in one's head

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Prepositional phrase[edit]

in one's head

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see in,‎ one's,‎ head.
  2. (idiomatic, of information, a plan, etc.) Within one's intellect, memory, or mind.
  3. (idiomatic, of a false belief, delusion, etc.) Within one's imagination; without basis in reality.
    • 1993 Nov. 28, John Schwartz, "Caution: Children at play on information highway," Washington Post (retrieved 9 Dec 2106):
      "Kids disappear into imaginary relationships all the time" . . . but "usually there's a limit to how far that imaginary relationship can go, because it's all in their head."
    • 2006 Oct. 22, Pam Belluck, "Living With Love, Chaos and Haley," New York Times (retrieved 9 Dec 2106):
      When a neurologist ruled out medical causes like Lyme disease, Ms. Abaspour recalled, her husband said, “I think we should just give her a placebo — it’s all in her head.”
    • 2014 April 5, Gwilym Mumford, "True Detective recap: season one, episode seven," Guardian (UK) (retrieved 9 Dec 2106):
      The tape was the piece of evidence that assured Cohle that this grand conspiracy wasn't all in his head.
  4. (idiomatic, mathematics, of performing a calculation) Mentally.
    • 1902, Joseph Conrad, The End of the Tether, ch. 5:
      Captain Whalley, who seemed lost in a mental effort as of doing a sum in his head, gave a slight start.
  5. (idiomatic) Anxious due to overthinking an issue.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In the senses of "within one's mind" and "within one's imagination", sometimes preceded by all as an intensifier emphasizing that the indicated information, belief, etc. is entirely and exclusively within one's mind or imagination.