Talk:head

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Fastener end[edit]

It is not exactly either the blunt end or the wide end. A bolt has two blunt ends, but only one head. There are types of mechanical fastener that do not have a wide end. (Finishing nails actually do have an end wider that the body of the shaft). There are screw-type fasteners that rely entirely on the friction of the thread for the fastening and have neither a sharp nor a wider end. Feel free to suggest wording on this page if you have a thought but aren't sure. DCDuring TALK 23:22, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, there are two things that all of these heads have in common: they are the end opposite the point, and they are hindmost when the fastener is being inserted. -- Visviva 04:46, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
A bolt or a machine screw doesn't have a point. The defs. I come up with are too wordy. Longman's DCE uses one sense to cover both tools and fasteners and just says the head is a part different from the body of tool or fastener. The head is also almost always the most visible and accessible part once installed. It is only the topmost part if oriented that way, ie, in a headup manner. MW3 refers to a part of something that projects. DCDuring TALK 11:06, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
We could say "opposite the point or tip," dodging the fact that the "tip of a nail" usually refers to the head... But if we must be absolutely correct, there is probably no avoiding wordiness. As far as I'm aware, all pin-type fasteners are driven head-last; perhaps we could say something like "the end of a fastener (...) which is the last to enter the material into which the fastener is driven." -- Visviva 11:47, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Grouping[edit]

A take on definition groups. The sub levels reflect my take of derivation steps. Possibly useful is the group of "differentiated parts" because they seem to be multiply distinguished, but by different sets of features relative to the rest of what they are part of.

  1. body part: above the neck
    1. above the eyebrows;
      1. brain
        1. mind
        2. will
        3. aptitude; composure
    2. part of something where a head lays or rests.
    3. measure
  2. person or cattle (counting)
  3. leader
  4. differentiated part (broader, more visible, top, front)
    1. important, priveleged place (table, queue)
    2. top, front (but face is true front)
      1. page
        1. heading
          1. topic
    3. visible or projecting part: land, fastener
    4. part opposite a tail
    5. focal point of productive activity of a tool, business end: print head, read/write head, hammer
    6. froth (a beer without a head still has an upmost, but not one distinguished from the body)
    7. Distinguishing/defining part: grammar/linguistic sense
    8. dense, leafy cluster (resembling a head?) or seed-bearing part of plant
  5. bursting point
    1. pressure differential
      1. crisis DCDuring TALK 11:06, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Seems plausible, though if we're talking about actually using these in the entry, I'm wary of a system with more than 2 (or at most 3) levels. I'm also bothered by the fact that your #2 is really two senses, which though closely linked do not spring from any actual core sense -- that is, apart from the rather distinct cases of humans and livestock, to my knowledge "head" is never used as a counter... Of course, that kind of situation plagues any subsense approach. Also, I'm somewhat bothered by the relationship among the pressure/crisis senses, but your arrangement seems as plausible as any. -- Visviva 11:41, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes. I'm not sure what I think about an actual entry. I doubt if any dictionary exceeds three levels. On conclusion I came to is that the evolution of meaning for a highly polysemic word like this is not so simple. There seems to be much interaction among the senses ("influenced by" as our etymologies sometimes put it). A strict hierarchy couldn't really always be an accurate map of the relationships, though it could improve the presentation. I don't know what a good overall set of principles for guiding these definitions would be, but it would be nice if there were some, especially if they could be agreed upon or applied without the need for agreement. DCDuring TALK 19:04, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Strike that bit about #2 ... "head" is sometimes used as a proxy for "person," as in "gray heads meeting in council" etc.; that might pass for the superordinate sense. -- Visviva 11:51, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Head = person or herd animal as long as head is still attached!? "Counting heads" is another common usage in that sense. Some meanings seem to survive only in particularly narrow applications.

Another question that's been bothering me is how to treat the meanings that seem to have survived only in the combining form -head. Take bulkhead. Please. It might connect (or be ancestral to) the pressure meanings. Imagine a partition in a ship's hold designed to keep the cargo (bulk has that archaic meaning, surviving in break-bulk) from shifting while also enhancing the structure of the ship. MW3 shows a different ety as their leading possibility. If not that, from what meaning of head does it derive? I have searched out as many single-word entries ending in head as I could and inserted etymologies with {{term}} to provide links to -head. You can take a look via "what links here" at -head.

RFD discussion[edit]

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"Front of a queue" sense. Isn't this just the "foremost part" sense? Does anyone ever say "you can go to the head" when they mean "you can go to the head of the line"? -- Visviva 07:38, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

"At the head of the queue" and "go to the head of the queue" are the most common formulations, "come to the head of the queue" is rarer. When the context is firmly established as being the position in a queue, you could say "You can go to the head" or "I'm at the head", but in both cases I would use either the word "front" instead of "head" or include the word "queue". In other words, delete sense. Thryduulf 11:01, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Can we look at some of the other senses, too, and the rfc, while we're at it? These multi-sense words are killers. Grouping can help a bit. Some of the entries with contexts are closely associated with a more generic sense, more figurative with more concrete (e.g. pus/crisis).
  1. 2nd sense "any round object". A ball or sphere is not automatically a head.
  2. The sense for hammer/axe head is worded to include striking tools so the business end of a lacrosse stick needs to mentioned separately and other non-striking tools and other implements that have parts called heads that are not included.
  3. It doesn't seem to have a good sense for head of lettuce, cauliflower, etc.
  4. The sense for nail doesn't seem to include screw.
  5. Anyone who is willing to take this on should go to the head of the class. DCDuring TALK 01:29, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
1. No, but many round masses are called heads. I have replaced "any" with "a"; is that sufficient?
2. I'm not really familiar with lacrosse terminology, but my understanding is that the rationale for this is similar to the rationale for the guitar sense; it refers to not to the business/top/working end of the stick, but to a very specific part of the stick. As for other tools, I'm sure it's true, but examples would be helpful. Some, like "head of a rake," might be covered by the principal-operating-part sense; or the striking-tool sense might need to be reworded to encompass all hand tools.
3. I guess it depends on whether a seed/flower head and a lettuce head are basically the same thing. My first inclination when reorganizing the defs was actually to put the lettuce example under sense 2; i.e. a head-shaped lump of lettuce, not a capitulum of lettuce -- but other dictionaries seem to disagree.
4. Huh? Why not? The definition mentions screws, and people talk about the heads of screws all the time.
6. I'd be surprised if the pustulent-abscess and crisis senses have any connection; it seems more likely that it is derived from the tendency for the head of the abscess to become round and swollen with pus. -- Visviva 08:34, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm so sorry. I hadn't looked at the edit history. Wow! This is so much improved that I feel like I'm just quibbling, but quibble we must:
  1. I'm not so sure that a round mass not connected to something to make a non-round whole would be said to have a head. The comet usage example is an illustration. Maybe it just has to say "part" in the def.
  2. Too bad "business end" is too idiomatic for defining vocabulary. It seems almost a synonym for some of the senses of head.
    1. The ball-carrying part of a lacrosse stick is the business end. The stick is used (within the rules) for carrying the ball and for holding it while throwing it.
    2. Not just hand tools, but power tools, including industrial ones, also often have heads.
    3. MW3 has 11 subsenses for the sense closest to this (75+ subsenses for "head" as a whole).
  3. I had never known the word capitulum; MW3 uses it as a subsense for an undefined sense, the other half of which is the head-of-lettuce sense.
  4. I think I need another monitor so I can see what I'm writing about while I'm writing. I seem to misrember things. (ie, screw/nail). Huh, indeed.
  5. You are the usage example for head of the class.
  6. I recently got that crisis/abscess relationship from some non-authoritative, but credible source (Crystal or Pinker, I think). They didn't offer any support for the assertion. It seemed to give me a litte aha moment.
  7. Is a well-head ever referred to as the head of a well?
Having a long, single-level list of senses made me use my printer to try to hand-make a hierarchy. A two-level (even three-level hierarchy, as in my MW3) is a little bit of a help in grouping somewhat related definitions. Why is that not done here? The use of "#" allows it technically. DCDuring TALK 11:09, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
7. Seems so. [1] But this is arguably covered by the "topmost part" sense. -- Visviva 12:21, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we should move this discussion back to RfC. Regarding subsenses, I was thinking about the same thing and put together one possible mockup at User:Visviva/head. I agree that this leads to much improved readability, but a) MediaWiki's handling of ## seems less than ideal (it's confusing to have multiple "sense 2's"), and b) if this were going to be implemented on more than an experimental basis, it would require thorough community discussion and a revision of WT:ELE, particularly since some additional fiddling with indentation rules is required. -- Visviva 12:21, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
RfC seems like the right forum. I'm going to collect prior discussions about subsenses and put the links on a user page somewhere. DCDuring TALK 13:47, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Regarding MediaWiki's handling of ##, it would be ideal to have senses labelled as 6, 6.1, 6.2, 7, etc. I would assume that doing this will require a mod by a developer to allow this behaviour to be set on a per-project basis rather than being js or css hackable?
If it does require a developer mod, then we will need to show overwhelming support to have any hope of anything being done this side of 2012. Where do we have the discussion about this? Thryduulf 16:01, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually it is CSS-hackable; MediaWiki just generates <ol> and <li> tags for the list and leaves the rest to the browser. Not sure how feasible it is to have one level numeric and one level alphabetic (which IMO would be ideal), but there must be a way. -- Visviva 00:16, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
The options described at http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/generate.html#propdef-list-style-type are supported by most halfway-modern browsers (though IIRC not IE 6); something like ol > li > ol { list-style-type: lower-alpha; } would do what you describe (as would just ol ol { list-style-type: lower-alpha; }; the former would only affect ordered-lists that are immediate children of ordered-list elements, while the latter would affect any ordered-list that's a descendant of another). I have no thoughts how to do what Thryduulf describes, barring JavaScript that finds them, sets their list-style-type to none, and inserts the right pattern at the beginning of their content — though that would have the down-side of moving the list markers inside the list. To keep the list markers outside the list and do this would be even more complicated. All told, a great thought, but probably not worth it. —RuakhTALK 00:37, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
What I currently have here seems to implement Thryduulf's suggestion fairly well, at least on FF/Windows; however, it may cause undesirable effects with other types of lists. -- Visviva 04:14, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Oh, wow. One of these days I should re-read the CSS 2.1 spec; I had so completely forgotten that those properties even existed, to the extent that they don't even look familiar! At least, I should re-read it before the next time I decide something is impossible. :-P   Anyway, good work. :-)   Something like this would be even better:

ol { counter-reset: subitem }
ol > li { counter-increment: subitem }
ol ol > li { display: block }
ol ol > li:before { content: counters(subitem, ".") ". " }

since for the top-level it would retain the benefits of actual list style (e.g. the ability to have list-style-position be outside, as it is by default; we can halfway-simulate this with something like ol > li { text-indent: -1.5em }, and maybe we should do so for the nested lists if no one can think of a better way, but for the outer list there's no need).

RuakhTALK 11:55, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
This would have to go to BP and Vote, I'm pretty sure. There has, unsurprisingly, been discussion of this: Wiktionary:Beer_parlour_archive/2007/May#subdividing_definitions and Talk:quaint, for example. There are probably other discussions, but I'd rather someone selected a good one that they were involved in rather than me trying to determine the quality and import of something I wasn't involved in. It's worth a review of the prior discussion before we reopen it to see if the issue looks different this time. There also might be something else we could do that was less dramatic to improve the definitions for long, basic, highly polysemic words. We seem to be a little light on guidelines, let alone policy, in this area. There are a few examples of subsenses for particular words. Widsith has been a reasoned advocate of subsenses. Most of the ongoing head additional-sense discussion is back at rfc. DCDuring TALK 17:39, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Resolved. Deleted the definition about the comet head, kept the lacrosse stick and queue senses. --Jackofclubs 12:11, 16 June 2009 (UTC)


RFV discussion[edit]

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Rfv-sense: The front of a queue. Is this ever used without words like "of the queue" or "of the line". Ie, "You can come to the front", unambiguously meaning "of the queue" without saying so. DCDuring TALK 12:41, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Lisp uses head and tail to refer to the endmost items of a list or queue (data structure). I'm probably clutching at straws! Equinox 13:03, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
It's possible that there is a specialized sense needed for that even if the RfV's sense is arguably unnecessary. If so, we should keep this sense with its current wording to include both senses, if that does the computing sense justice. DCDuring TALK 14:22, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
So what if it isn't? You can't possibly be suggesting that head of the line, head of the queue, head of the waiting line, head of the sequence, etc. are all idioms that warrant their own entries? Or are you just saying that this sense should be merged into sense #4? —RuakhTALK 13:46, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
No, they don't seem idiomatic to me. I'd argue for merging senses. Perhaps substituting usage examples or having multiple usage examples that were not full sentences on the same line in an appropriate sense. A long entry like this could use all the help it can get to shorten it without omitting anything truly useful. If we had something like a "quick definitions" show/hide, I wouldn't be so persistent.
Maybe I should just try to come up with some more general approach to enhancing usabilty for long entries that doesn't violate too many of our prevailing norms. DCDuring TALK 14:22, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it is used without "of the line" or "of the queue". I'm reminded of a TMBG song "Mrs. Train", which includes the line: "the line has a missing head" (because no one wants to be first in line). The word line is still present, but not in an adjectival prepositional phrase modifying head. --EncycloPetey 18:51, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Moved to RFC.RuakhTALK 14:39, 23 March 2010 (UTC)


RFC discussion[edit]

still missing some basic dictionary definitions

It is still too easy to find basic words, such as head, which have far fewer meanings listed in Wiktionary than in many a concise dictionary. I pointed this out about head a couple of years ago. Yet it is still missing some simple definitions:-

  • head of steam, head of pressure.
  • head of a door frame
  • it cost him his head (it cost him his ilfe, but his head may still be in place!)
  • $10 per head
  • side of a coin
  • part of a tape or disc player, printer etc
  • promontory
  • events come to a head; a climax
  • the top of a pimple;spot;boil
  • out of one's head; off one's head

etc etc.

some parts are confused:-

  • (countable) The topmost, foremost, leading or principal operative part of anything.

What does it say on the head of the page?
Principal operative part of a machine has nothing in common with head of the page

I previously tried to get some sort of Quality Control Project going on the top 1000 words, but was defeated by apathy (mine and everyone else's). It has to be a team effort, but team efforts never seem to succeed here. Everyone seems to want to do their own thing. So Wiktionary still seriously lacks credibility in it's most basic function - as an English Dictionary.

I'm no longer interested in trying to take this on. But unless quite a decent group takes it on, the dictionary is still going to be lacking credibility, despite all the other wonderous stuff which people spend time adding.--Richardb 00:26, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Possible additional sense:

  1. Will, intention.
    He gave his horse its head.

I am uncertain as to the relationship of -head to head. The entry for -head shows it as a suffix. It is also a combining form, which is not shown in the entry, which possibly needs to have split etymologies. As a combining form it can take most meanings of head. In some cases it might have different meaning, which, of course merit inclusion. Following are two types of usage of -head which are combining forms only if there is a proper associated sense (possibly archaic or obsolete) in head.

  1. Terminus for a means or route segment of transportation; transhipment point
    railhead; bridgehead; beachhead; airhead
  2.  ???
    bulkhead; as in bulkhead line; (pierhead probably already included, also as used in pierhead line). DCDuring TALK 14:23, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
w:Bulkhead_(partition)#Etymology is somewhat illuminating... haven't authenticated that sense yet. -- Visviva 14:44, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

From the Richardb's list we are still missing at least the side-of-a-coin and promontory/placename (used in both -head and head forms) senses. Also as short for heading and, possibly short for header, the top margin of a page. I intend to do a specific comparison with MW3's 75 senses, but only after we have gotten the senses that come to our (collective) minds, taking that as a crude indication of the importance of the senses. DCDuring TALK 14:35, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I am skeptical of those myself. I'm not yet convinced that head is actually used to mean heads (side of a coin) or Head (promontory); these are both quite plausible but need to be verified. I also came up empty when looking for the "heading" sense -- the phrase "a head of north" brings up nothing relevant on b.g.c. The top margin sense probably does need to go in -- I saw it on Wordnet, but was unsure whether it was really distinct from the "topmost part" ("head of the page") sense already present. -- Visviva 14:44, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I'd be amazed if we couldn't find cites for names like "Nag's Head", "Marblehead", which both refer to headlands. If a sense historically must have been a meaning of head in order to now exist as combining forms and parts of proper nouns, I would think that we would show it with some kind of tag. I also wonder if there is a connection between the bulkhead-line and pierhead-line senses and promontory/headland. Because it is all metaphorical and figurative, I find it hard to see why we would exclude the heads/tails sense and include some of the others, especially since not all coins have literal faces or heads on them, though all (???) seem to have an image that includes a head. Perhaps the coin sense belongs at heads, but, if so it will be unhelpful for someone not to find a prominent reference to it at head. DCDuring TALK 15:24, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I have provided 3 cites for the heading/topic sense in citation space. There are abundant citations to be found for the promontory/headland sense using Subject:Pilot Guides at b.g.c. a harbor, bay, bight, or sound has two "heads", only one usually visible from each direction of coastwise navigation. I don't think headlands is really a synonym, because such a head could be relatively low, but still be usefully visible to a navigator. DCDuring TALK 16:19, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

missing sense[edit]

As in head of cabbage. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 06:16, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

It's there, it's just hiding in the middle of all the other senses. Sense 15: "A clump of leaves or flowers; a capitulum. Give me a head of lettuce." Not to say that definition couldn't be improved... - -sche (discuss) 17:34, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

RFC discussion 2[edit]

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RFV discussion:

Rfv-sense: The front of a queue. Is this ever used without words like "of the queue" or "of the line". Ie, "You can come to the front", unambiguously meaning "of the queue" without saying so. DCDuring TALK 12:41, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Lisp uses head and tail to refer to the endmost items of a list or queue (data structure). I'm probably clutching at straws! Equinox 13:03, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
It's possible that there is a specialized sense needed for that even if the RfV's sense is arguably unnecessary. If so, we should keep this sense with its current wording to include both senses, if that does the computing sense justice. DCDuring TALK 14:22, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
So what if it isn't? You can't possibly be suggesting that head of the line, head of the queue, head of the waiting line, head of the sequence, etc. are all idioms that warrant their own entries? Or are you just saying that this sense should be merged into sense #4? —RuakhTALK 13:46, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
No, they don't seem idiomatic to me. I'd argue for merging senses. Perhaps substituting usage examples or having multiple usage examples that were not full sentences on the same line in an appropriate sense. A long entry like this could use all the help it can get to shorten it without omitting anything truly useful. If we had something like a "quick definitions" show/hide, I wouldn't be so persistent.
Maybe I should just try to come up with some more general approach to enhancing usabilty for long entries that doesn't violate too many of our prevailing norms. DCDuring TALK 14:22, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it is used without "of the line" or "of the queue". I'm reminded of a TMBG song "Mrs. Train", which includes the line: "the line has a missing head" (because no one wants to be first in line). The word line is still present, but not in an adjectival prepositional phrase modifying head. --EncycloPetey 18:51, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Moved to RFC.RuakhTALK 14:39, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

So, does anyone want to tackle either (1) cleaning up this sense to remove the problematic implication, or (2) merging this sense with another one? (And if someone wants to track down the cite that EP mentions and add it to the entry and/or citations page, that would also be nice.)
RuakhTALK 14:54, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

The usage example continues to seem wrong, which suggests some limitations of the distribution. I have slightly reworded the sense to "The front, as of a queue." Does the usage example not bother anyone else, say, from the US. DCDuring TALK 11:29, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
It does bother me. —RuakhTALK 12:26, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I've changed it to a missing Webster 1913 sense (which it might originally have been garbled from anyway): "the place of honour, or of command; the most important or foremost position; the front" — with a couple of citations. Equinox 21:24, 24 November 2013 (UTC)