 323. ¶7
At my Toilet, try'd a new Head.
1731 Mar. 124/1
Her Majesty..wore a flower'd Muslin Head, and Edging.
1752 Johnson No. 191. ⁋9
Ladies..asked me the price of my best head.
1792 20 Dec.
The ladies now wear the lappets to their gauze heads worked with aces of spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs, and call them quadrille heads.
1828 ‘Mrs. Markham’ II. xxxix. 447
I have seen caricatures of hairdressers mounted on ladders, dressing the ladies' heads.
1882 C. Hoey & J. Lillie tr. A. Challamel xv. 138
For thirty years those gigantic ‘heads’ held their place at Versailles, under the eyes of the old monarch who ‘protested in vain against towering head-dresses’.
1957 C. W. Cunnington & P. Cunnington 375
These elaborate ‘heads’ were sometimes made to remain untouched for a month or more.
A person, animal, or group of animals.
In enumeration. See also .
b. An individual animal, esp. a herd animal.Usually with plural unchanged after a numeral or other quantifier.
OE Manumission, Bath
(Corpus Cambr. 111)
in J. Earle
Leofenoð..hæfð geboht hine & his ofspring ut æt Ælfsige..mid fif oran & mid xii heafdon sceapa.
Parl. Oct. 1472 1st Roll §38. m. 17
The said mysdoers come to Trelowya, and there fett .ix. xx hede of shepe.
1482 in T. Thomson
The awaytakin..of xiiij hede of nolt, that is to say three kye, thre oxin, viij twa ȝere aldis.
1513 G. Douglas tr. Virgil viii. i. 96
Wyth thretty heyd..of grysis syne.
1533 in F. W. Weaver
x hed of shepe and lams.
A peny a head for goates and kids, half to the bringer in of the cattell & half to the pound.
1677 W. Hubbard i. 92
They had killed twenty head of Neat Cattle.
At Cork, where Eighty-thousand Heads of Cattle have been slaughtered annually, for several Years.
The low grounds were laid under water, and many head of cattle drowned.
1838 C. Gutzlaff & A. Reed II. xxvii. 549
If a person refuses to receive a traveller for the night, and he perishes with cold, the owner of the tent shall forfeit nine heads of cattle.
1866 Trollope II. v. 119
Every head of cattle about the place had died.
1900 1 Sept. 262/1
If they all..killed 30,000 head in a season, there would be 1,800,000,000 head of game killed in the year.
1948 6 Sept. 28/2
Only an emergency pumping system kept 250 head of his cattle from dying of thirst.
2007 B. F. Noble & S. N. Kulshreshtha in B. D. Thraves et al. xv. 357
Owners are charged a per diem for each head of livestock pastured.
b. As the second element in more or less fixed compounds used (usually disparagingly or humorously) to denote a person having a mind or head of the sort specified by the first element. Also in compounds of this type used attributively to designate such a person (more or less equivalent to ). Cf. .Recorded earliest in . See also , , , etc.
1549 Coverdale et al. tr. Erasmus II. 1 Cor. xi. f. xxxiv
A blockeheade that hathe loste the iudgemente of nature.
1591 A. Fraunce i. ii. iii. sig. D3
Trope-turned tale, or ryming ditty, deryued From foole-hardy Poets, or vaine-head Rhetoricasters.
1602 T. Dekker sig. I3v
To bite euery Motley-head vice by'th nose.
1825 I. 399
I say, old Bumble Head, give us a pen'orth of bread, and a ha'purth of small beer.
1828 Scott Fair Maid of Perth iii, in 2nd Ser. II. 90
The swaggering Smith, and one or two other hot heads.
1909 Z. Grey vii. 119
In the dressing-room after the game the players howled about this one run that Chase's stupidity had given Wheeling. They called him ‘wooden-head’, ‘sap-head’, ‘sponge-head’, ‘dead-head’.
1915 IV. iii. 205
My sister likes the country but she gets so tired of trying to make anything of the noddy-heads.
1952 J. Lait & L. Mortimer iii. xxviii. 355
Oscar Ewing, the blubber-head from the Bronx, sells the party along with his socialized medicine.
1994 R. Gunesekera
Stupid idiot, you chicken-head bumpkin, you pumpkin-face. Have you no respect for property?
2011 22 Aug. b4/2
‘It's over, frizz-head,’ chanted hundreds of jubilant men and women.
b. Usually with preceding modifying word. A person who is very enthusiastic about a particular interest or activity; a devotee, an avid fan. Cf. .breadhead, metalhead, petrolhead, etc.: see the first element.
1960 ‘Lord Buckley’ 7
The Reed Heads, the Lute Heads, and the Flute Heads.
1969 18 July 9/4
Nightride was taken from a spot so convenient to many music heads and put on at an awkward hour.
1987 K. Lette
Mum and Dad are trying to pair me off with Costa. He's a total soccer-head.
1999 Nov. 24/4
One for the masses and heads alike.
2012 Jan. 44/2
Michael Stipe [is] a profound Patti-head—he once described his encounter with her 1975 album, Horses, as ‘an epiphanal discovery’.
A thing or part of a thing resembling a head in form or position; a position analogous to that of the head.
The top, upper, or principal part or end of something. (In the case of physical objects typically differentiated from the rest of the object by projecting or by having a distinctive shape.)
With reference to plants and fungi.
b. The rounded leafy top of a tree or shrub.
a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden
(St. John's Cambr.)
II. 61 (MED)
Schroysbury is a citee..isette vppon þe coppe of an hill..Britouns cleped hit somtyme Pengwern, þat is þe heed of a faire [?a1475 anon. tr. firre; L. abietis] tree.
?1523 J. Fitzherbert f. xliii
And euery boughe woll haue a newe heed.
a1599 Spenser Canto Mutabilitie vii. viii, in
Most dainty trees; that..Seeme to bow their bloosming heads full lowe.
1676 M. Cook xxxv. 119
If a Tree be blasted in part, or the whole head, cut all that is blasted or dead close off to the Quick, and take out all dead boughs.
1712 J. James tr. A.-J. Dézallier d'Argenville 157
Your Trees..should be cut..by taking off their Heads.
1794 W. Cowper 11
Oaks..that had once a head.
1861 A. Pratt V. 80
A large tree..with a bushy head.
1917 J. E. Rogers 78
The wind breaks the branches, destroys the symmetry of the tree's head.
2007 M. J. McGroarty 21
These multiple buds will form the head of the tree, and you need to prune them.
c. The rounded seed pod of various plants, esp. a poppy. Cf. .
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
II. xvii. cxxviii. 1023
Popy..haue grete hedes as a pomgarnat and þerinne is the seed yclosed.
1649 N. Culpeper 112
Take the heads of white Poppies and black, when both of them are green, of each six ounces.
Lychnis's, Poppies, Antirrhinum's, and many others have their seeds in heads, which when ripe, are open at top.
1798 16 374
A small Instrument..used by the Natives of Hindoostan for scarifying the Heads of Poppies.
1831 G. Don I. 131/2
From the white-seeded variety [of poppy]..opium is obtained from the heads by incision and sometimes by expression.
1907 7 Sept. 836/1
White poppy is the one richest in opium, and women and children are set to work gathering the heads.
2010 J. Wright 35
If necessary leave them a few days to ripen and when the heads rattle with their seeds turn them upside down and shake.
d. The (usually stalked) seed-containing structure of a cereal plant, as an ear of wheat, oats, etc., or a cob of maize.
1565 J. Sparke in
The head of mayis.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics i, in tr. Virgil 62
Bearded Grain: While yet the Head is green.
1725 R. Bradley 106
The..Hexastichum of Columella..grows like the former, both in Stalk and Ears, only differing in having..more Rows of Grains upon one Head.
1784 J. F. D. Smyth I. xxxviii. 195
The male flowers..appear something like to the heads or ears of rice.
1822 Jan. 23/1
The top of each head of corn was bare of seeds.
1898 Nov. 316
Wheats do not readily cross-fertilise, but the best and largest heads should be selected year after year, and be cultivated separately.
1914 H. F. Macmillan
The unripe tender heads or cobs are..considered by most persons a delicious vegetable.
1947 24 Oct. 398/1
The oats produce heads, but instead of ripening to a normal yellow color, these heads tend to have a whitish-green color, and very little grain is produced.
2011 D. Chapman 50/1
The statuesque, shapely nodding heads of barley.
e. The compact round or conical mass of leaves characteristic of certain types of cabbage, lettuce, etc.; (also) the closely packed overlapping leaf stalks of the celery plant and similar vegetables.
1577 B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach ii. f. 56
The great Cabbedge, with brode leaues and a great head.
1620 T. Venner vii. 135
The great, hard, and compacted heads of Cole, commonly called Cabbage.
1693 J. Evelyn tr. J. de La Quintinie Reflect. Agric. xiii. 59 in
Onions are formed within the ground almost after the same manner as the Heads of Cabbages and Lettuces are on the surface of it.
1736 C. Carter
Put in a Head of Celery, and some Parsly Roots. Boil it very tender about an hour.
1786 J. Abercrombie 39
Borecole..is of the cabbage or colewort tribe, with a large curly-leaved open head, and tall stem.
1824 J. C. Loudon
ii. iv. 439
Preserving heads or leaves of vegetables is effected in cellars or sheds.
1885 25 Apr. 14/2
Retail prices:—..celery, 2d. to 6d. per head.
1949 L. P. DeGouy iv. 146
Shred 1 medium-sized head of fresh green cabbage.
2009 M. Bittman 168
Core and thinly slice a head of fennel.
f. Any of various kinds of compound inflorescence, as the mass of closely packed flower buds in cauliflower or broccoli, or a dense cluster of flowers arranged in a corymb, umbel, etc.; = .
1597 J. Gerard ii. xxxvi. 246
Cole Florie, or after some Colieflorie, hath many large leaues sleightly endented about the edges,..in the middest of which leaues riseth vp a great white head of hard flowers closely thrust togither.
1652 N. Culpeper
At the tops hereof [sc. stalks of scabious] which are naked and bare of Leaves for a good space, stand round Heads of Flowers, of a pale blewish colour set together in a head.
1704 J. Harris I
Capitulum, in Botanicks, is the Head or Flowring Top of any Plant, being composed of many Flowers and Threads (or Stamina) closely connected in a Globous, Circular or Discous Figure.
1785 T. Martyn tr. J.-J. Rousseau vi. 70
An aggregate or capitate flower, or a head of flowers.
1830 J. Marcet xxxi. 344
The head of a cauliflower has..much the appearance of a blossom, but it consists only of numerous ramifications of the peduncles.
1880 A. Gray v. 147
A Head or Capitulum is a globular cluster of sessile flowers, like those of Red Clover.
1915 H. H. Thomas 457
The flat heads of flowers are a pretty pink shade.
1975 18 Jan. 11/1
Trim the cauliflower and if a whole head is used, cut into medium sized sprigs.
2001 C. Whitehead i. 69
The pliable tang of overcooked heads of broccoli.
2004 S. Morhardt & E. Morhardt 29
Asteraceae members have tiny specialized flowers in a tight cluster called a head that usually resembles a single flower.
g. Any of various rounded non-floral structures of a plant or fungus, as the rounded root of a vegetable, the cap or pileus of a fungus, or the rounded end of a trichome (cf. ); = , .
1665 R. Hooke 128
Resembling the head of a mushroom.
1714 J. Gay vi. 56
How turnips hide their swelling heads below, And how the closing coleworts upwards grow.
1834 1 63
The manner in which the stamens are spread out renders them incapable, without some assistance, of casting their pollen on the head of the stigma.
1928 27 265
The greater portion of the inner wall is supplied with trichomes in which the head is divided into four cells.
1964 26 101/1
In those mosses where the sexes are separated, the antheridia often occur in great numbers in flat-topped flower-like heads.
1985 79 1029/2
Brushing removed the vast majority of heads from trichomes but apparently left most of the stalk cells intact.
h. A flower, esp. one growing at the end of a stem.See also .
Pendulous-heads, thus Botanists call those Flowers that hang downwards, the Stalk not being able to stand upright.
1787 H. Blair
I. xvii. 439
Such are the Similies of a hero to a lion, of a person in sorrow to a flower drooping its head.
1842 Aug. 189
Fuchsira corymbiflora, six feet high, with numerous pendant heads of its splendid flowers, produced a brilliant show.
1889 R. Broughton v. 36
How much pleasanter to be out of doors, tweaking off dead rose heads.
1902 19 Apr. 254/1
S[axifraga] apiculata is just now at its best, looking very bright with its pale sulphur-coloured heads of flower.
1970 D. Tangye iv. 44
The daffodil is now picked as soon as the head has dropped.
14 July 7
Deadhead bush roses to prolong flowering. Remove heads along with a short piece of stem.
b. Mining. In a stamp mill: a block, typically of iron, for crushing ore; each of a number of such blocks which together form the battery (); = .Recorded earliest in .
1758 W. Borlase 178
The lifters..are armed at the bottom with large masses of iron..called Stamp-heads.
1848 II. ii. 678
In the newest erected set, the ‘head’ of cast-iron, weighs 260 to 280 lbs.
1896 11 Mar. 11/5
The new ten heads are running well, but the old 10-head mill has been giving trouble.
1946 V. N. Wood viii. 221
Mottled and white irons..find application for articles where resistance to abrasion is the primary factor, as in chilled rolls, plough shares, crusher heads, grinding balls [etc.].
1954 xviii. 794
A ten-head battery is situated on the Maranboy tin-field and crushes ore for all parties.
2011 S. Lawrence & P. Davies vii. 155
The Garfield waterwheel..drove a 15-head stamp battery.
c. A part of a machine that contains a (detachable) tool or device for performing a particular action, as cutting, grinding, etc.; the tool or device itself. Frequently with preceding modifying word.cutter-, grooving-, micrometer, shower head, etc.: see the first element.
The division answering to the index on the head of the micrometer was carefully noted.
1856 3rd Ser. 31 282
The rotating head of the machine..had but a single cutter to each moulding, and the dividing saw tooth.
1874 Nov. 246/1
Matchers, with two driving-pulleys, upper and lower feed-rolls, with tonguing and grooving heads.
(Anglo-Iranian Oil Co.)
The hole is drilled by the rotating action of a cutting head.
1951 F. Whiteley ii. 23
A spiral milling attachment or universal milling head is also necessary to obtain the required angular movement of the cutter.
1991 Sept. 28/1
Model E3W2 consists of a light source, a sensing head, and a compact controller.
d. The forward end of a shell, torpedo, or similar projectile; the part of a missile containing the explosive or otherwise harmful material. Cf. .
1853 12 Feb. 123
The inventor has improved upon it by extending the cavity a towards the nipple c, into the head of the shell.
1898 F. T. Jane 19
The explosive head (war head)..is only fitted when the torpedo is to be used in earnest: for practice, a collapsible head is fitted.
1900 12 May 1156
With regard to the head of the bullet, the..type which offers..least resistance is that known as ogival.
1917 July 82/1
The head of the projectile continues in advance, followed by the diaphragm, powder tube, etc., and the spread of scattering shrapnel.
1982 Oct. 78/1
A sensor in the head of the missile detects laser light reflected off the target.
The victims are understood to have picked up the unexploded missile head and were playing with it when it exploded.
e. The flammable mass forming the tip of a match; = .
1856 Patent 10 Oct. in
The use of flour paste to cause the materials of which the head of the match is composed to adhere to the splint of wood.
1900 16 June 424/2
Matches of this type readily ignite when the heads are picked with the point of a knife.
1937 Dec. (Advertising section) 38/1
A newly patented match package has an inner flap which covers the heads of the matches.
1978 R. H. Stone & D. W. H. Tripp
The original substances, both in the head of the match and on the side of the box, contain potential energy in chemical form.
2003 E. B. Basilici v. 24
He..fumbled a match out of the box on the shelf. He scraped the head against the iron stove and cupped the light.
(a) In playing or making a gramophone record: a component for converting the physical motion of a stylus into variations in an electrical signal, and vice versa; spec. such a component mounted at the end of a record player's pickup arm.
1931 Feb. 139/1
The weight of the pick-up head you are using.
1962 L. Deighton xxvii. 172
He laid a huge shiny L.P. on the..turntable and delicately applied the diamond head.
1973 12 Oct. (Colour Suppl.) 29/2
The recording head that drives the cutting stylus.
2010 W. Newton
As I entered he lifted the head off the record.
(b) In an audio, video, or computer system: a component for converting variations in an electrical signal into variations in magnetization or some other property, and vice versa, allowing recording to or reading from a storage medium. Frequently with preceding modifying word.erase, record, tape head, etc.: see the first element.
1948 C. Chu in III. xxvii. 6
The dimensions of the elementary magnets recorded on the medium..also depend on the crosswise length of the gap of the head.
1964 F. L. Westwater
Each track must have its read/write head.
1983 18 Aug. 34/3
Now you can get a music centre with two audio-cassette heads to facilitate the copying of cassettes as well as discs.
There are two separate heads in a hard drive head assembly for reading and writing data.
b. The position at a table (usually at one end) occupied by the person presiding over a meal or other event, or by the person regarded as most honoured or important. Also (with no reference to the status of the occupant): the position at the end of a table. Cf. senses , . See also .
xx. 322 (MED)
The thre kynges and Merlin satte to-geder at the hede of the deyse.
1604 J. Fraser 176
We perceaued an honest man..sitting at the head of the table.
1656 P. Heylyn 340
[He] placed him at the head of the board, above all the Ministers.
1745 E. Haywood III. 32
Tho' Eudosia kept her Place at the Head of the Table, yet nothing was served up to it but what was ordered by Laconia.
1786 F. Burney 17 July
I was offered the seat..at the head of the table.
The Duke of York gave the toast; it was announced from the head of the table by a flourish of trumpets.
1877 M. Leathes Manor House Stories in ii. 201
The four little ones were ranged round the table with Susan at the head.
1928 P. O'Donnell v. 32
He could make out Susan at the head of the table winding a cut of yarn.
1951 S. H. Bell ii. xii. 171
The young Andrew sat at the head of the table in his grandfather's great rope-bottomed chair.
2000 H. Simpson
There was William at the head, well into the next bottle, blearily inaccessible.
2007 M. Richards 19
During her long visits, my mother would give up to her mother-in-law the place she shared with my father at the head of the table.
The upper or principal extremity of various things, esp. when projecting, distinct, removable, or of some special shape.
b. The rounded, knobbed, or flattened end of a pin, nail, screw, or bolt, opposite to the point.to hit the nail on the head: see ; how many angels can dance on the head of a pin: see .
c1300 St. Francis
l. 396 in C. Horstmann
Þe nailes weren blake i-nouȝ, þe hauedene rounde and grete.
Set the fix point of thy compas..in the hed of the nail.
a1472 in J. J. Wilkinson
Item for nailis with v strok hedes ij s.
1535 in H. M. Paton
iic xlviii of gret tynnit nalis with schorne hedis.
1542–3 c. 6
Pinnes..such as..haue the heads soudered fast to the shanke.
1644 J. Winthrop
It struck against the head of a bolt in the cut-water of the Dartmouth ship, and went no further.
1679 J. Moxon I. ix. 163
That the Head of the Rivet be on the outside.
1733 J. Tull xxii. 153
This Holding-Screw has a pretty broad Head.
1774 O. Goldsmith VII. 153
Little protuberances..as large as a pin's head.
1826 Sept. 184
A pinion is fixed on the head of the screw, which turns round a toothed wheel.
1879 W. Thomson & P. G. Tait
I: Pt. i. §424
Measured by means of a divided head fixed perpendicularly to the screw at one end.
1909 22 6
The travellers were compelled to cross very stony basalt country, which..wrenched the heads off the horse-shoe nails.
1997 Oct. 36/2
Drill a pilot hole for the screw thread..and add a countersink for the head if you're using a countersunk screw.
2007 C. Gloman & R. Napoli iii. 84
Finish hammers..have a claw-shaped peen to grab the head of an errant nail and yank it out.
†c. The nipple of a breast. Obsolete.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
II. xix. lxiii. 1325
Some women haue mylk oonliche in þe heed [L. cono] of þe tete.
Papilla, an hed of a pappe.
1615 H. Crooke 710
When an Infant is layde to the breast, hee suddenly with a kinde of Naturall force laps his tongue about the head of the breast.
1672 G. Sinclair 179
The Air that guardeth the head of the Pap is removed, and so the Air, that presseth the parts about, and without, squeezes out the milk.
d. The rounded part forming the end of the penis; the glans. In later use also: the corresponding part of the clitoris.
a1400 tr. Lanfranc
Ficus, þat is superfluyte þat growen vp on þe skyn of þe pintils hede wiþoute.
a1593 Marlowe tr. Ovid Elegies in J. Davies & Marlowe
She..vsde all speech that might prouoke and stirre, Yet..It mocked me, hung downe the head and sunke.
1693 T. Urquhart & P. A. Motteux tr. Rabelais xviii. 151
They [sc. women] did begin to flay the Man..at that Member;..yet have they not of that small part alone flayed any more till this hour but the Head.
[My] fingers sought the inflamed head of my exercised member.
1801 R. Hooper
It [sc. the penis] is divided by anatomists into the root, body, and head.
1880 ‘Lady Pokingham’ in Apr. 123
I took that long prick in my hands,..whilst I just titillated the ruby head with my tongue.
He got on top of her then placed the head of his champion between the lips of her monkey.
1975 B. Benderson v. 89
Holding my cock in his fist, he rubbed the head around his asshole.
1990 J. M. Reinisch & R. Beasley
Contrary to popular myth, the head of the clitoris is not some type of ‘magic button’ for all women.
2011 ii. 19/2
The head is covered by a sheath of skin called the foreskin.
e. Anatomy. The end of a muscle that remains relatively stationary when the muscle contracts; (also) each of two or more parts into which this end of certain muscles is divided; = . Cf. .
?a1425 tr. Guy de Chauliac
(N.Y. Acad. Med.)
f. 52 (MED)
Wondez..made in þe heuedez [L. capitibus] of þe musculez wher þe neruez beþ ynoȝ nakened..ar mortale.
1597 P. Lowe vi. iv. sig. T3
Contusion happeneth in the fleshie partes, and attrition is done in the head and ende of the muscles.
1694 W. Salmon tr. Y. van Diemerbroeck
These two Kidneys are seated behind the Ventricle and Guts,..at the head of the Psoa Muscle.
1750 S. Sharp 56
In both sexes it lies between the two anterior Heads of the Triceps Femoris.
1877 I. Rosenthal
The ends are spoken of as the head and tail, of the muscle.
1922 23 219
The muscle is much larger than in the left foot, especially its transverse head.
2003 Jan. 35/2
To fully develop and attain bolder shoulders, you must learn the art and science of training the three main heads of the deltoid muscles.
f. Chemistry. In an alembic: the upper part or cover of the cucurbit (), where the vapour condenses to a liquid; the part of any apparatus for distillation where condensation occurs. See also
A distillatorie of glas..wiþ an hoole a-boue in þe heed, where þe watir schal be putt yn.
1594 H. Plat Diuers Chimicall Concl. Distillation 3 in
Let the bucket, or cooler in the head containe as much more colde water, as our ordinarie Limbecks doe.
1660 R. Boyle xxii. 176
We see in the Heads of Stills..how quickly such vapors are even by a very little cold recondensed into Water.
1730 P. Shaw tr. G. E. Stahl 153
The Operation..is most commodiously perform'd in an Iron Cucurbit, with an alembic-head, and Pipe.
1758 A. Reid tr. P. J. Macquer I. ii. §́1. 230
Fill therewith a crucible..heat it till it melts: then set it on fire, and when its whole surface is lighted place it under a large glass head.
1806 W. Henry
i. i. 7
An alembic..consists of two parts; the body..and the head.
1827 J. Story III. 1570
Twenty-three cents for each gallon of the capacity of every such still, including the head thereof.
1920 Sept. 207
The vapors are condensed in the head of the alembic.
1949 G. R. Fessenden ii. 33
This apparatus should include a three-neck flask.., a short vertical column packed with glass beads, and distilling head.
1960 F. G. Mann & B. C. Saunders
Use a ground-glass flask..with a distillation-head.
2009 B. Owens & A. Dikty ii. 34
Artisan pot still: the shape of the helmet ‘head’ of the still influences the flavor of the distillate.
g. The (distinct) upper part of a pillar or column; the capital (). See also .
a1500 Gloss. John of Garland in T. Wright
Epistilium, the hede of the pyler.
1539 2 Chron. iii. f. lxxxvi/2
He made chaynes of wrethen worke for the quere, and put them on the heedes of the pyllers.
1552 R. Huloet
Heade or chapiter of a pyller.
1560 Exod. xxvii. 11
The heades of ye pillers and the filets shalbe siluer.
1611 E. Aston tr. J. Boemus ii. i. 58
The porches and galleries also bee vnderpropped with great pillars, the heads whereof are siluer and gold.
1651 P. Armin tr. F. Glisson et al. xiii. 122
If therfore you shal fasten in a wedge on the right side between the stones AB through the line FD, the Head of the Pillar; Namely, the stone A will of necessity be bended towards D.
1778 G. Baretti
The scroll on the head of the column of the Ionic order.
1818 M. Vasi v. 269
Three thick fluted marble pillars, with Corinthian heads.
1907 30 Nov. 783/2
This hall of plain panels, with the Corinthian heads of its pilasters for all ornament.
2003 R. Taylor 30
Doric columns tend to be plain, with simple rounded heads, or capitals.
h. The membrane or piece of skin stretched over a drum, forming the surface struck by the drumsticks or hands; = .
1567 A. Golding tr. Ovid
xii. f. 155
As a man should pat Small stones vppon a dromslets head [L. tympana].
1607 J. Marston iv. sig. F2
His face lookes like the head of a taber.
1622 tr. 35
Three Spaniards playing at Dice vpon the head of a Drumme.
1691 J. Ray 185
A Membrane..stretched like the head of a Drum.
1752 No. 3. 91
I..caper'd like a parch'd-pea upon the head of a kettle-drum.
1841 24 July
One of the horses, plunging at the crowd, sent its fore-feet into the head of our big drum.
1929 E. A. Powell x. 197
There are huge bowl-shaped drums, as high as a man, with heads of tightly stretched leather.
1996 G. Nicholls in P. Trynka 92/1
1960s session giant Hal Blaine kept the calf skin head on his kick drum throughout most of his career.
i. On a lute, violin, or similar stringed instrument: the part above the neck (), on which the tuning pegs are mounted.In some instruments, notably viols, this may be carved in the likeness of a (sometimes grotesque) human head.
1595 A. Copley vi. 183
One seeing an other thrust out his head..said, it was like the head of a Gittern.
1603 T. Robinson sig. Bij
The first string or Treble, stopped in the first fret, by the head of the Lute with the forefinger.
1611 R. Cotgrave
Ioug,..the head of a Lute, Violl, etc.
1682 T. Shadwell ii. 22
Thy Face, I never saw so deform'd a thing on the head of an old Lyra violl.
1748 T. Smollett I. xix. 160
Grinning like the head of a bass viol.
1784 Mar. 180/2
This constant grin is no more the indication of true mirth in the Frenchman, than it is in the head of a bass viol.
1836 Sept. 175
Giving to the head of the Spanish guitar the lyre form..in place of the common head heretofore used.
1879 G. Grove I. 524/2
Its [sc. a fingerboard's] width is about 1 inch nearest to the head of the violin and 1¾ inch at the bridge-end.
1905 May 77/2
She..designed the scroll of the violin head.
1966 A. C. Baines 46
The head is of guitar type, with rear pegs.
2002 Mar. 84
The fingerboard and turned head [of the mandolin] are inlaid with gold mother-of-pearl.
j. Astronomy. The part of a comet comprising the nucleus and coma (), as distinguished from the tail; (also) the nucleus itself.
1619 J. Bainbridge 10
That the Comets taile is nothing else but an irradiation of the Sunne through the pellucide head of the Comet.
1675 E. Sherburne in tr. M. Manilius App. 192
He likewise conceives the Head of a Comet to consist of divers minute Bodies Homogenial.
1728 E. Chambers at Comet
Their Tail is a very thin, slender Vapour, emitted by the Head, or Nucleus of the Comet.
Its tail passed directly over ε Orionis and might be traced about as far beyond it, as that star was from the head of the comet.
1868 J. N. Lockyer §291
The brighter part of the comet is called the head, or coma, and sometimes the head contains a brighter portion still, called the nucleus.
1898 Apr. 8572
Cassini's observation was of a comet, the head of which was not visible to him.
1929 Sept. 49/1
Jets of gas are shot from the comet's head and go to form the tail.
2011 T. Koupelis x. 288
The tail of a comet does not necessarily follow the head through space.
†k. A swollen end or bulb at one end of a glass tube. Cf. . Obsolete.
1664 H. Power ii. 120
Take a long Tube, with a Head like a Weather-Glass, onely open at both ends.
1665 R. Hooke Pref. sig. Cv
I prepare a pretty capaceous Bolt-head..with a small stem about two foot and a half long..and then fit the whole..that almost half the head..may lye buried in a concave Hemisphere cut into the Board.
l. The thick end of a chisel or wedge, opposite the edge or point.
1678 J. Moxon I. ii. 17
With the Hand Hammer in your right hand strike upon the head of the cold Chissel.
1721 R. Wodrow I. ii. xiii. 513
He gave Nine Strokes upon the Head of the Wedge.
1734 J. T. Desaguliers I. iii. 110
Experience shews, that a Blow upon the Head of a Wedge, makes it enter easily into a hard Body.
Here the wedge is seen to taper from a thick end or head..to a thin edge or point.
1890 13 Sept. 402/2
The hammer..slipped from the head of the chisel, and he received a sharp blow on the thumb of his left hand.
1916 27 May 762/1
Sledge blows on the head of the wedge serve to give the desired friction between the wedge and the yoke.
2008 R. Underhill ii. 20
The intent is to keep the mallet face square to the chisel head at the end of the stroke.
m. Music. In musical notation: that part of a note which determines its position on the stave, as distinct from the stem or tail.In modern notation the head is round or oval, whereas formerly it was often rectangular or diamond-shaped.
1724 W. Turner 16
The Second [Note] is called a Crotchet; marked like the Minim with the Head filled up.
The ledger or occasional lines, drawn through the heads of the notes.
1803 A. Gunn 24
The Crotchet is a black head with a stem.
1876 J. Troutbeck & R. F. Dale
Quaver ♪, a note with a close or black head, and a stem with one hook.
1914 K. W. Gehrkens v. 18
A tie is a curved line connecting the heads of two notes that call for the same tone.
1960 E. Bodky viii. 245
The musical line is organized in such a way that a line drawn through the heads of the notes ascends and then descends.
2009 H. Bauer ii. 17
Staccato is normally indicated..by placing a small dot above or below the head of the note, on the opposite side from the stem.
n. A (folding) cover or canopy for a carriage or (in later use) motor vehicle, usually one which forms a permanent part of the vehicle rather than being detachable. Cf. .
1768 5 Mar.
A neat exceeding good crane-neck phaeton, with a head and harness for two horses.
1791 J. Purbeck II. vii. 103
He threw back the head of the phaeton, which had been put up to keep him from the rain.
1851 v. 174
A ‘bogy’—a gig with a head but no back.
1860 Mrs. H. Wood East Lynne in July 283
The head was down to-day, but it was found convenient in rainy weather.
1904 A. B. F. Young
iv. Plate facing p. 103
Lanchester touring car, with detachable brougham head.
An open-type motor-car body of the kind having a head, with a flexible covering, which can be folded to lie in a stowage compartment.
1987 Spring 25/4
Both the front and rear heads (or hoods) fold right down, enabling the occupants to be seen clearly.
o. Bookbinding. The upper edge of a book or page. Cf. , ; cf. also earlier .
1818 H. Parry 2
Kettle-stitch, the stitch at head and foot of the book, independent of the bands, to tack or fasten the sheets together.
1835 ‘J. A. Arnett’ 26
The book is now taken between the hands and well beaten up at the back and head on a smooth board, to bring the sheets level and square.
1876 IV. 43/1
The object of the binder in this operation is to make every page of uniform size, presenting a smooth and equal ‘head’, ‘tail’, and ‘fore-edge’.
1930 No. 134. 26/1
Folio, old sheep (roughly repaired at head and heel).
2011 J. Stein 24
Stand the text block on its fore edge with the head facing you.
p. On the bow of a stringed instrument: that part of the tip or point () which separates the hair from the stick. Also occasionally: the point itself.
?1820 J. Paine i. 10
What part of the bow shall I begin from? Within two inches of the head of the bow.
1848 J. Bishop tr. J. A. Otto App. 50
The bow consists of the stick, into the upper part of which, called the head, one end of the hair is fastened.
1879 G. Grove I. 265/1
The hair..is inserted in the head..and the nut of the bow.
1965 D. Bowden 46
This difficulty was settled..by making a ‘head’ which held the hair away from the bow stick at the point.
1975 10 July 105/2
The maximum weakness is..the point or head of the bow.
2008 E. Klein i. 52
It's an inexpensive fix that will save the head of the bow.
q. Mechanics. A plate or structure closing the end of a cylinder in an engine; spec. (in an internal combustion engine) a piece that sits on top of some or all of the cylinders, against which the pistons compress their contents for combustion. See also .
1824 31 July 491/2
The pressure of the air on the piston-head again forces it down on the head of the cylinder.
1829 16 317
Heads are put upon the outer cylinder, secured to it by flanches.
1904 A. B. F. Young iv. 111
The body of the cylinder proper is a cast-iron liner... The head—containing the vertical valves and ignition-plug—is a separate casting.
(U.S. Dept. Army)
Communicating passages permit the coolant to circulate around the cylinders and through the head.
1965 P. H. Smith xiii. 258
On air-cooled engines, non-detachable heads are generally confined..to the simplest and cheapest industrial engines.
2006 June 38/1
The surface for the cam cover and the head surface itself are..counter-bored for the valve guides and seats.
b. The cream which accumulates on the top of milk. Cf. . Now rare.
1684 S. Pordage tr. T. Willis Of Feavers in
The flowering or head of the Milk [L. flori lactis].
1775 J. Ash
Cream, the head of milk, the oily part of milk.
1796 2 Suppl. 935/2
Loaronon, cheese, head of milk.
1848 9 ii. 480
The extent of surface in the large milk-pans produces a large ‘head’ of cream.
1888 F. T. Elworthy (at cited word)
In reply to an application for milk in the forenoon, a farmer's wife's usual reply is—I ont break my head vor nobody—meaning that now the head or cream has begun to rise, I will not disturb it.
1917 1 297
The layer of the cream in the pan is crinkled, and appears as a ‘blanket’ or ‘head’ of cream on the surface of the milk.
1988 L. R. Lind tr. G. Zerbi xxvii. 186
That part of milk which the shepherds call the head of the milk..the famous Latin physicians call cream.
The front or leading part or end of something.
a. Originally: a ship's figurehead. Later also: those components of a ship which are fitted forward of the stem, or of the main body of the bows, regarded collectively, including the figurehead, rails, and the knee of the head (see ). Now hist.
Wearþ Griffin kync ofslangen [read ofslagen]..& man brohte his eafod to Harolde eorle, & Harold hit þam kynge brohte, & his scipes heafod & þa bone þermid [L. caputque nauis ipsius cum ornatura].
1653 in C. T. Atkinson
The Assurance hath lost her head and bowsprit. She is now upon the ground tallowing and the head building.
1676 No. 1130/4
A square stern'd Sloop with a Deck, a small Head, and the Figure of a Cat thereon.
1703 No. 3968/1
The Privateer..carried away her Head and Boltsprit.
1711 W. Sutherland 161
Head of a Ship, that part which is fasten'd to the Bow or foremost part of the Ship without-board.
1804 A. Duncan Pref. 19
A Head is an ornamental figure erected on the continuation of a ship's stem.
1850 J. Greenwood 123
Head..particularly applied to all the work fitted afore the stem, as the figure, the knee, rails, etc.
1867 W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher
Head,..in a confined sense that part on each side of the stem outside the bows proper which is appropriated to the use of the sailors for wringing swabs, or any wet jobs.
1902 J. Hall 201
Something to merely illustrate Norse work; for instance, a carved ship's-head, or a copper shield, or a wrought door-nail.
1909 Sept. 186
Half Moon [sc. a ship], showing the head and bowsprit.
1977 J. T. Noonan ii. 26
An hermaphrodite brig painted black,..no head, a bowsprit without elevation, sails which were old and patched.
2007 G. de L. Marshall 5
‘Shield and scroll’ is a not uncommon designation for a ship's head on some registers.
b. More generally: the front or front part of a ship, boat, or other vessel; the bows.Recorded earliest in .
1485 in M. Oppenheim
Sheves of Iren in the bote Hede.
1568 T. Hacket tr. A. Thevet xxii. f. 35
Costing the Ile of S. Laurence, guiding the head of the ship to Weast or Southweast.
1627 J. Smith ix. 41
Put the Helme a weather, and it will bring her head where her sterne is.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis vi, in tr. Virgil 362
They turn their Heads to Sea; their Sterns to Land.
1795 Ld. Nelson in
VII. p. xxx
We are getting on very fast with our caulking; our head is secured.
1836 M. Scott vi. 97
We were riding with our head up the river.
1849 G. Grote V. ii. xxxviii. 24
They were moored by anchors head and stern.
1902 J. Masefield in Apr. 530
Her masts were gone, 'n' afore you knowed She filled by the head 'n' down she goed.
1984 P. O'Brian
Then, the ship's people being sickly, they turned her head south.
1996 3 Feb. 23/8
The ship's head was paying off the whole time, making it extremely dangerous for the lifeboat.
(a) Nautical. An on-board toilet, originally one situated in the bows. Also in plural in same sense.
1712 W. Rogers 34
He begg'd to go into the Head to ease himself.
1748 T. Smollett I. xxviii. 253
The madman..took an opportunity, while the centinel attended him at the head, to leap over-board.
1826 W. N. Glascock II. 28
None o' your long-winded lawyers, like Paddy Quin the sweeper, or Collins the ‘captain o' the head’.
We have the ship's ‘heads’ forward on both sides of the gun-deck.
1938 ‘C. S. Forester’ 21
You'll clean out the heads of this ship every day.
1958 W. King 42
Each visit to the heads [in a submarine] entails an important sequence of valve operations.
2004 C. Montgomery 215
The floor was a slippery paste of oil, spit, crushed insects, and a disturbing slurry that seeped from the ship's head.
(b) U.S. colloq. A lavatory.
(U.S. House of Representatives, 66th Congr., 1st & 2nd Sess., Serial 4)
You..called the sentry and asked him for what you wanted—if you wanted to go to the ‘head’, or anything.
1947 T. Williams iii. 59
I'm going to the ‘head’. Deal me out.
1980 P. McHugh ix. 163
He had to go to the head pretty bad.
2001 R. Russo xxi. 332
When you spun off your stool to go to the head, you were liable to spill the beer of the man standing behind you.
(a) The front of an army, procession, or the like; the vanguard.
Þer com Iulius teon. forn aȝæien heore hæued [c1300 Otho heued].
And þis warde..is þe heed warde of þe legioun, and þis is þe firste warde þat is ordeyned as hede of al þe legioun when þe bataille schal begynne.
Schyr Edwardis cumpany Set stoutly in ye heid agayne.
1588 E. Aggas tr. F. de La Noue xviii. 201
The last ranckes..are sooner amazed then they that be at the head and in all the daunger.
1597 H. M. tr. J. Du Bec-Crispin 112
The Prince had not seene [him] in eight dayes, because he ledde the head of the armie.
1607 E. Grimeston tr. J. de Serres in tr. ii. 700
The foure commaunders march euery one in the head of his troupe.
1676 tr. G. Guillet de Saint-Georges iv. 396
At the head of the Procession were ten Trumpets, and as many Bag-pipes playing and sounding before him.
1709 J. Addison No. 100. 2/1
She had so ordered it, that Men of the greatest Genius and the strongest Sense were placed at the Head of the Column.
If gradual and inconsiderable changes of direction are to be made during the march of the column, the head will, on a moveable pivot, effect such change.
1838 2 Aug. 304/1
At precisely half past ten o'clock, the head of the procession debouched from Pall-mall towards Charing-cross.
1863 A. W. Kinglake I. xiv. 261
The head of the vast column of troops.
1908 Mar. 324/2
The herdsman who rides at the head of a straggling herd of cattle on the march.
1986 E. Amadi v. 76
The head of the..procession turned right.
1996 N. Maraire iv. 56
By the time we reached the hut, we were a full procession. At the head was Chipo.
(b) The front of a queue; the person, vehicle, etc., in this position. Also fig.
1852 3 Mar. 2/1
The elector at the head of the queue, which is formed to prevent confusion, delivers the card which attests his identity.
1928 Nov. 12/1
The instructor sent the head of the line over the jump.
1950 29 July 8/8
Another truck came along and rammed into the back truck.., which in turn banged into the car at the head of the line.
1996 J. E. Harrigan & P. R. Neel iv. 106
We must be at the head of the line when we compete for contracts; that is, we want clients to come to us first.
17 Jan. 2
At the queue's head, among the radio microphones and reporters' notebooks, fans mixed shivers with soundbites.
b. Chiefly Military. The front, outer, or projecting part of a fortification, encampment, etc.
1684 tr. J. Donneau de Visé 36
[He] caused himself to be carried to the Head of the Trenches [Fr. la Teste de la Tranchée], that he might there be nearer at hand to give his Orders.
1694 E. D'Auvergne 88
Our Cannon and Mortars began to play with more force from all our Batteries; that of St. Leonard fired perpendicular upon the Head of the Fort Picard.
1728 E. Chambers (at cited word)
Head of the Camp, is the Front, or fore-most Part of the Ground, an Army is incamped on; or that which advances most towards the Campaign, Field, or the Enemy.
1780 at Retirade
After the first defence is ruined, and the besieged are obliged to abandon the head of the work, without quitting it entirely.
1839 9 336
Taking possession of the village of Nizib, and the head of the camp, [they] opened a fire upon the line of fugitives and troops.
1901 H. P. B. Lynch I. i. 21
The point at which you pause is at the head of the fortification, beneath the soaring escarpment of the square tower.
1964 V. S. Naipaul vii. 174
The silver rods which..were displayed in a lighted tent at the head of the camp.
2010 D. Hirst v. 111
The hotels constituted the head of a Phalangist salient that projected deeply into Muslim West Beirut.
a. The front part, or (in earlier use) the share-beam, of a plough; = Cf. .Recorded earliest in
Le chef e le penoun [glossed] the plou-heved [a1425 All Souls hede] and the foot.
(BL Add. 15562)
A plugh hede, dentale.
1613 G. Markham Former Pt. iv. sig. C2v
If your Plough-Irons forbeare and will not bite on the earth at all, then it is a signe that you hang too heauy on the Plough hales, raising the head of the Plough from the ground.
1756 T. Hale et al. vi. xxviii. 293/2
The Length of the additional Coulters, particularly of the fourth, or that next the Head of the Plow, would be a great Inconvenience in this Machine.
1793 J. L. Buchanan vi. 153
The head of this plough is four feet long, with an iron sock, and with a handle of six feet long.
The materials with which ploughs are constructed is, generally, wood for the beam and handles, cast iron for the head.
1890 12 192
The head of the plough is attached to the axle of two wooden wheels, whereby the depth of the furrow is regulated.
1902 H. A. Robertson & J. Fraser vi. 117
The head of the plough, trailing after them, would sometimes bound right up in the air.
1978 A. Fenton xxxviii. 296
The thick, rear end curved downwards, with a mortice..for a piece of wood, the head of the plough, that held the sock.
b. On a saddle: = . See also .
1688 R. Holme iii. iii. 93/2
The Single Head, hath one bow in the middle of the forepart of the tree. The Double Head side Saddle, is with two bows.
1796 4 9
The near side head or horn, of a woman's saddle-tree, is made or constructed to move, fall, or drop down.
1850 S. C. Wayte vi. 166
There are people who say no to the off head being cut off, as if in case a lady is nervous she cannot steady herself so well as when the head is left on.
1891 A. T. Fisher xiii. 117
In some provincial, but nowadays in no well-made London saddles, the head of the saddle is cut back towards the seat.
1963 E. H. Edwards xiv. 96
The head and gullet are strengthened with steel plates and there is also a steel reinforcement laid on to the underside of the tree from the head to the cantle.
1986 Sept. 49/2
The saddle has a cut back head.
2005 C. Paolini
A series of broad ties on either side of the head of the saddle caught Eragon's attention.
†c. On a bicycle or tricycle: the hollow tube enclosing the steering column; the head tube; = . See also . Obsolete.
1881 10 Sept. 396/1
The excessive ‘rake’ imposes a greatly additional strain upon the head, and renders the steering somewhat difficult.
1902 7 82/1
That going from the head to the crank bracket is made duplex.
1904 G. F. Goodchild & C. F. Tweney 282/2
Head (Cycles), the socket or hollow tube through which the tube carrying the front fork runs.
An end or terminal part of something, not necessarily uppermost or foremost in position or importance.
24. Either of the flat ends of a barrel, cask, or similar container, esp. the one regarded as the top.Recorded earliest in .
1390–1 in L. T. Smith
Hans Couper pro barelhedes et pro imposicione eorundem in dictos barellos, v scot.
ii. l. 1212
He let devise..To sette a tonne..Wherof on hed was taken oute.
1428 in J. Raine
He opend ye heued of ye other barell.
(Rawl. B. 173)
vj buttes, the which the hedes were smyt oute of.
1583 T. Stocker tr. iii. f. 84
Upon the head of which barrell was nayled a peece of paper written with these wordes.
1659 T. Willsford 159
The diameter at the bung 30, and at the head or either end 21 inches.
1719 No. 14 153
A crowned B shall be burnt on the Head of each Barrel.
1792 T. Forrest 80
Dowling the planks together, as coopers do the parts that form the head of a cask.
1834 F. Marryat I. ii. 35
I was directed to take the head out of the cask.
1860 E. G. White II. 47
Your theory of faith is as empty as a flour barrel with both heads out.
1951 R. S. Harper xxxi. 276
The head of the keg was knocked in and a train of powder poured to a point near the house.
7 Mar. f8
They start by breaking apart the barrel and removing the metal hoops, separating the heads and pulling apart the staves.
a. An end of a room or building, esp. the end regarded as more important, prestigious, etc. Cf. sense .In quot. : one of the entrances to a mansion.
1420 in J. Raine
At the hall head to the kyrkward, the heirs..sall bryng furthe..thayre water into the foresayd gutter.
At the tother hede of þe halle was..A wondurfull werke.
1685 G. Sinclair Postscript sig. ¶¶6
There being..a Window or shot at the head of the Room, that gave them light.
1703 R. Neve 29
If a Barn consist of a Floor, and 2 Heads, where they lay Corn, they say a Barn of 2 Bays.
1786 J. Pinkerton II. 374
The place at the head of a hall, where the floor was raised higher than the rest, and which was the honourable part.
1887 22 Nov. 13/2
At the head of the Cathedral is the ‘Baptismal Font’.
1896 17 Mar. 298/1
At the head of this chamber there was a kind of altar.
1918 18 May 281/2
Every night after dinner the younger officers gathered about the piano at the head of the darkened hall.
1991 Nov. 72/1
At the head of the room,..the fabled 45.5-carat Hope Diamond.
b. Either end of a bridge. See also .
III. l. 19175 (MED)
And to þe hed of þe brigge they gonnen drawe.
1539 R. Morison tr. Frontinus ii. xiii. sig. Hv
He hym selfe standynge before the head of the brydge, kepte of his ennemies, and at length.
1595 tr. A. Banchieri sig. F2v
Among the ruines of Aquileia..is to be seene part of a most sumptuous Bridge, at the head whereof, stands a huge Asse of very pure marble.
a1661 Earl of Monmouth tr. P. G. Capriata
They..fortified the heads of the Bridge better.
1735 J. Price 4
A House on each Head of the Bridge..to receive the Toll.
1809 tr. I. 148
Whenever rivers are to be crossed, care should be taken that the two heads of the bridge be intrenched, and well furnished with troops.
1842 Macaulay Horatius in 61
As that great host, with measured tread..Rolled slowly towards the bridge's head.
1902 G. S. Whitmore ix. 142
The Europeans..effected the passage of the swamp, the last arriving at the head of the bridge at 4 a.m.
1988 J. Rykwert et al. tr. L. B. Alberti iv. vi. 109
The embanking abutments..must remain completely stable, in order..to support the heads of the bridge.
2008 ‘R. Young’
From the head of the bridge a causeway ran across these boggy fields.
26. Anatomy. A rounded end or articular surface of a bone. Cf. .
?a1425 tr. Guy de Chauliac
(N.Y. Acad. Med.)
f. 9 (MED)
Wt þe flesh & þe ligament þat goþ out fro þe heued [L. a capite] of þe bone of þe spalde it maketh a muscle aboue þe middes of þe adiutorie.
1578 J. Banister i. f. 33
This same head [of thigh bone]..is almost wholly affourmed by an orbicular Appendaunce.
1684 tr. S. Blankaart 80
Cotyle..is the Cavitie of the Huckle-bone, which is appointed to receive the head of the Thigh-bone.
1793 J. Bell i. v. 122
The head of each rib has..a small articulating surface.
1871 T. H. Huxley 155
Head of the hyomandibular which articulates with the skull.
1934 J. A. Thomson & E. J. Holmyard II. 1302
These three bones, ilium, ischium, and pubis, all contribute to make the deep cup or acetabulum in which the globular head of the femur works.
2007 No. 5. 65/2
The hamstrings..insert into the upper end of the tibia bone in your lower leg, with the biceps femoris also inserting into the head of the fibula.
27. Bricklaying. Either of the ends or smaller faces of a brick or other piece of building stone; esp. one exposed in the face of a wall. Cf. .
1791 J. Smeaton ii. i. 43
The long pieces or Stretchers were retained between two Headers or bond pieces; whose heads being cut dovetail-wise, adapted themselves to and confined in the stretchers.
1827 P. Nicholson
The heads of the stones in the wall..form a portion of the concave surface [of the arch].
Headers showing only the narrow part or head of the bricks.
1899 Dec. 441/2
The problem was to round off the corners at the ends, or heads, of the brick.
1919 A. F. Greaves-Walker vii. 71
The head of the brick towards the fire will start shrinking before the head that is away from the fire.
2004 A. Bridgewater & G. Bridgewater 28
The end or head of the brick is centered on the middle of the stretcher in the course below.
That which comes first in a sequence, series, etc.; the beginning.
28. The beginning of a word, sentence, text, etc.
In capite libri scriptum est de me ut faciam uoluntatem tuam : in heafde boec awriten is bi me ðæt ic doe willan ðinne.
Psalms xxxix. 8
In the hed of the boc [L. in capite libri] it is write of me, that I do thi wil.
To do þy wyl, y seyd y go; Yn þe bokes hede hyt ys wryte so.
(Galba & Harl.)
l. 486 (MED)
E. es þe first letter and þe hede Of þe name of Eve.
1567 T. Harding ix. f. 149
The head of the sentence you haue lopped of.
1597 Bp. J. King xxxix. 528
By his placing of it [sc. faith] in the heade of the booke, that is in the beginning of the whole narration.
1613 J. Floyd 47
Looking into the English redition I found, As Razis, insteed of but Razias, and that he made As the head of the name, wherof it is the last part.
1738 W. Benson i. 2
When several Relatives, each at the head of a separate Sentence, are governed by one Antecedent.
1789 tr. I. 396
All the articles..are distinguished only by a capital letter with red ink, which we see at the head of the word that begins the article.
1835 J. Hodgson III. Pref. p. lxi
The dash — at the beginning of entries in this article stands for the name or designation of the proprietor at the head of the paragraph that precedes it.
1902 F. Manley & W. N. Hailmann i. xxxiv. 228
We frequently find a conjunction standing at the head of a sentence or a paragraph, not so much to connect sentences as to show that the thought is continued.
1921 N. L. Redfield & F. d'Olivet i. iii. 101
The initial syllable em..is found at the head of the word em-place-ment.
2011 J. L. Kugel 212
This is not to say..that moving an item from the very end of a sentence to its head never happens.
29. Astrology and (formerly) Astronomy. The beginning of a sign of the zodiac, i.e. the point at which the sun begins to pass through it. See .
i. §17. 9
In this heued of cancer is the grettest declinacioun northward of the sonne.
?1562 W. Ward tr. R. Roussat sig. B.ii
The fyrst Chapter which is the head of Aries, being the fyrst particuler signe celestiall is called Aluathay.
1651 J. F. tr. H. C. Agrippa ii. xxxiii. 286
His beginning is from the head of Aries of the eighth sphere; it causeth discords, and journies.
1703 J. Harris 44
The first Star in the Head of Aries will be rising about an hour after.
1786 B. Hancock ii. 51
The small Star in the head of Aquarius.
1816 Scott II. vi. 157
When she [sc. the moon] is in her fifteenth mansion, which mansion is in de head of Libra.
1915 L. W. de Laurence
The seven last mansions completing the last quarter of Heaven..beginning from the head of Capricorn.
2007 S. Sela tr. A. I. Ezra ii. ii. 187
The end of Virgo is the head of Libra and the end of Taurus is distant from Aries.
30. A chief or principal point or division of a discourse, subject, etc.; each of a set or succession of such points or divisions; (more generally) a point, a category, a topic, a matter.In later use influenced by sense , and frequently understood as referring to something that could constitute a notional heading, esp. when preceded by under.
This gentylman thanne reherced to them fro hed to hed..all thauenture of theire vyage.
1563 f. 31v
Vnto you it alwayes aperteineth (and if euer we meit againe vpon that head, it wilbe yet iudged to aperteine to you) to proue that [etc.].
1593 R. Cosin
iii. xi. 146
This..falleth vnder that head of his Sophisticall deuise of such differences, as touch not the very point in controuersie.
iii. vi. 28
As if they labour'd To bring Man-slaughter into forme, and set Quarrelling Vpon the head of Valour.
1632 J. Story tr. sig. A3
The Contents or principall heads handled in this whole Discourse.
1652 T. Gataker 5
We were acknowledged to agree in those two heds.
1667 N. Fairfax Let. 29 May in H. Oldenburg
The following observations come under ye head of Idiosyncrasis or ye By roads of Nature.
1725 R. Bradley
Pearl, a Disease in an Horse's Eye, under which Head we shall comprehend Pins, Spots, Webs, &c.
1773 O. Goldsmith ii. 29
Make yourself easy on that head.
1838 C. Thirlwall
IV. xxxii. 241
The accusation comprised several heads.
1849 Macaulay I. 306
The expenditure under this head must have been small indeed.
1868 A. Helps II. xv. 212
I have very little to say upon this head.
1911 6 294
In addition to orthographical differences easily recognized as such, I believe that we may also classify the following readings under that head.
1969 I. Berlin
The main issues between my serious critics and myself may be reduced to four heads.
2008 D. Weber
Mahntayl had begun to entertain a few delusions upon that head.
a. Originally: the top of a page or piece of text. Later also: a title or other piece of text placed at the top of a page or section; a heading.Not always clearly distinguishable from sense .
running head: see .
1560 sig. *** iiiiv
We haue set ouer the head of euery page some notable worde or sentence which may greatly further aswel for memorie, as for the chief point of the page.
1586 A. Day To Rdr. sig. **2v
Peruse but the head of euerie page, and..you shall finde what in the same Page is contained.
1610 J. Healey tr. St. Augustine xviii. xxiii. 703
We haue laid it together, distinguishing it onely by the heads of the chapters, if the transcriber haue the care to obserue and follow vs.
1659 T. Willsford 58
Being stated (as in the head of the table).
1682 J. P. tr. H. Ludolf To Rdr.
He..made the heads of the Chapters, the Sections, the Index, and Translated the Ethiopic into Latin.
1712 J. Addison No. 273. ¶2
Without seeing his Name at the Head of it.
1774 T. Warton I. xii. 347
The heads of the chapters are adorned with rude wooden cuts of the story.
1825 1 Oct. 28
Let us take the title of the last chapter of Peter Macculloch's book; I mean the head of the chapter.
1919 M. B. Orvis 31
This command, which is the main head, is printed in red, as is the university signature at the bottom of the poster.
1 May 34
Four of the five letters..run to two pages, start with a head and run second-colour sub-heads through the text.
b. A headline in a newspaper.
1889 T. Campbell-Copeland ii. 12
A careful reporter is soon noticed by the City Editor, who feels..he can put a head on the article and send it straight up to the composing room.
1911 H. S. Harrison xviii. 230
The Chronicle that afternoon shrieked it under a five-column head.
1967 2 Nov. 8/7
‘Ebullient Mr Brown hits out,’ said the (changed) head on the last edition.
2010 E. L. Roberts in R. Schmuhl 119
There is a 3-inch story about Goldsboro under an 18-point head.
a. Phonetics. The first accented element or elements in a sequence of sounds before the nucleus ().
1922 H. E. Palmer v. 17
Any syllable or syllables preceding the nucleus in the same Tone-Group is termed the ‘Head’ of the group.
1964 M. Schubiger in D. Abercrombie et al. 263
I am using the term head for the first stressed element pitched high.
2011 P. Tench xi. 181
It must..be understood that there may be more than two stressed syllables in the head.
b. Grammar. An element that has the same functions as the larger structure (e.g. a phrase or clause) of which it is part, and is therefore regarded as central to that structure. Cf. .
1933 L. Bloomfield xii. 195
Poor John belongs to the same form-class as John, which we accordingly call the head; the other member, in our example poor, is the attribute.
1957 33 86
If a modifier occurs with -tu, its nominal head is masculine, if with -tay, feminine.
1964 39 37
Nice city home... All the ten fine old stone houses. In these sequences the noun is more intimately tied to the head than is the adjective.
1991 R. M. W. Dixon ii. 20
A noun phrase..can have a common noun (e.g. mountain, boy) as head.
2006 G. A. Broadwell xv. 256
In relative clauses, quantifiers and demonstratives associated with the head of the relative clause tend to appear to the right of the verb.
A person or thing holding the senior or most important position; a chief or leader, and related senses.
a. A person to whom others are subordinate; a chief, a ruler, a leader, a commander. In later use also (usually with of): a person in charge of a particular activity or function within an organization.See also , .
eOE King Ælfred tr. Gregory
Ða ic ðe gesette eallum Israhelum to heafde [L. caput te constitui].
Wæs ða ræpling se ðe ær wæs heafod Angelkynnes & Cristendomes.
He wass preost. Hæfedd off alle preostess.
Þet heaued þrof is þe feont.
Vn-wis is þe king..þenne þat hæfd is unwræst þe hælp is þæ wurse.
He let hote..That no man ne scholde for him bidde... Moche was the schame tho, that holi church bitidde, Whan heo ne moste for hire heved [c1300 Laud for so holi a man]..bidde!
c1390 MS Vernon Homilies in
57 263 (MED)
A Bisschop..þat wonede..in Roome, And was hed of cristendome.
Heed of þis Chirche is Crist, boþe God and man.
a1475 J. Fortescue
Thai all haue an hed, or a cheeff, to rule þe counsell.
1532–3 c. 12 Preamble
This Realme of Englond is an Impire..governed by oon Supreme heede and King.
1579 Spenser June 83
The soueraigne head Of shepheards all.
1613 T. Fitzherbert iv. 177
Peter the head of all the Apostles sate first in the Roman chayre.
1667 Milton ix. 1155
Why didst not thou the Head Command me absolutely not to go?
1712 R. Steele No. 479. ⁋5
Socrates, who is by all Accounts the undoubted Head of the Sect of the Hen-peck'd.
1728 E. Chambers (at cited word)
A Dean is the Head of his Chapter.
1793 A. Hamilton Let. 24 Oct. in
The President and heads of departments ought to be near Congress.
1838 W. H. Prescott I. i. iv. 118
The duke of Infantado, the head of the house of Mendoza.
1877 x. 245
An item providing for payment of a special Departmental Head of Education.
1894 12 Dec. 170/2
When dishonor was brought upon the family, he, of course, as its head, suffered thereby personally.
1924 ‘R. Daly’ xix. 176
You seem to be in favour with the heads at Port Mahon..why can't you persuade them to send another man here?
1956 29 52
He is now the head of a team whose job is to police the section.
1986 2 May 11
From 1976 until 1982 she was head of English at Dulwich College.
2009 May 62/2
While at JPL, he was also the head of a study group that investigated [etc.].
b. spec. The person having authority over or charge of a college or school; a headmaster or headmistress, a principal.
1550 J. Hooper v. f. cxiiv
So shuld the prouost, heades of Colledges, masters of scholes, go and teache the thynge apertayneth to theyr place and vocacion.
1576 in J. Nichols
The said Vice-chauncelor and hedds of Colledges.
1631 T. Adams Let. 3 Mar. in H. Ellis
From the Vice-Chancellour and Heads of your famous University.
1691 G. Rule 5
He was..the Head of a School, where Students were bred for the Ministry.
1705 T. Hearne Diary 7 Sept. in
Mr. Smith of University College made his Complainte..for the Fellows turning him out... The Mancipal was sent for, who said that he never knew any Fellow turn'd out in the Heads Absence.
1783 Mar. 199/1
He received the first rudiments of classical learning under Mr. Richard Yates, Head of the Grammar School in that town.
1847 Tennyson iv. 83
Delivering seal'd dispatches which the Head Took half-amazed.
1889 A. R. Hope in 3 Aug. 697/3
Who could..mix on equal terms with those ineffable beings the head's daughters.
1910 June 561/1
The youngest college president in North Carolina is Professor John F. Burcheil, just elected head of Catawba College.
1953 K. Tennant xvi. 136
The staff-room was split over the sensational row between Miss Page and the Head.
1967 11 Sept. §5
There shall be a Provost of the College who shall be the Head of the College.
1990 S. Maitland
ii. iii. 178
She found herself in the Head's office, white and trembling, so obviously terrified that the Head herself was taken aback.
c. A group of people in a position of command or leadership.In quot. : spec. = .
1600 C. Edmondes i. xii. 33
That Gallia was vnhappely diuided into two factions, the Hedui were the head of the one, and the Auerni of the other.
1653 W. Dell 66
Antichrist and his false Teachers, who are the Head of the Malignant Church and People.
1665 J. Buck in G. Peacock
App. B 66
The V.C. readeth all the graces, some one of the Head holding the Posers Bill to stay those whose names are not in the said Bill.
1762 XXXVI. vii. 178
The Florentines..admitted into the confederacy, of which they were the head, the inhabitants of Rimini, Faenza, [etc.].
1804 J. Lunn 220
If..the senate and not the Pope had the chief power in their hands, then they were the head of the city.
1896 IV. 268/2
His family is the head of the Sidhu Jat tribe.
1917 Nov. 39/1
The ruler [of San Marino] is not a president, the power being vested in two chief regents... They jointly are the head of the State.
1979 N. Sudarkasa in W. A. Shack & E. P. Skinner viii. 158
According to the constitution of the Kumasi District Nigerian Community, that body was ‘the head of all the Tribunal Unions’.
a. A person or thing holding a pre-eminent position; the best or most important person or thing. Now rare.In use with reference to pride as a capital sin (e.g. quots. , ) also implying ‘origin’. Cf. sense .
In quot. : the best part. Cf. sense .
eOE tr. Bede
iii. xv. 224
Hwearf eft on his eðel to Hii þæm ealonde, þæt monigra mynstra heannisse & heafod [L. caput et arcem] Scottas hæfdon.
OE Confessionale Pseudo-Egberti
Ofermodines seo is heofod & wyrtruma ealra leahtra.
?a1325 in W. Heuser
First at prude ich wol begin, For hit is heuid of al sinne.
l. 1344 (MED)
I had leuer then all Fraunce, that heuede es of rewmes, Fyghte with the.
Elan þat haldyn was hed of all ladys And the fairest of feturs formyt in erthe.
1584 T. Cogan cxcv. 156
Creame..is indeede the verie head or heart of Mylke.
1818 J. Murray Let. 3 Sept. in S. Smiles
II. xx. 14
Barrow, as the head of all my most respected friends, has told me that [etc.].
1866 Oct. 338
The myth of Arthur..narrates that Lancelot, head of all Christian knights, once stopped at a castle where dwelt [etc.].
1991 H. V. Kuhnlein & N. J. Turner
In Nlaka'pamux and Okanagan-Colville, they [sc. black huckleberries] are considered the ‘head’ of all the fruits.
b. A capital city; the chief city or town of a country or region. Now somewhat rare.
eOE tr. Orosius
ii. i. 36
Sameramis..getimbrede þa burg Babylonie, to þon þæt heo wære heafod ealra Asiria [L. caputque regni Assyriis ut esset instituit].
OE Homily: De Temporibus Anticristi
(Corpus Cambr. 419)
in A. S. Napier
On þyssere [byrig] Babilonia, þe hwilon wæs..Persa rices heafod, bið Antecrist geboren.
Isa. vii. 8
The hed of Sirie Damasch.
a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden
(St. John's Cambr.)
Þis citee in tyme of Britouns was heed and chief citee of al Venedocia.
O. Bokenham Mappula Angliae in
Caunturbury, the heed of Kent, maad Rudhudebras.
1544 A. Cope xxvi. f. 41v
He promysed theym, that Capua shulde in shorte space be the heade of all Italye.
1644 K. Digby ii. Concl. 452
That opulent citty, the head of the world, where millions were as familiar as pence in other places.
1765 D. Fenning et al.
II. iii. xxxi. 609/1
Mullingar..is the head of the county [of West-Meath] by act of parliament, and here the sessions of the county are held.
1848 H. T. Ryde tr. A. de Lamartine II. xxxiii. 304
They hate Paris because Paris is the head of the nation, and contains a vast populace.
1871 J. Carroll III. ix. 388
The Rev. W. Ryerson was sent to Brockville, the head of the District, where multitudes flocked to hear him.
1947 R. E. Dickinson tr. R. Blanchard in i. 12
It applies to a city which..is, as it were, the head of the region.
2000 E. Lipiński vi. 143
Ta'idu is the head of the province to which Nawar belonged in the 14th century B.C.
35. The position or fact of being a chief, leader, or commander, or of being pre-eminent in authority, excellence, etc. Frequently in at (also †in) the head of .Sometimes with admixture of sense .
xvii. 41 (44)
Constitues me in caput gentium : ðu gesetes me in heafud ðieda [OE Lambeth Psalter on heafod uel on forewearde þeoda].
1357 J. Gaytryge
Do worship to fadir and to modir..til our gastly fadirs that has hede [c1440 Thornton heuede] of us.
xvii. 47 in C. Horstmann
Þou sal, In heued of genge [L. caput gentium] me set with-al.
1576 J. Foxe
I. ii. 121/1
Thus began first Rome to take an head aboue all other Churches.
a1640 P. Massinger Bashful Lover i. ii. 109 in
Though you charg'd me I' th' head of your troops.
1652 J. Wright tr. J.-P. Camus 337
Liante..placed himself at the head of this resolute Party.
1662 H. More
Pref. Gen. p. xxiii
Certain opinions of his..in the head of which he names this of the Præexistence of the Soul.
1709 J. Addison No. 122. ⁋1
A People of so much Virtue were deservedly placed at the Head of Mankind.
1788 Apr. 356/1
The man who assumed the head of these ruffians, turning to his accomplices.
1849 Macaulay II. vii. 166
At twenty-one..he was placed at the head of the administration.
1894 H. Drummond 143
Anatomy places Man at the head of all other animals that were ever made.
1903 3 834
The lady superior who was at the head of the Catholic schools and convent at South Bend.
1999 F. von Metzler in C.-L. Holtfrerich 304
Frankfurt's path to the head of Europe is not assured.
2008 30 July 18/8
Their leader..stayed on as prime minister until 1922 at the head of a coalition.
With reference to geographical or topographical features.
36. The uppermost or furthermost portion of a valley, cave, inlet, etc. Also: that end of a lake or other body of water at which a river or stream enters it.
eOE Bounds (Sawyer 298) in D. Hooke
Fram smalan cumbes heafde to græwan stane.
OE Royal Charter: Offa of Mercia to St. Mary's Church, Worcester (Sawyer 126) in D. Hooke
Of seges mere in þæs pulles heafod & of ðam heafde to þornbrycge.
c1300 Holy Cross
179 in C. Horstmann
Ȝwane þou comest to þe heued of þis valeie, a grene wei þov schalt wiende.
At þe heued of þis see of Galile..es a castell.
a1500 Legend of Cross in
In the hed of this vale þu shalt fynde drie passis.
1539 Isaiah xxviii. f. xlixv/2
Ye (As a floure yt faydeth awaye) vpon the head [1535 Coverdale toppe] of the valley of such as be in welth.
1615 E. Grimeston tr. P. d'Avity 1020
Neere vnto the red sea, and as it were in the head of the Arabian gulfe, stands the towne of Suez.
1655 I. Walton
When you have..made the earth firme where the head of the Pond must be.
1769 T. Nugent tr. P. J. Grosley I. 6
You come to a very steep brow of a hill, which, after intersecting the road, projects over the head of the lake.
1789 W. Tench ix. 60
Into the head of the cove..runs a small stream of fresh water.
1818 J. C. Curwen I. xv. 189
For a short distance, the opening that leads to the head of the cavern..is low and narrow.
1830 C. Lyell I. 286
A point which must..be considered the head of its delta.
1863 A. P. Stanley I. viii. 184
At the head of the gulf.
1902 G. S. Whitmore ii. 17
I left these men..at a sort of camp at the head of the valley.
1963 G. L. Pickard viii. 182
Positive estuaries have a river or rivers emptying into them, usually at the head.
1986 20 Sept. 7/2
Perhaps the worst bit was at the head of Loch Hourn.
22 Jan. (Features section) 15
Bessans..and L'Ecot, a tiny hamlet at the head of the valley, were left unscathed.
a. The source or headwaters of a river or stream. Formerly also in plural in same sense. Cf. , .
eOE Bounds (Sawyer 298) in D. Hooke
Ðonne on ðone dic ðær Esne ðone weg fordealf, ðonon ofdune on ðæs wælles heafod.
lOE Bounds (Sawyer 258) in W. de G. Birch
Andlang Aleburnan on beueres broces heafod.
lOE Bounds (Sawyer 653) in D. Hooke
Andlang dic to holon broces heafdum.
a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden
(St. John's Cambr.)
Þe reuers Seuarne and Dee almost at [1482 Caxton to] þe hedes.
Fra þeyn vp warde to þe hede Of a watir hat warnede.
1541 c. 35
Cleane running water, issuyng out of the heades of freshe springes.
a1552 J. Leland
The Hed of Isis in Coteswalde risith about a Mile a this side Tetbyri.
1625 N. Carpenter ii. ix. 142
Nilus in Africk is thought to haue his first head at the mountaines of the Moone.
1718 I. Watts cxiv. ii
Jordan beheld their March and fled With backward Current to his Head.
1793 J. Hunter xviii. 458
They came to a run of water, which they supposed to be the head of the Nepean river.
1854 15 ii. 426
Where the spring head has been boggy.
1905 C. E. Slocum 469
Jacques Godefroy..passed up to the head of the Maumee to aid in the capture of the then British Fort Miami.
1969 F. B. Woodford & A. M. Woodford ii. 40
The French, Hurons, and Ottawas..overtook them near Windmill Point at the head of the Detroit River.
2002 G. M. Eberhart II. 453/1
A cat..was killed after it raided a henhouse at the head of the Mulgrave River.
b. fig. and in figurative contexts: the source or origin of something. Cf. , .In later use chiefly as part of an extended metaphor.
(Corpus Cambr. 422)
Ac hwæt witeð us wyrd seo swiðe, eallra fyrena fruma, fæhðo modor, weana wyrtwela, wopes heafod.
v. l. 2604
Sche is the pure hed and welle And Mirour and ensample of goode.
i. l. 47
Hengist he hight, & Hors his broþire, þes were hede, als we fynde, where of is comen oure Inglis kynde.
c1443 R. Pecock
Oonly resoun in his natural liȝt..is þe heed of al oure gouernaunce.
J. Yonge tr.
He sholde ham [sc. beasts] surmounte in vertues, and namely in two, that byth two begynnyngis and hedis of al maner mankynde workis.
1548 T. Cranmer sig. Ddvjv
The wel and heade, out of the which al these euylle do sprynge is original synne.
1592 A. Day 2nd Pt. Eng. Secretorie sig. P1v, in
I will goe to the head of the matter.
1720 D. Waterland 112
By referring all Things to one Head and Fountain.
1846 J. Miller 6
It may be said, that the school-master is the head of the fountain of instruction.
1931 A. E. Ralli I. xiii. 288
Bolingbroke..sinned in causing Richard's death, but the head and spring of all the evils was the usurpation.
1970 W. A. Jurgens tr. St. Ephraim in I. 311
You are the head of the fountain from which My teaching flows, you are the chief of My disciples.
2009 H. Cooper in 760
Chaucer is the source of his [sc. Spenser's] inspiration, the head of the river of English poetry.
a. Agriculture. A strip of land at the end of a ploughed field; = . In Old English also in plural in same sense. Obsolete.In later use merged with sense .
OE Bounds (Sawyer 1321) in D. Hooke
Þonne norð andlangc dunes, þonne ut æt þæs croftes heafod þæt sticað on þære lace.
OE Bounds (Sawyer 587) in S. E. Kelly
Of þam pytte andlang riþiges on þæt heafodlond; of þam heafodon andlang fura.
lOE Royal Charter: Eadred to Ælfsige Hunlafing (Sawyer 566) in A. J. Robertson
Þonne suð be þen Æfden andlang þere mære to fægran broce.
c1425 in Hist. MSS Comm.: Rep. MSS Ld. Middleton
107 in (Cd. 5567) XXVII. 1
Also if any man tye hyse horss or reche on any havedes or be syk sydes in to any mannes Korn..make amendes to hym that hasse the harme.
a1475 in A. Clark
Þe next acre by-syde þe forowe & þe hed of þe foreseyde acre.
in H. E. Salter & A. H. Cooke
[Alice..grants to John Pypat..half an acre..with their] hades [of meadow].
b. More generally: a terminal or bounding portion of land; an edge, a boundary. Obsolete (hist. in later use).Used esp. with reference to the shorter edges of a piece of land which has a more or less elongated shape, or is of greater length than breadth.
OE Bounds (Sawyer 1547) in D. Hooke
On þone wille on þæs mores heafod.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
I. xiii. xiv. 662
Þe heuedes [L. termini] of pondes beth ystrengþede with hepes and walles for the watir shulde noȝt passe owt to swyþe.
c1425 in E. Edwards
Fro thennys, be north the long lawpath; fro that path west, to the morys hede [c1425 (OE) on þæs mores heafod].
1452 in R. Willis & J. W. Clark
[A messuage] abbuttyng at the one heved vpon the high strete and at the other heved vpon the said College.
1622 II. 74
The east hed abutting upon the strete and the west hed upon the buildings belonging to Katherine Hall.
1668 H. Savage xxii. 34
One end abbuts upon Exeter-lane towards the North..and the other Head of it abbuts upon the Ground or Tenement of the Abbot and Convent of Dorchester.
1765 (Private Acts 5 Geo. III c. 99) 7
The South Head thereof abuts upon the Lands now or late of the said Thomas Bright, and the North Head upon the Way called Bury Way.
1873 E. Hailstone ii. ix. 290
Six acres and a half of wheat lay in the northfield in two divisions.., the heads of which abutted on the land of the same prior and convent towards the south.
1902 2 309
He granted..one acre of his land.., one head whereof extends towards the peat-moss on the east and the other head towards Grucocgile on the west.
a. A projecting piece of coastal land, esp. when of considerable height; a promontory, a headland, a cape. Frequently (and orig.) in place names, and (in later use) in the fuller form head of land. Also in plural: the projecting pieces of land which enclose a bay. Cf.
1315 in B. G. Charles
Haliheved [i.e. Holyhead].
Apud locum qui Sanct Abbis Heid vocatur.
1577 R. Holinshed Hist. Eng. 6/1 in I
The name of an head of land in Britayn called Promontorium Herculis.
a1650 G. Boate
Upon the West-side of the Irish coast are four principal Heads.
1685 B. Ringrose iv. xi. 58
The Cape [of San Francisco]..looked very like unto Beachy-head in England.
Near Dover-Castle there is a head of land, called South Foreland, by way of distinction from another head or promontory, which forms the north-east point of the Kentish shore.
1817 Feb. 72/1
The ships were surrounded with canoes, which kept her company till she was withoutside the heads of the Bay.
1893 W. T. Wawn x. 162
I attempted to enter the bay, round which the island extends in a horseshoe form. Hardly were we within the ‘Heads’, when the wind dropped.
Cantick Head... The head, which is rather low and rounded, terminates in an abrupt cliff to the southward... The lighthouse on the head is conspicuous.
1948 L. F. Horsfall in C. E. Fayle et al. viii. 184
There was good anchorage within the heads of the bay.
1997 W. Hobbs
The canoes crossed Makah Bay..and rounded a head of land to the south of it.
b. The seaward end of a pier, breakwater, or similar structure. See also
1553 J. Brende tr. Q. Curtius Rufus iv. f. 38
When he had beaten the water and lyfted vp hymselfe at the head of the mole [L. a capite molis], [he] diued vnder the water agayne.
1652 R. Codrington tr. Q. Curtius Rufus iv. 53
At the head of the Peer they raised up two Towers, from whence..they kept off the Boats that came about them.
1744 C. Thompson III. 83
They filled a Vessel with Sulphur,..and having tow'd it to the Head of the Mole, they set it on fire.
1830 Oct. 300/2
He had just succeeded in clearing the pier's head, and was getting fast into smooth water.
1870 1 Mar. 179/1
There was light enough, even if the harbour light had not been flickering at the head of the breakwater, to enable them to keep clear of that structure.
1955 11 339
Fishing for herrings some 200 yards off the head of the pier.
2005 F. Verhaeghe et al. in J. Story xv. 273
Ships could only be moored at the head of the individual jetties.
c. Chiefly Nautical. A projecting piece of a rock, sandbank, reef, etc., lying at or just beneath the surface of the sea.
1584 R. Norman tr. C. Antoniszoon f. 49
The souther head of the Goodwin [sands] and the point at Douer, lie the one off of the other southwest and northeast.
1761 tr. G. B. Du Bocage ii. 20
It [sc. the rock] is almost always above water, unless it be a very high tide, and there are even two heads which are never covered.
1775 B. Romans App. 34
1½ miles E. from the land are a parcel of dangerous sunken heads called the Hen and Chickens.
1798 L. Furlong
The channel..is full of heads of coral rocks.
1837 J. R. McCulloch I. i. i. 68
The Bunt Head, on the west side [of the Goodwin Sands], is very dangerous.
Thence the foul ground, including Barrack and Ravient Reefs, which have several patches and sharp heads of rock, extends to the W.N.W. 2 miles.
Homedebua Peak bearing 27° will lead midway between Peterson Reefs and the sunken heads extending southwestward from Unda Point.
a1961 E. Hemingway
iii. xii. 332
He steered due north to get into blue water and past the dangerous rocky heads of the outer reef.
2004 V. xiv. 550
The Invisibles..are three small rocky heads covered 4 to 5′.
d. Eng. regional
†(a) A part of an underlying stratum, esp. of marl, seen protruding through an overlying one. Obsolete.
1686 R. Plot iii. 119
Sometimes it [sc. marl] lyes so ebb..that they plow up the head of it.
1787 W. Marshall I. 19
The white marls of this District..in distinct masses, of different figures and magnitudes, rising with irregular heads toward the surface.
1846 7 ii. 452
‘Heads’ or prominent parts of the substratum of sand rising up through the substratum of brick earth in the manner that ‘heads of marl’ shoot up towards the surface.
(b) As a mass noun. Surface material consisting of fragments of an underlying stratum.
1876 H. B. Woodward x. 331
Between Bovey Tracey and Newton Abbot there are accumulations of sand and gravel which rest on the Miocene deposits, and are called the ‘Head’.
1930 62 73
‘Head’ is a term applied to this Rubble-drift where it masks an old raised beach.
2009 F. G. Bell et al. in M. G. Culshaw et al. 15/1
Head in the Nottingham area usually is thin and of variable composition depending on the nature of the parent material.
40. The top or summit of a hill or mountain.
Þare er also many gude tounes toward þe heued [F. chief] of þir hilles.
Ane man beand on the hede of ane hil.
1604 Shakespeare v. i. 249
The skyesh head Of blew Olympus.
1654 J. Howell in S. Lennard tr. S. Mazzella To Rdr. sig. A2v
The great Vorago or fiery Gulph..which rageth in the head of that Mountain [sc. Vesuvius].
1742 S. Boyse tr. W. van Haren i. 8
An ice-crown'd Mountain's Head.
1797 A. Radcliffe II. ii. 83
Its peaked head towered far above every neighbouring summit.
1810 Scott i. 5
But, when the sun his beacon red Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head.
1842 Sept. 242
At evening, when the sun sets red Behind yon mountain's cloudy head.
1917 23 59/2
We found ourselves on the bald head of the mountain.
1982 July 57/1
The majestic snow-covered head of Popo [i.e. Popocatepetl].
2009 L. Leigh x. 135
Mortar fire is coming from the north, at the head of the mountain.
41. orig. Sc. The top or upper end of a road, street, etc.; the part of a subsidiary road nearest the main road. Also: the upper or main end of a town; the outer part of a town leading towards a main road or highway.
1458 Extracts Rec. in W. Chambers
The land..liand on the conȝe at the hed of the Briggat.
1681 in J. D. Marwick
To put out baill fyres at the heid of ilk clos.
1773 Nov. 534/2
[Soldiers] were posted..in a hut erected at the head of the road.
1785 P. Delamotte 84
The road [to Weymouth] lies through Dorchester, which is crossed at the head of the town.
1801 J. Baillie 538
Besides these, at the head of the street, are several large gardens and nurseries.
1832 10 Mar. 147/2
Spring water is introduced through all the principal streets, by iron pipes, from a reservoir situated at the head of the town.
1898 L. A. Jones iv. iii. 186
He conveyed a lot at the head of the alley... This conveyance passed no right to use the alley.
1977 J. Pepper 53
I went up to see Mrs Thingimabob... You know the one that's married on the fella at the head of the road?
1990 W. J. Wood iii. 65
He marched several companies..to the roads at the head of the town.
2009 Jan. 7/1
Johnny walked at a leisurely pace..towards the head of the road, where there was a crossroads.
Miscellaneous specific and technical uses.
42. A bundle of hemp, silk, flax, or the like; spec. one of a specific size or weight (as in quots. , ).
Þe chef of fustian contenez xiii elne, þe heued of sendal of x elne.
1565 in J. B. Paul
Ane heid of hemp and twa elsingis to the cordinar.
1688 R. Holme iii. iii. 106/2
Kirtle Flax, is twelve heads in a bunch, and is about an hundred pounds in weight.
Head of Flax..signifies twelve Sticks of Flax tied up to make a bunch.
1797 J. Sinclair XIX. 402
Not a single head of flax amissing.
1825 Sept. 373/2
They..attached, by a string, several heads of silk to the trigger of the piece.
1858 P. L. Simmonds
Head,..a bundle of flax measuring probably two feet in length, and weighing a few pounds; in the North of Europe 18 head of hemp or flax are about 1 cwt.
1897 6 Nov. 49/2
The silk..is..‘sticked’ for dyeing, putting six or eight heads of silk on each stick.
1953 G. B. Hughes viii. 83
The hackler..takes a ‘head’ of hemp in her right hand, and holds it spread fan-wise.
1999 tr. J. Glader in R. Kvideland & H. K. Sehmsdorf lxxiv. 239
She always bragged that she was so handy she could spin a whole head of flax in a single day.
†a. A bank or dam retaining a body of water. Obsolete.
Brekyng her fisshepond hedis, & lete þe water of her pondes, stewes & ryuers, renne out.
1530 J. Palsgrave 506/2
I damme or make the heed of a water.
1563 c. 21 §1
Any Hedd or Heddes, Damme or Dammes, of any Pondes, Pooles, Motes, Stanges, Steues, or severall Pittes.
1814 II. xiii. §4. 671
Heads, or banks of earth, for the confinement of water in artificial lakes or ponds.
b. A body of water kept at a particular height, esp. in order to provide a supply at sufficient pressure for a mill, turbine, etc.; the height of such a body of water, as a measure of the resulting pressure; (hence) pressure expressed in terms of the height of water that would produce it (cf. ; see also ). Frequently in head of water.velocity head: see the first element.
1677 R. Plot ix. 233
Lock-gates put down between every two of them..which will keep a head of water.
1724 D. Defoe I. iii. 16
Here is a very large Pond, or Lake of Water, kept up to an Head, by a strong Battre d' eau, or Dam.
1791 R. Mylne 15
Millers..working their Heads of Water in a spendthrift way.
He has dammed the stream to give it head.
1884 A. Daniell xi. 276
We may say that the velocity-head and the pressure-head are together equal to the total head.
1907 H. Brown vi. 120
A pressure due to 6¾ feet head of water.
1943 E. H. Lewitt
Water at 15° C. is injected under a constant head of 500 ft.
1986 E. Hall in A. Limon et al.
iii. v. 383
The cold water storage cistern is not sufficiently high above the shower sprinkler to provide the minimum 3ft (900mm) head of pressure.
2008 M. Kay
Atmospheric pressure drives a siphon and the absolute limit is 10 m head of water.
c. Founding. A narrow vertical channel at the top of a mould acting as a reservoir to feed a casting as it cools and contracts, and to add to the pressure on the metal so as to inhibit porosity; a sink-head or riser (). Also: the solid remnant of this reservoir on a cast object.Recorded earliest in .
feed, feeding-, sink-head, etc.: see the first element.
1838 X. 386/2
What is called a dead head is left at the upper and smaller or mouth end of the gun, which presses the metal down, and prevents its becoming porous as it settles and cools.
1854 VI. 183/1
The metal..is conveyed by a gutter formed of sand to the gun-mould, into which the melted metal falls through the open end of the head.
1867 J. Gwilt
ii. iii. 693
Cannon, pipes, columns, &c., are stronger when cast in a vertical than in a horizontal position, and stronger still when provided with a head or additional length.
1920 J. G. Horner
The employer grudges the cost of cutting off the head, and maybe thinks that it is a moulder's fad, especially when he learns that there are shops in which cylinders are cast without heads.
1922 J. H. Hall
As the heads are very much higher than the casting, they are called upon to feed metal only horizontally.
1996 S. C. Black et al.
The mould may be provided with a long neck to give a head of metal which will provide both a reservoir of hot metal and a small pressure head to help eliminate shrinkage.
†44. A tidal bore (). Also more fully tide head. Obsolete.
1570 R. Tarlton
At twelue a clock at night, It [sc. the rushing river] flowde with such a hed.
a1667 P. Mundy
I. p. xix
This bore or tide head comes sodainely many foote high like great rouling feathering Waves.
1807 R. Southey III. lxxvi. 380
The tide [in the River Parrot] instead of rising gradually, flows in in a head.
1854 15 5
[The] river came down with a ‘head’ similar to the tidal phenomenon on the Severn.
1908 19 209
A dead starfish is sometimes carried far up the Bay [sc. Morecambe Bay] by the tide head which in places resembles a mill race.
†45. Hunting. A sudden sharp change of direction by a hunted animal. Cf. . Obsolete.
[Compare French faire tête, e.g. in le cerf fait tête aux chiens the stag turns to resist the hounds.]
1607 E. Topsell 264
The wandring Hares..making heads vpon the plain ground, to the confusion of the Dogs.
1796 Feb. 231/2
[The fox] went away for Bull's Wood—then to Hammond's groves—made a head, and came to Thorpe Wood.
1798 11 3
After much manœuvring, heads and doubles, as well as equally good racing in view, she [sc. the hare] was killed in the rickyard of the Sun Inn.
1804 Jan. 167/2
We have had an uncommon display of views, heads, turns, doubles; baying, and soiling, but not a burst of sufficient duration to set even a half-bred horse a blowing.
46. Nautical. Any of various parts of an anchor (see quots.); (now usually) spec. the part furthest from the crown () and arms.
1622 R. Hawkins xxxvi. 88
Then armed we all the Halser round about..and likewise the shanke of the Anchor, and the head.
Head of an Anchor, the Shank or longest part of it.
1708 Sea-dict. in
The Head of the Anchor; is that Part in which the Eye is, through which the Ring passes.
1826 44 86
Through the head of the anchor k passes the ring l.
1920 10 July 35
The ‘dropping test’ on the head of the modern stockless anchor.
1972 Nov. 90/2
It also includes a distinctive stock running through the anchor crown in the same plane as the anchor head.
2000 E. D. Smith & T. R. Moore 28
Head, the upper end of the shank.
47. On a gate: the upright timber or post at the opposite end from the hinges and typically bearing the latch (cf. ). Also: either of the two upright pieces at the ends of a hurdle (). Now rare.
a1642 H. Best
To a barre [= hurdle] belongeth two heads..into which the 4 spelles are to bee putte.
Confound thee! thou always goes to the gate heel, instead of the head.
1801 T. N. Parker 34
For a swing gate the latch should be placed as nearly as possible to the middle part of the head.
1841 15 Feb. 233
The head of one hurdle is brought forward, so as to lap, or pass a little beyond that of another.
1854 15 ii. 251
The head, heel, and top rail of a gate should be of oak.
1908 29 Aug. 281/2
The square..closes tightly over the ‘closing style’, or head of the gate.
1939 H. J. Massingham iii. iv. 67
The tomahawk made the mortise hole in the head of the hurdle and the ‘nail-bit’ or lengthening-bit holed the rails of the hurdle.
1969 95 13/2
A second timber upright..is bolted..to the other end of the diagonal support to form the head of the gate.
48. Mining. An underground passage in a mine; a drift (). Cf. . Now rare.
1662 Dr. Power in T. Birch
If a Pistol be shot off in a head remote from the eye of a pit, it will give but a little report.
1798 Principal Occurr. 143/2
Going down this pit, the workmen came to a head or way, along which they proceeded until they came to another pit.
1894 15 Aug. 13/3
He knew that gas existed in one of the heads, and fences were placed there to indicate that it was dangerous.
1908 34 356
At this point it was necessary to drive a head to the water-pit.
At 20 ft. in this drive a head was cut showing a bunch of spar carrying a little tin.
†49. Building. A roof tile of half the usual length, used at the eaves; = . Obsolete.
1703 R. Neve 165
Heads,..a Term used by Bricklayers, by which they mean ½ a Tile in length, but to the full breadth of a Tile; these they use to lay at the Eaves of a Roof.
1887 G. O. Garnsey
Heads, tile or slate laid at the eaves.
a. A session of play in which all the stones or bowls are delivered from one particular end of the rink or green; = . Now rare.
Head, (probably a corruption of heat,) that portion of the game in which both parties play all their stones once.
1877 VI. 713
All [curling] matches to be of a certain number of heads.
1893 Laws Bowls
(Sc. Bowling Assoc.)
in H. J. Dingley 96
The mat shall not be moved till the head is finished.
1958 IV. 186/1
A game [of curling] consists of a number of ‘heads’ or ends.
1965 19 Aug. 4
Every head remained in jeopardy until the last bowl came to a stop.
b. The (typically closely grouped) collection of stones or bowls which remain in play at any point of a game; (also) the position or area in which these are concentrated.
1884 D. Brown in J. Taylor 208
Coming with something like the velocity of a cannon ball, it not only broke up the head, but sent the stone it struck first into a thousand pieces.
1925 15 Jan. 17/6
At the start the game seems easy, but as ‘the head’ round the mark fills up with stones, more and more skill is required.
1954 30 June 3
Shaw experienced great difficulty in holding his bowls back, consistently running through the head.
1986 July 39/1
You must get as many bowls in the head as you can.
Norway cleared out some Scottish stones in the ninth to score one. In the tenth, Murdoch..looked at the head, decided the shot was not on, and conceded.
†51. Mining. In plural. In the process of mechanical concentration: the purest ore, which is the first to separate. Cf. , . Obsolete.
1832 4 149
Its contents are then divided into three or four parts according to the quality of the ore: these divisions are denominated heads, first middle heads, second middle heads, and tails; the heads or richest part, being nearest the head of the buddle.
1858 30 Apr. 374/2
The heads, after being subjected to washing in a hand buddle, are passed to the dolly-tub.
The rack or frame..consists of a long table on a slight incline down which the slimes are carried by a gentle stream of water... The purest ore called ‘heads’ collects at the upper part of the table.
†52. The portion of the carapace of the hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata) that comprises the (usually thirteen) larger plates of tortoiseshell, esp. as an item for trade. Cf. . Obsolete.
1839 D. Cargill 31 July
The king & his son sent a large hog & three heads of tortoise-shell as a present to the Capn.
1890 C. Erskine
He gave me..twenty dollars for a head of tortoise-shell.
1900 J. Gaggin 140
This meant so many head of shell... A head consists of the thirteen plates of tortoiseshell forming the outward shell of the hawksbill.
1911 Ser. D 6 293
All of the plates together are known as a ‘head’ of shell, and tortoise-shell nearly always is sold by the ‘head’.
Uses arising from or associated with particular phrasal or verbal constructions.
53. A result, an outcome; a conclusion, a culmination; a pitch or peak of intensity, force, etc., typically attained gradually. In later use: esp. a situation where crucial issues must be resolved or addressed, a critical point. Chiefly in various verbal phrases, as to draw to a head , to grow to a head . See also , , .
[With reference to undesirable developments often with allusion to sense .]
He yefþ red huerby me comþ to guode heauede [Fr. a bon chief] and to guode ende of þet me nimþ an hand.
1579 S. Gosson f. 13v
Sith these abuses are growne to heade, and sinne so ripe.
a1599 Spenser View State Ireland 103 in J. Ware
To keepe them from growing unto such a head.
1606 Bp. J. Hall xxiii. 116
There (which is the heade of all thy felicitie) thine eyes shall see him whom now thine heart longeth for.
1658 J. Owen ii. 23
The season wherein it [sc. temptation] growes to a head.
1678 A. Littleton (at cited word)
To draw to a head, or to sum up, recapitulor, in summam colligo.
1749 J. Cleland II. 88
Now all the impressions of burning desire,..ripen'd by the heat of this exercise, and collecting to a head, throb'd and agitated me with insupportable irritations.
1763 J. Wesley 14
Vice is risen to such an head, that it is impossible to suppress it.
1824 T. Carlyle tr. Goethe I. i. vi. 30
Let us hear how your taste for the theatre gradually reached a head.
1888 R. F. Horton
But it is time to draw to a head this somewhat lengthened discussion.
1904 T. Longueville i. 7
Affairs had got to such a head that the imminence of severe fighting in the midland counties became highly probable.
1921 28 Sept. 59/2
Propaganda and resentment drew to a head during the general revolutionary movement of last year.
1962 D. M. Lang viii. 177
Matters reached a head in 1908, when the Russian Exarch of Georgia..was murdered.
2005 Feb. 4/1
George W. Bush is a reckoner, someone who drives things to a head.
†54. A body of people gathered; a force raised, esp. in insurrection or revolt. See also . Obsolete.In quots. , perhaps: a standard or similar object around which troops may gather.
1381 in R. H. Robbins
Takeþ wiþ ȝow Iohan Trewman and alle hijs felawes and no mo, and loke schappe ȝou to on heued and no mo.
[They] haue so many noble lordes of their lynage, wherof they might full lightly fynde a suffisaunt hede.
1590 L. Lloyd 302
After twise or thrice good successe had against the Arabians and the Saracens, they gathered together vnder a head at Tangrolipix.
1598 Shakespeare i. iii. 278
To saue our heads by raising of a head.
1631 W. Gouge i. §69. 115
Korah..impudently gathered an head against Moses and Aaron.
1661 S. Pepys 8 Jan.
Some talk today of a head of Fanatiques that doth appear about Barnett.
1781 G. Washington Let. 27 Mar. in
They cannot draw a head of men together as suddenly as their exigencies may require.
†55. Forward momentum; headway, progress. Also: advance against an opposing force. Obsolete.Earliest attested in to get head, and chiefly in various verbal phrases: see also , .
to gather head: see .
1577 R. Holinshed II. 1861/1
It will bee too soone perceyued though happily too late to stoppe the breache, when the floud hath gote head, and once wonne passage through the banke.
1604 Shakespeare iv. v. 99
Young Laertes in a riotous head Ore-beares your Officers.
1662 R. Mathews
If one Fever have got head before this Pill be taken.
1680 H. More 209
The ancient zeal..will be much relaxated, and wickedness will get head again.
1709 D. Defoe in 5 Apr. sig. A3v
Had their Rabble got a little more Head, we might have come again into the laudable Practice of cutting of Throats, and cold Blood Murthers.
1762 11 Dec. 573/2
The fire having gained head before the alarm was given, the master of the house thought of nothing but saving his wife.
1806 J. Beresford I. i. 3
This ‘gypsy-jargon’..Which is gaining head upon us every hour.
1866 I. N. Arnold xix. 434
There was..a riot in Boston, but it was so promptly met, as to gain no considerable head.
1926 T. E. Lawrence
When a desire gained head, I used to strive until I had just to open my hand and take it.
56. Freedom of action or manoeuvre. See also earlier , to take head (see ).
1804 E. A. Le Noir II. 296
No persons hold so tight a curb, as those who have felt the inconvenience of having had too much head.
1849 A. Jackson 29
The horses..ask, as plainly as they can for a little more ‘head’.
1862 S. Bowles Let. 7 July in G. S. Merriam
I. xxix. 369
I only want society and a little more head to be quite content and happy.
5 Nov. 36
When I went to slip her a bit more head, she didn't find much for four or five strides.
Preceded by a preposition or prepositional phrase.
a. above one's head: see .
b. Rugby Football. against the (loose) head : (with reference to winning a scrum) despite the opposing team holding the advantage by having the put-in. Cf. .With reference to the fact that the loose head of the team putting in would be expected to help the hooker gain possession of the ball: see .
1953 31 Dec. 8/2
By now the New Zealanders were winning the scrums fairly often against the loose head as well as with it.
1958 2 Jan. 10/1
Hung..struck like a cobra to get the ball against the head.
1988 Nov. 37/1
Gloucester's front-row stood up well to the confrontation and hooker Dunn took two strikes against the head while conceding none.
8 Mar. 111
The scrum won a ball against the head to make it 10-3 at the break.
c. at the head of: see sense .
d. by (also down by) the head
(a) Nautical. Of a ship: with the front or bows lower in the water than the stern, typically due to being unevenly loaded. Frequently with an expression of extent, as too much by the head, etc. Cf. sense , .
1662 T. Allin 30 June
He..would make his ship sail better, being too much by the head; but proved still the drag of the fleet.
1694 T. Phillips Jrnl. Voy. in
We fill'd all the empty buts we had in the hold with salt water, and brought her somewhat more by the head.
1762 C. F. Noble 329
Finding the ship to..lie very dead in the water, occasioned by her being a great deal too much by the head.
1836 R. B. Paul xv. 186
She was a fat plethoric looking boat, so much down by the head, that she put me in mind of a man about to fall forward on his nose.
1874 W. M. Davis xviii. 208
As we were a little down by the head, we brought from the forehatch ten casks of water, and rolled them aft.
1914 11 July 6/1
To Kent it was becoming more and more evident that she [sc. the ship] was down by the head.
1994 A. Seligman
If she was too much by the head, she'd be a pig to steer.
(b) colloq. (orig. Nautical). Originally: †in a state of drunkenness or intoxication (obsolete). Later: mentally unbalanced, crazy. Now rare.
1708 D. Defoe 8 June 170
[He] runs forward, being as the Sailors call too much by the Head, and over sets Sir William's Chair and all, and falls upon him.
1732 14 Jan. 62/1
I had been drinking frequently, and I may say heartily, in the City of London, so that I was got a little too much by the Head.
1792 14 Nov. 62
Will Gasket did not fetch the playhouse with the rest of the squadron. He had got a little by the head.
1849 Mar. 326/1
He kept on talking and smiling, till he could walk off without seeming as if he'd got his sabre betwixt his feet; but I fancied him a little down by the head when he did go.
1860 17 Dec. 10/5
He said he was a little by the head, but not drunk.
a1941 in A. Brown
She's a-little-by-the-head, so it hain't no wonder she done what she did.
e. in the head of: see sense .
f. in spite of a person's head (formerly also †spite of a person's head ): in spite of, or in defiance of, a person. Cf. earlier . Now rare (arch. in later use).
The disciplis..makyn..this merthe in spyth of oure hed.
?1533 Tyndale (v) f. xlvv
To serue their ennemyes and to obeye their cruelnesse and tyrannye spyte of their heedes in nede and necessite.
1569 R. Grafton II. 114
He gaue them all to the French men in spight of their heades.
1905 C. Housman x. 100
I cannot allow your presumption that therefore you may riot like a rascal knave in spite of my head.
†(a) of one's own head : of one's own accord; = . Obsolete.
ii. l. 2066 (MED)
Ne feigned I semblant ne chiere To wite or axe of his matiere..Bot if he wolde axe eny red Al onlich of his oghne hed.
1420 in H. Ellis
3rd Ser. I. 69
I of myn owne heuesde have wryte vn to hym a lettre.
Tak him as off yine awyne hewid As I had gevyn yar-to na reid.
1548 f. xxvij
The master carpenter would woorke all of his awne hedde without counsayll.
a1625 H. Finch
ii. xviii. 181
He that entreth into land of his owne head, and receiueth the profits of it.
1687 A. Wood
The bishop..sent it of his owne head.
1775 R. B. Sheridan v. iii. 93
It [sc. the pistol] may go off of its own head.
1800 T. Jefferson Let. 18 Jan. in
I do not propose to give you all this trouble merely of my own head. That would be arrogance.
1831 C. Lamb in Oct. 137
He might have occasionally have escorted a party of ladies..that were going in; but he never went in of his own head.
1872 19 Oct. 247/1
If he had done it of his own head.., but without the knowledge of the real plaintiff,..then it would be barratry.
(b) of the first head
(i) Hunting. Of a male deer: that has reached the age, typically five years, when the antlers are first developed. Cf. sense , . Now rare.
The vj yere a hert at the fyrst hed..alleway we calle of the fyrst hed tyl that he be of x of the lasse.
1486 sig. eiiijv
Robucke of the first hede he is at the iiij. yere.
1575 G. Gascoigne lxxix. 236
A Bucke is called the first yeare a Fawne,..the fifth a Bucke of the first head, and the sixth a Bucke.
1678 E. Howard i. 9
Such wilde ones..who burst out like Bucks of the first head.
1774 O. Goldsmith III. 128
The buck is..called..the fifth [year], a buck of the first head.
1823 Scott III. v. 125
But here is my lord, just upon us like a stag of the first head.
1854 W. H. Ainsworth iv. iii. 231
Wherever a place can be found for it, hangs the antlered skull of a great stag of the first head.
1921 E. Step 132
The fifth year shows further advance along the same lines, and the animal becomes known as a buck of the first head.
(ii) fig. Of a person (usually a man):
(a) recently ennobled or raised in rank, parvenu;
(b) that has only recently come to adulthood; esp. displaying the vigour, high spirits, immaturity, etc., considered typical of that age (esp. in buck of the first head; cf. );
(c) unsurpassed, out-and-out; = . Now chiefly in historical contexts.
1509 A. Barclay
A fox furred Jentelman: of the fyrst yere or hede.
?1520 A. Barclay tr. Sallust Prol. f. v
Gentylmen of ye first heed which were wont to preuent auncyent noblemen & ascende vnto vertu, & nobles, by vertuous maners.
1583 xx. 28
Such men are called sometime in scorne gentlemen of the first head.
a1627 H. Shirley
v. sig. H3
The young fellowes..will runne into the parke of Matrimony at sixteene: are Bucks of the first head at eighteene.
a1631 J. Downe Amulet 16 in
Precedencie is any mans rather then the Ministers: euery Mammonist, euery younger brother, euery vpstart of the first head must haue the place from vs.
a1637 B. Jonson Magnetick Lady ii. iii. 23 in
A Lady O' the first head I'ld have her.
1663 F. B. 3
[She] was to England come to wed A City-Chick of the first Head.
1771 Mar. 150/2
Samon, notwithstanding his gown, threw off all reserve, and was a buck of the first head in the Garden.
1785 Feb. 96/1
Alexander Allcant is a hypocrite of the first head, as you will soon perceive.
1835 14 Mar. 164/3
He is a bibliomaniac and pedant of the first head.
1852 Dec. 753/1
Tom Edmundson was a buck of the first head—gay, witty, dashing, vain, proud, handsome and volatile.
1895 16 Feb. 159/1
He..speedily gained admittance to many of the fashionable clubs... Nobody could deny that he was a buck of the first head.
1954 G. Heyer xv. 236
He's a Bartholomew baby, and thinks himself a buck of the first head.
1981 D. Chester i. 25
Anyone with the least discernment could see at a glance that Lord du Vallon is to be trusted. A gentleman of the first head, obviously.
2012 S. Busbee v. 97
The Crown was far too respectable and staid to appeal to two gentlemen who considered themselves bucks of the first head.
h. colloq. off one's head : out of one's mind or wits, deranged, crazy; (in later use also) intoxicated, esp. by drugs (cf. ).
1842 T. Hood Turtles in June 273
He was ‘off his head’.
1872 W. Black xiii. 177
He is off his head: he does not know what he says.
a1884 M. Pattison
One poor girl went off her head in the midst of all.
1922 S. Anderson 207
He had heard the old man spoken of as a little off his head.
1993 J. Green 142
We were both on E and both really off our heads and we both rolled around my bed for an hour and a half.
2000 I. Rankin
They told me I was off my head, said I was potty.
2011 18 July 18/5
He got off his head on drugs and alcohol, and then swung from the plinth dedicated to ‘The Glorious Dead’.
i. (a) on a person's head
[After post-classical Latin in caput eius onto his head, onto her head (Vulgate).]
(i) Of a misfortune, curse, blessing, etc.: directed towards a person; so as to affect a person; on a person.
OE King Ælfred tr.
Gehweorfe his sar on his heafod [L. in caput eius], and on his brægn astige his unriht.
Many men weneth to greue other And on his heed [c1330 Auchinleck on himself; c1450 BL Add. 31042 one his ownne hede] falleth the fother.
?1550 W. Samuel
Ye brynge the curse of God, dayly on your heade.
1581 J. Keltridge sig. B.iijv
Glorie is on his head, honour and renowne are a couering for that man.
1735 Pope Prol. to Satires in II. 340
The distant Threats of Vengeance on his head.
1793 H. M. Williams IV. iv. 151
We..imprecate curses on their heads.
1845 C. G. Duffy in 31
Yes, this is their own work; and now their work be on their head!
1920 C. C. Dobie i. 17
He who revives us with drink, He who sustains us with bread,..Blessings be on his head!
2003 K. Daswani
She put a curse on your head that your first-born would never marry.
(ii) So as to be the responsibility of a person; weighing on a person.
Josh. ii. 19
The blood of hym schal be on his heed [a1382 E.V. into his hed, L. in caput eius], that goith out at the dore of thin hows.
1592 sig. Kv
My bloode be on his head that gaue the sentence.
ii. i. 174
What hee gets more of her, then sharpe words, let it lye on my head .
1869 E. A. Freeman III. xii. 253
If Harold sinned, his guilt was on his own head.
1916 R. Kipling 9 Nov.
If I didn't do what I could to get him out I'd feel I had his blood on my head.
1984 M. Horowitz et al. iv. 83
His death was on her head, and she had to feel guilty.
(iii) be it on a person's (own) head : let the person specified be held responsible for something, or accept any unpleasant consequences of a chosen course of action. Now chiefly in on your (also his, her, etc.) head be it .
1743 R. Pococke I. iv. v. 182
When they promise it [sc. protection], they put their hands up to their turbants, as much as to say, Be it on their heads.
1822 ‘R. M'Chronicle’ I. 209
Very well, madam,..then be it on your own head.—My friends, remove the lady to the carriage.
1831 R. P. Smith I. xvi. 190
‘That will I answer for,’ replied Lindsay, astounded at his coolness. ‘Then on your head be it.’
1968 ‘O. Mills’ iv. 41
‘Turnpenny asked me to do it.’ ‘Oh, well, on Turnpenny's head be it.’
1991 E. Barker
And you won't like being here by yourself one bit. On your own head be it.
2001 G. Joseph ii. 32
I told him, ‘On your head be it,’ but he doesn't want to listen.
(b) on one's own head : by one's own decision, of one's own accord; on one's own account. Cf. . Now rare.
(Galba & Harl.)
Yhit wille I ymagyn, on myne awen hede, Ffor to gyf it a descripcion.
1563 Bp. J. Pilkington sig. I.viiv
All such relygyous woorshyppinge of God, as manne deuises on hys owne heade, and is not taught in the holye Scrypture.
1595 W. Perkins 292
Ioseph [of Arimathea]..doth it not on his owne head without leaue, but he goeth to Pilate and beggeth the body of Christ.
1656 J. Bramhall iii. 133
If the persons so banished will return on their own heads.
1744 W. Warburton v. 103
[He] could never, on his own Head, have thought of reducing an unruly People to Government on Maxims of Religion and Policy fundamentally opposite to all the Principles of Egyptian Wisdom.
1794 J. Impey 157
Mal-feasance, is when a man does something purposely on his own head, fancy, or humour, without any express agreement, implication, or requiring of law.
1840 5 Feb. 82/2
The new Secretary..has heard of Mr. Mothercountry's influence; and he is determined that he will act on his own head.
1894 F. B. Meyer 43
‘Are you doing this on your own head?’ Richard asked. ‘Yes,’ said I; ‘I don't know who's to help me.’
1922 110 774/2
The defendant on his own head decided to remit to a great corporation the sum of $110,000 in taxes.
†(c) on head
(i) Precipitately, hastily; rashly, thoughtlessly; headlong. Also on a head. Cf. . Obsolete.to fly on head: see .
l. 944 (MED)
Pilat was aparti greuid, For þai speken in heuid.]
ii. l. 4733 (MED)
As bolde as Baiard is, þe blynde, Þat cast no peril what wey þat he fynde, Riȝt so wil I stumble forþe on hede.
1557 Earl of Surrey et al.
He that bluntly runnes on hed, And seeth not what the race shal be: Is like to bring a foole to bed.
1565 T. Cooper
Abruptum ingenium, a rashe braine that doth all things on heade.
1572 J. Bridges tr. R. Gwalther Ep. sig. C.4v
They shall..see howe you haue done nothing rashly, and on a head.
(ii) Straight forward; in or towards the front; = . Obsolete.
1575 G. Gascoigne lxi. 172
If she [sc. the hare] helde on head, then let him beate with his houndes still onwardes on bothe sides of the way.
1590 Spenser 420
Some vngracious blast..perforce him [sc. the butterfly] droue on hed.
1672 H. Savile 4
Sir F. Holles in the Cambridge, came..on Head of us.
1687 tr. 33
[The barges] of the Great Mandarins..were very fine, and were on head of us.
1736 ii. i. 208
'Tis the nature of the Hart, when he is close pursued..to make forth on Head.
(a) out of a person's head : from a person's mind, imagination, or invention. Often in the more emphatic form out of a person's own head . Frequently somewhat colloq.
1548 G. Joye tr. A. Osiander iv. sig. Fiij
When he speketh lyes, he speketh them oute of hys owne head [L. ex propriis].
1599 T. Bilson 404
You tell a long and a foolish tale of death out of your owne heade.
1653 J. Bramhall 203
He that..denies a temporall Kingdom to give an eternall, doth not wrong us. This was out of your head.
1680 R. L'Estrange 17
He made Several Alterations..in the Epistle, out of his own head, after it was composed at the Presse.
1719 D. Defoe 280
It came from you, and not out of my own Head.
1820 Sept. 164
All this, not being in Burton, we take it for granted is out of Mr. Keats's own head, as the children say.
1875 B. Jowett tr. Plato
Were not all these answers given out of his own head?
1919 25 Nov. 15/5
He..drew scraggy animals out of his own head.
1991 J. Richardson I. xxix. 455
He sat down and out of his head painted the head in without having seen Gertrude Stein again.
2003 M. Warnock in J. Baggini & J. Stangroom
She had these amazing ideas which turned out to be very like Leibniz's.., but they seem to have come entirely out of her own head.
(b) colloq. out of one's head : = .
1733 M. Shelton tr. M. Warren vi. 40
At Midnight he talked wild, and before Morning was quite out of his Head [L. obstupuit].
Mr. Zealot, I believe, is out of his Head.
1817 Feb. 91/1
‘Surely that man is out of his head,’ was no uncommon exclamation, on hearing his vociferation and seeing the wildness of his gestures.
1878 H. James 428
Pathelin pretends to be out of his head.
1902 C. E. Jefferson xiii. 103
If they could not understand what was going on they..might think Christians out of their head.
1960 H. Gold 207
He's banned from Manhattan clubs. Tried to play the Embers stoned out of his head.
23 June c11
When they came to one of my recitals they sat there bored out of their heads.
2011 M. Carlson x. 89
The rumor spread..that Matilda Honeycutt was out of her head—certifiably nuts.
k. over a person's head
(i) lit. = .a roof over one's head: see .
OE tr. Vitas Patrum in B. Assmann
He cwæð, þæt he geseage up on heahnesse þære heofonan ane culfran flyceriende ofer his heafod.
l. 2217 (MED)
‘Abyde,’ quoþ on, on þe bonke abouen ouer his hede.
1573 D. P. sig. Aiv
Imagine a poynt or pricke directly ouer your head, which is called Zenith.
1665 R. Boyle iv. ii. sig. Aa4v
Larks..hovering and singing a while over our Heads.
1752 J. Hill III. 421
We have the wild goose flying over our heads..in vast flocks.
1833 S. Smith 17
The balls were whistling over our heads.
1883 M. W. Hungerford III. v. 156
You will have the roof burned over your head one of these dark nights.
1893 O. Schreiner ii. i. 132
Some pale-green, hairy-leaved bushes..meet over our head.
He heard the chattering of blue jays and wattle-birds over his head.
1998 Mar. 47
Over my head was the most beautiful rainbow colored Raven IV Reserve [parachute] you ever saw.
2008 J. Franzen in 21 Apr. 96/3
I saw a tracer round cross the sky over our heads.
(ii) Of an impending event, or an overwhelming or oppressive force: so as to constitute a threat or danger; (also) so as to be a source of dread or anxiety. Chiefly and earliest in .Often as part of an extended metaphor referring to something (notionally) located physically overhead.
c1390 in C. Brown
Þer nis non so stif ne stronge..Bi-hold what ouer hor hed con honge.
H. Lovelich xiii. l. 393
He preyde hem..That Neuere non of hem ne scholden fle, What Aventure that henge Ouer here hed.
1569 R. Grafton II. 2
The daungers hangyng ouer theyr heades.
a1677 T. Manton
I. ii. 23
As long as this black Storm hangs over your head, and you know not how soon it will drop upon you, you cannot be accounted happy Men.
1710 6 Nov.
The Marquis d'Ancre frighted with the Storm that was gathering over his Head, often press'd his Wife to go back with him to Italy.
1763 O. Goldsmith 128
His Prussian Majesty, all this while, had the terrible junction of the Russians with the Austrians and Imperialists hanging over his head.
1823 H. Lee 60
Such was the enemy that hung over the head of the unhappy Siegendorf!
1848 C. Brontë 28 Feb.
Years are heavy on him, the sword of Damocles has long been hanging over his head.
1887 R. F. Burton tr. III. dxlii. 100
Present Death hovereth over my head except I win my will.
1917 25 Oct. 6/2
[The coal miner] is today the most important factor in the great commercial and military crisis hovering over our head.
21 Jan. d3
After Mattox retired in 1957 as a newspaper editor..he moved to West Palm Beach... ‘I didn't have a deadline over my head all the time,’ he said.
1994 29 Apr. 42
The specter of the show entering syndication next fall looms over his head.
(i) In such a way as to ignore or discount the authority, prior claim, etc., of the person concerned; without consulting or informing the person affected.Used esp. with reference to promotion to a higher position, better job, etc., or (in early use) to commercial transactions (cf. ).
a1500 Consail & Teiching Vys Man
in R. Girvan
A levand mannys benefyce,..Na our his hed to tak his land Desyr nocht.
1551 T. Lever
They take one anothers ferme ouer their heades.
1630 R. Norton tr. W. Camden i. 74
[He] deuorcing his first wife, marryed ouer her head in her life time.
a1661 T. Fuller
The Younger being often brought over the head of the elder to be Principal.
1800 ‘Homo’ 20
Those frightful apprehensions, of having his farm purchased over his head, by some speculative character.
1822 M. Graham Jrnl. 25 Nov. in
My house is let over my head to some persons who..have bribed the landlord to let it to them.
1887 31 Oct. 9/3
It is no compliment..that an ex-diplomatist should be chosen for promotion over their heads.
1902 Nov. 716/2
The traveller..finds himself called upon..to soften and explain away amenities which have been unwisely transmitted by letter, exchanged, as it were ‘over his head’.
1955 A. L. Rowse 13 June
I wasn't best pleased when it was arranged over my head that I should drive her back.
6 July 1
Not only was it not done over my head, it was done with my complete co-operation.
2005 28 Nov. (.media section) 3/1
[He] finally drove Newland nuts by bringing in senior staff over his head.
(ii) orig. U.S. colloq. to go over a person's head : to approach or consult a higher authority than the person affected, generally without consulting or informing him or her.
1909 2 Oct. 10/1
I put myself in Dutch by trying to go over your head.
1916 July 47/2
That will make it meet the approval of Ned's directors and it will not look as if he is going over the head of his cashier.
1970 P. Berton v. i. 195
With Edgar thus disposed of, Walkem meant to go over Mackenzie's head to the Crown itself.
2006 C. Murray x. 152
I even copied in Michael Jay on the correspondence. In fact, I seem to recall you complained I was going over your head.
(c) Of a period of time or an (esp. unpleasant) experience: so as to elapse or pass by; finished with, endured; over, past. Cf. . Now chiefly N. Amer. regional.
1578 J. Lyly f. 63v
Appelles..would lette no day passe ouer his heade without a lyne, without some labour.
When all these strokes are over your head, what will you say, to see your welbeloved.
1686 G. Burnet iii. 118
I have now another Month over my head since I writ last to you.
1755 A. Ramsay 69
Now seventy years are o'er my head.
1832 C. Willard & W. Willard Let. 26 Aug. in
There was not a day went over our heads but what there was a quarrelling or a fighting.
1866 27 Jan. 95/2
I could even now narrate the substance of the book, although at least fifteen years must have passed over my head since I read it .
1886 H. Smart I. ii. 26
Ere many more days were over her head!
a1908 E. Carpenter in
Years of the most racking mental agony have gone over my head without killing me.
1944 No. 2. 34
The worst day and night I ever put over my head.
1971 28 Nov. d3/1
All the years that have passed over my head since then do not seem to have changed me much.
(i) To such a depth of water, etc., that the head is submerged; so as to be completely submerged or immersed. Also fig.: deeply immersed or involved in something. Also over the head. See also . Cf. .
?1610 J. Fletcher ii. sig. D4v
This holy well..Hath power to change the forme of any creature, Being thrice dipt ouer the head, into [etc.].
1654 E. Leigh viii. viii. 665
Many in hotter climates at some times of the year cannot be plunged over the head in cold water without hazard of life or health.
The Patient is soon suffocated; as effectually, though more slowly, as if he was immersed over the Head in it.
1777 T. Campbell xxvii. 259
What artillery in all the magazines of wisdom can make any impression on ignorance, intrenched over the head in prejudice.
1829 H. L. Maw ix. 248
The boat having paid-off on striking the bank, he went over his head in the water.
1866 17 Nov. 448/2
The three men despaired of reaching the rope. The first was twice plunged over his head in the water.
1890 J. Martine 124
The tub ‘couped’, and both lads were over the head in the water.
1920 Aug. 363/1
We have plunged over our heads into a sea of religious and spiritual curiosity.
1975 June 76/3
The next thing I knew I was in water over my head.
2010 E. Lockhart ix. 96
Then I was over my head in the bitter water, and Gideon was steering the boat around to pick me up.
(ii) colloq. (orig. U.S.). to be in over one's head : to be involved in something that is beyond one's capacity, or too difficult for one to deal with. Cf. .
1888 H. Clews lix. 680
It was a Waterloo..for Jerome and his fellow bulls. They were in over their heads... They immediately threw up the sponge and the stock came down with a crash.
1900 M. G. Morrison 107
‘I will give you five thousand dollars to start in an honest business.’.. ‘I'm in too deep. I'm in over my head... Can't you understand?’
1965 L. Roman i. 30
You see, all through our marriage I'd been wondering if maybe I was in over my head.
2008 Feb. 123/2
Indiana Jones gets in over his head and he can't handle it. It's only by sheer, last-second skill, or luck,..that he actually gets himself out of it.
(e) Beyond a person's comprehension or intellectual capacity. Cf. .Originally as part of an extended metaphor of flight.
a1626 Bacon Advt. Holy Warre in
That Worke..flies too high ouer Mens Heads.
1791 W. Maxwell in J. Boswell anno 1770 I. 341
He [sc. Johnson] observed, that..polished periods and glittering sentences flew over the heads of the common people, without any impression upon their hearts.
1836 C. MacFarlane I. lix. 297
He knew the danger of talking over the heads of his popular congregations, and thence arose his fondness for common sayings and proverbs.
1886 H. Smart II. ii. 20
Welstead quickly became cognizant that his wife was over his head.
1922 Sept. 139/1
The book-keeping system we use is quite over my head.
1977 Dec. 34
The academic material was completely over his head.
2006 K. Montgomery vii. 118
The neuro stuff on scans was way over my head back then.
l. to a person's head : = . Formerly also †unto a person's head . Chiefly U.S. colloq. and Eng. regional in later use.
1578 T. Garter sig. E.iij
Oh now thou lyest thou wicked man, vnto thy head I speake, And looke that God his vengeance will with shame vpon thee wreake.
1600 Shakespeare i. i. 106
Demetrius, Ile auouch it to his heade, Made loue to Nedars daughter, Helena, And won her soule.
1607 T. Rogers sig. ¶¶¶¶2
The..London Brethren tell K. Iames to his head, how the Subscription..is more then the Lawe requireth.
1680 C. Darby Epil. 14
As if she wou'd Now tell you, to your Head, 'Tis you alone, But whom she's scorch't, disordred, and undone.
1724 T. Atkinson Diary 15 Mar. in
The Indian Sd he was a warrr & if the Govr Denyed it he would tell it to his head.
1759 R. Forster Let. 27 Aug. in
When they [sc. the inhabitants of Shefford] should say, I told him so to his face, they say, I told him so to his head.
a1825 R. Forby
(at cited word)
We say, ‘I told him so to his head’, not to his face, which is the usual phrase.
1866 22 Dec. 745/2
If he asked you tenpence a pound for sirloin, and you thought that ninepence was a plenty for it, you would have no scruples about telling him so to his head.
1919 I. Zangwill xiii. 582
That Christy Dolphin [i.e. Christadelphian] stuff..don't bring the peace of God, and Oi'll tell her sow to her head the next time she's at me to be a Jew!
1974 N. Shaw & T. Rosengarten 163
I said, ‘Don't you hit me with that shovel’—told him to his head, didn't bite my tongue.
2009 J. Burditt Ones in
(NBC TV script: shooting draft)
3rd Ser. Episode 19. 6
I love Jack so much, I don't know if I have the strength to tell him to his head.
†(a) upon one's own head (occasionally also upon one's head ): = . Obsolete.
1442 T. Bekington Let. in G. Williams
II. 192 (MED)
His fals famed message that he dide..upon his owne hed, wheras..he was commaunded oonly to seke to Sr. Ro. Roos and to folowe his direction.
1454 T. Howes in
I meovyd to hym vpon myn hed..that thanne it were a good maryage.
1549 Coverdale et al. tr. Erasmus II. Eph. i. f. ii
Not vpon myne owne head or by mennes Commissyon, but by the Autoritie and commaundemente of God the father.
1579 L. Tomson tr. J. Calvin 1/2
That he [sc. St. Paul] thrust not in himselfe, vppon his owne head, but that he was appointed of God.
1618 T. Taylor 76
Whether you went by warrant, or vpon your owne head.
1679 Bp. J. Williams 23
He did it upon his own head, and out of private Revenge.
1707 J. Freind 123
He had quitted the army in discontent and upon his own head.
(b) upon a person's head : = .
1553 sig. A.ii
An euerliuyng God that..wyl call all thynges into iudgement and to accompt and wyl render to euerye one his iust recompence vpon hys head.
v. iii. 124
You Gods looke downe, And from your sacred Viols poure your graces Vpon my daughters head.
1660 G. Wither 53
The Doom..will without all peradventure come Upon your heads.
1799 C. B. Brown xxvi. 293
All our toils will thus be frustrated, and the ruin will finally redound upon our heads.
1820 H. Murray I. i. viii. 388
The Gentoos..coolly observed, that the blood was upon his head, and that they..could not be responsible for his barbarous conduct.
1847 21 Aug. 262/2
If evil or disgrace should befall you or yours in consequence, upon your own head be it.
1871 July 70/1
The displeasure of the good ‘Manido’ is upon his head.
1912 E. M. House xii. 77
Be candid with me, for, if you are not, the recoil will be upon your own head.
1998 R. Newman 223
As if he's riding away to certain death and this is a blessing upon his head.
2008 D. Liss 485
If my fall brings about the ruin of the nation, it will be upon Hamilton's head.
†(c) upon head: = . Also upon a head. Obsolete.
l. 261 (MED)
Thou countez no caas, ne castes no forthire Bot hurles furthe appon heuede, as thi herte thynkes.
(Winch. Coll. 13)
And thus, hastely and uppon hede..he sente for prynce Bodwyne.
1555 W. Waterman tr. J. Boemus i. iii. 36
Roilyng and rowmyng vpon heade, heather and thether.
1579 T. North tr. Plutarch 162
So went Lucius vpon a head to present battell to the enemie.
1617 T. Taylor ix. 364
This is no bridle for thee, thou runst vpon head without rule or reynes of moderation and sobrietie.
1622 Bacon 141
Rebells contrariwise runne vpon an Head together in confusion.
Preceding an adverb or preposition.
a. colloq. (orig. and chiefly Brit.). to get one's head around and variants: to master or fully comprehend (a subject or fact), esp. despite initial difficulty or reluctance; (also) to come to terms with (a situation). Cf. .
1922 15 July 18
Wait a minute, my boy. Let me get my head round it.
1947 S. Lewis xxxiii. 205
You've simply got to keep all this dark till I can think it over and get my head around it.
23 Feb. 59
Seitz predicted this work would be controversial, but said it is inevitable ‘because we're not building things that any one person can get his head around any more’.
1998 3 Aug. i. 4/2
Mr Forbes has had longer than most to get his head around the idea that the state-of-the-art plant is going to close. He was informed last Monday.
2012 ‘Gentle Author’ 259/2
So many have pegged out. I can't get my head round it. I suppose I'm next for the chop.
b. Brit., Austral., and New Zealand colloq. to do a person's head in : to confuse, annoy, or exasperate a person; to drive a person to distraction. Cf. , .
[1967 22 Feb. 6/6
I did his head, I aggravated him.]
1972 G. Greer in Jan. 82/2
I don't think I'm going to sign another copy of a book in a bookstore for the rest of my life... It really used to do my head in, because people would buy the book just for the autograph.
1992 10 Nov. 5/4
The trouble with selling coke is that it really does your head in.
1998 A. Wood
(BBC TV script)
Episode 602. 36
You'd better make up with her soon Bianca 'cos you're doing my head in.
2008 2 Nov. (Mag.) 19
Those six-digit gas meter reading figures do my head in.
(a) to beat (also lick) a person's head off : to defeat a person easily or by a considerable margin. Now rare.
1780 T. Davies II. xlvi. 244
Mr. Garrick used to say, that he would beat Barry's head off in telling all stories but Irish ones.
1855 Jan. 33
Sam informed his brother..that he could ‘lick their heads off’.
1856 G. L. H. in V. Dayrell 39
‘Scroggins’ won the Rio Branco Derby, beating ‘Cauliflower's’ head off.
1880 Dec. 246
Don't let W. G. read this. Alfred Mynn would have licked W. G.'s head off at single wicket.
1885 Jan. 49/1
A. would gain a scholarship at X. College, while B., who could beat A.'s head off at school, was rejected at Y. college.
1929 J. B. Booth ix. 157
Market men..who periodically dropped in to state..that at balancing bushel baskets they could ‘lick Mullins' head off’.
1938 27 May 7/1
He not only beat him, but beat his head off.
1948 25 Sept. 3/2
West could win the next lead and beat his head off with hearts and clubs.
(i) to —— a person's head off and variants: to —— until a person is exhausted, or to an unbearable or wearisome degree; (later also in weakened use) to —— with great vigour or intensity, at great length, etc.Esp. with verbs of speaking; cf. , .
1829 T. Hood in 5 Dec. 396/2
You'll powder both our heads off..with its puff.
1852 R. Bulwer Lytton I. vi. 146
That's the way with the whole sex, they'll talk a man's head off.
1894 G. B. Shaw 3 Dec.
You could, at your worst, talk the heads off most of them.
1910 J. Farnol
ii. ii. 234
He will be swearing your head off in the next ten minutes or so.
1947 3 Aug. ii. 8/3
You can get together with nutritionists and poultrymen and they'll argue your head off convincing you that [etc.].
2008 S. Venkatesh ii. 53
As long as I didn't get too nosy..they talked my head off.
(ii) to —— one's head off : to —— with great vigour or intensity, at great length, etc., esp. to the point of weariness or exhaustion. See also , .
1840 Dickens 26 Nov.
I have nearly written my head off this morning and am dismally stupid.
1872 M. Oliphant I. 29
In society in the evenings yawns his weary head off.
1890 C. C. Harrison ii. 79
What man wants to work his head off to lay up money, and then see a fool and profligate walk away with it?
1951 J. Cornish 11
As term progressed, Saturdays and Sundays..we would sit in our den..talking our heads off.
1985 J. Howker i. 21
We spent this pretty miserable day..not talking much, just smoking our heads off.
2010 C. Grant ix. 91
Those girls look like straight-up groupies, screaming their heads off and trying to touch Greg.
d. colloq. head over: head over heels (in love). See .
1921 E. Levison iv. 55
He's head over in love with Ruth—and she with him.
1924 J. Galsworthy ii. vi. 158
They were head over—the family feud stopped that [marriage].
Billie falls head-over in love with Jay, a gorgeous slam poet.
(a) to put (also bring, lay, set, etc.) their (also our, your) heads together : to consider a matter jointly, to consult or take counsel with one another, to confer.
6 226 (MED)
Siris, ȝe shal putte ȝoure heedis to gidere & chese þre burgeisis of þis constabilrie of þe moost sufficient.
The watyr foulis han here hedis leid To gedere..They seydyn sothly al be on assent How that [etc.].
Hir hedis they leyd to-gidir & begon to tell In what maner the vymmen shuld be answerid.
a1529 J. Skelton
Nay let vs our heddes togyder cast.
1544 J. Bale f. 42
They drewe theyr heades togyther and at the last consented to vse an other practyse.
1623 Bp. J. Hall VII. O.T. xix. 247
They may call a Councell of warre, and lay their heads together.
1682 J. Bunyan 122
And there lay their heads together, and there consult of matters.
1730 T. Cooke 16
As for the first [line], let all the Commentators in Europe set their Heads together, and ring..many Changes upon it.
1761 A. Murphy i. 17
Now are they putting their wise heads together to thwart all my schemes of happiness.
1806 J. Beresford I. v. 98
Those gossiping scenes of a play, in which the lacqueys, and waiting-maids lay their heads together.
1876 M. Reid
The piratical crew bring their heads together, to deliberate about the final step.
1886 S. Baring-Gould I. i. 17
We'll put heads together and consider what is to be done.
1901 R. N. Bain tr. M. Jokai iv. 73
Not unless the Janissaries, or the Debejis, or the Bostanjis lay their heads together and agree to depose the Sultan.
1934 Z. Grey xii. 210
Let's get our heads together and plan the great razoo.
SADC, the king, all parties in Lesotho, as well as civic society need to bring their heads together to find an interim solution for Lesotho.
2011 P. R. Naylor xxix. 260
A bunch of seniors put their heads together and come up with some big joke.
(b) to bang (also knock) heads together and variants: to force the parties involved in a (typically petty or meaningless) dispute to stop arguing and behave in a sensible manner; to enforce cooperation.In some early quots. used more literally, with (the threat of) physical force being employed.
a1652 R. Brome Court Begger iii. sig. Q3v, in
Pray hold your peace. I'le jowle your heads together, and so beat ton with tother else.
1731 N. Salmon III. 177
[He] sets himself up for an Arbitrator of Differences... His Performance is but a kind of Insult on both [Dissenters and Churchmen], in which he would seem to knock their Heads together, and expose both.
1786 J. O'Keefe ii. 31
Flo. Ay, thy love loves me, Dar. Knock their heads together.
a1901 R. W. Buchanan
I suppose they're talking over the business I couldn't understand. How I should like to knock their heads together.
1940 29 Dec. 7/1
We long to..get over there to Europe and bang a few heads together and persuade all the deluded leaders everywhere to act for lasting peace.
1975 D. Bloodworth xxi. 204
Provoking desperate people into believing that they can only bring about unity among men by knocking their moronic heads together.
2004 D. Peck iii. 50
He gained an early reputation as a right-wing critic of the Service who intended to change attitudes and bang heads together where necessary.
In collocation with another noun.
a. with one's head in the air
and variants. Cf.
(a) With an air of superiority, haughtiness, or self-importance. Cf. , .
1788 R. Cumberland IV. xcvii. 38
If he carries his head in the air here, and expects the crowd to make way for him, he will soon run foul of somebody that will make him repent of his stateliness.
1830 E. Bulwer-Lytton I. iv. 56
He trundled his cart with his head in the air, and one day gave the very beadle of the parish ‘the cut direct’.
1883 Dec. 398
It is not the woman who goes about with her head in the air, saying, ‘Look at me, what a superior person I am!’ who is the most respected or well-beloved member of society.
1913 M. Saunders xiv. 245
I did wish she would stop, but she had her head in the air, she saw only her own glorified self, and sailed on and on.
2007 D. D. Birch i. 14
She was the sophisticated, prissy type... You know, the type who always has her head in the air.
(b) In a dreamy, impractical, or unworldly manner. Cf. .
1890 A. Lang 1
He was always called the Star Gazer, because when he drove his cows over the commons.., he went along with his head in the air, gaping at nothing.
1924 W. Orpen ix. 80
You ran the chance of seeing W. B. Y. in the streets, walking along with his head in the air, his thoughts blinding him to the sight of you.
1994 P. Vander Waerdt ii. 53
Socrates recounts..how he undertook to recover from his Aristophanic reputation as an idle chatterer with his head in the air.
b. head of the class: see .
c. to have one's head in the clouds and variants: to be detached from earthly matters; to be out of touch with reality; to be dreamy, impractical, or unworldly. Cf. .
1806 M. Edgeworth II. xlvi. 24
You would have a wife with her head in the clouds, would you?
1819 Apr. 301
A person given to abstraction and solitary speculation is proverbially said to have his head in the clouds.
1852 ‘A. Lothrop’ I. xix. 181
I..have seen him—with his head in the clouds as you say—go stumbling along over the obstacles which had accumulated through his abstraction, and hardly know what they were.
1918 G. F. Lees tr. E. Wetterlé iii. 51
He was regarded before the war as an abstract theorist with his head in the clouds.
1999 2 July 29/2
The creatives I've come across don't tend to have their heads in the clouds or too far up their arses.
9 May 6
Nick nodded, eyes dreamy, head in the clouds.
head of the corner n. a cornerstone; chiefly, and now only, fig. and in figurative contexts, mainly with reference or allusion to biblical use (see quot. ); cf. .
[After post-classical Latin caput anguli (Vulgate), itself after Hellenistic Greek κεφαλὴ γωνίας (New Testament), and ultimately after Hebrew rō'š pinnāh in the psalm (118:22) alluded to by the New Testament passages.]
Se stan þe ða timbriendan awurpon ys geworden to þære hyrnan heafde [L. in caput anguli].]
He is in þe heued of the corner, yleyd and in þe grounde.
Luke xx. 17
The stoon whom men bildinge reproueden, this is maad in to the heed of the corner [1611 King James is become the head of the corner].
1572 J. Bridges tr. R. Gwalther xxvii. 200
Him [sc. Jesus] hath God raised from death, and made him the head of the corner, that is, a Lord and a sauiour, and the ruler of his Churche.
1681 W. Atwood Confut. iii. 76 in
If King William, the Master-builder, refus'd what this Author would make the Head of the Corner.
1730 J. Guyse
They preached thro' Jesus the resurrection of the dead; and that he is become the head of the corner.
1811 Apr. 218/1
In the perfection of this knowledge, consists the primary business of education. It is the foundation-stone, and the ‘head of the corner’; it is alpha and omega, the first and last of our studies.
1912 J. Royce v. 172
For such people the postulate which religion makes the head of the corner is rather a stumbling-stone.
1988 D. D. Honoré p. v
Trevor Huddleston has been a stumbling-block to many, to others the head of the corner of a longed-for building.
The stone that was rejected by Switzerland has become, as it were, the head of the corner in Benin.
(a) over head and ears: (so as to be) completely immersed; (fig.) (so as to be) deeply immersed or involved in something. Cf. , .
?1521 A. Barclay sig. a.iii
Or falles in the mudde bothe ouer heed and eares.
1530 J. Palsgrave 725/2
He souced him in the water over heed and eares.
1581 R. Mulcaster xxvii. 102
To dippe their new borne children into extreme cold water ouer head and eares.
1663 S. Pepys 2 Oct.
My wife, who is over head and ears in getting her house up.
1665 T. Manley tr. H. Grotius 875
The Commonwealth..would run over head and ears in debt.
1690 W. Walker 233
He is over head and ears in love.
1714 E. Budgell tr. Theophrastus ix. 32
He..sowses himself over Head and Ears in the first Tub that stands in his Way.
1768 T. Gray Let. 27 Aug. in
I am..over head & ears in writings.
1834 D. Macmillan in T. Hughes
I am always over head and ears with one trouble or another.
1867 Trollope II. liii. 103
You are over head and ears in debt.
1908 Aug. 574/1
I fell in crossing that Creek; fell in over head and ears, in ice water.
1919 E. Glasgow ii. vii. 303
She wants him just as much as if she were over head and ears in love.
2002 B. Kumar Sahu 84
Many a state government faces a severe resource crunch and is over head and ears in financial trouble.
(b) In the forms head and ears, head over ears in same sense (chiefly fig.).With head over ears, cf. .
1576 A. Fleming tr. Erasmus in 353
That Man..should lye..and shrowde himselfe, head and eares, in slouthfulnesse.
1660 J. Harding tr. Paracelsus i. 100
They..are sunk Head and Ears in the glory of the World.
1675 O. Wills sig. F3
To plunge Men head and ears under Water.
1774 J. Morrison 93
The English..cannot at present afford to pay even a single shilling of dividend, without plunging head over ears in debt.
1809 T. Hill iii. 105
One who was head and ears in love.
1843 A. Bethune 62
He intended..to take a third individual to a horse-pond..and duck him head and ears three times.
1887 C. Fothergill II. 95
He was head over ears in debt when he married her.
a1908 J. S. Lamar in L. L. Knight
II. xxxii. 262
Strong arms..would duck him head and ears in the water.
1920 J. D. Beresford vi. 240
I don't want you to fall head over ears in love with her, and make yourself utterly miserable.
1946 U. Pope-Hennessy xxiii. 351
He falls head over ears in love with Dora Spenlow.
They left this country head and ears in debt.
(c) by (the) head and ears : (with reference to pulling, dragging, etc.) roughly, violently; unceremoniously. Also fig. Cf. , .
1590 ‘Pasquil’ sig. Cv
They haue all vowed to hale thee out of thy trenches by the head and eares.
1650 J. Price 7
Such treacherous, if not traiterous persons as these were, should be pluck't away even by head and ears.
1783 3 Feb. 110
An enthusiast..lugs in the gospel by head and ears, in season and out of season.
1873 17 May 200
An..utterly irrelevant story, lugged in by head and ears.
1911 June 11
Governor Davidson, who—dragged in by head and ears—made but a limp witness before the legislative committee.
1983 I. Avsey tr. F. Dostoyevsky i. ix. 128
‘Drag him here by the head and ears!’ Uncle shouted, stamping his foot.
(a) (from) head to foot (also feet) and variants: all over or throughout a person's body; fig. completely, thoroughly, through and through. Also head and foot. Cf. .In quot. with reference to a full-length portrait.
[After post-classical Latin a capite usque ad pedes (Vulgate).]
eOE tr. Bede
iv. xxxii. 378
Þa he arisende wæs, þa gefelde he his lichoman healfne dæl from þæm heafde oð þa fet [L. a capite usque ad pedes] mid þa aðle geslægene beon, þe Grecas nemnað paralysis.
a1300 in C. Brown
Fram side to side fro hiued to þe fot..oueral þu findest blod.
Ile man..Heued and fet..lesen fro ðe bones and eten.
Lev. xiii. 12
Ȝif..þe rennynge lepre..couere al þe flesch fro þe hed vnto þe feet.
ii. l. 1035 (MED)
Þis ymage, by diuisioun, Was of schap and of proporcioun From hed to foot so maisterly entayled.
c1450 in F. J. Furnivall
Y fond..a man sittynge, From heed to foot woundid was he.
Fro hed to fotte ay was gnawyng Scrattyng fretyng fleyng and styngyng.
a1560 W. Kennedy Passioun of Christ in J. A. W. Bennett
Fra heid to fute þai brak baith hid and ryme.
1596 H. Clapham i. 101
Likewise should Ezra see their whole Monarch, head and foote.
1603 Shakespeare ii. ii. 459
[He] Hath now his blacke and grimme complexion smeered With Heraldry more dismall, head to foote.
1632 T. E. v. xxviii. 389
At Rome, or Reams, where they vse to belie vs head and foot.
1672 M. A. 62
Others in little ease are put And others fast'ned head to foot.
1765 H. Walpole
II. iii. 120
He..leaves..to Lord Rothes the King's picture from head to foot.
1784 R. Bage I. 269
He overthrew it head and foot.
1803 A. Ellicott viii. 212
Blistered by the rhus radicans (poison vine) from head to feet.
1851 Nov. 382/2
The traveller was a handsome cavalier,..a gentleman from head to foot.