make head or tail of

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Verb[edit]

make head or tail of (third-person singular simple present makes head or tail of, present participle making head or tail of, simple past and past participle made head or tail of)

  1. (idiomatic) To understand even minimally.
    See if you can make head or tail of this chapter. I'm baffled.
  2. To determine to be good or bad.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In sense 1, usually with a construction expressing inability, as in "I can't make head or tail of this", "He was unable to make head or tail of some of the pattern-solving puzzles in the IQ test", and so on.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]