English [ edit ]
Alternative forms [ edit ]
Etymology [ edit ]
Middle English , hed , heed , heved , from heaved Old English ( hēafod “ head; top; source, origin; chief, leader; capital ”), from Proto-Germanic ( *haubudą “ head ”), from Proto-Indo-European , *kauput- ( *káput “ head ”), a variant of ( *kapōlo “ head, bowl ”).
Pronunciation [ edit ]
head ( , countable and uncountable plural ) heads
( countable ) The part of the body of an animal or human which contains the brain, mouth , and main sense organs.
Be careful when you pet that dog on the head; it may bite.
: 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, Mr. Pratt's Patients
Afore we got to the shanty Colonel Applegate stuck his head out of the door. His temper had been getting raggeder all the time, and the sousing he got when he fell overboard had just about ripped what was left of it to ravellings.
( people ) To do with heads.
Mental or emotional aptitude or skill.
The company is looking for people with good heads for business.
He has no head for heights.
Mind; one's own thoughts.
This song keeps going through my head.
: 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, Death on the Centre Court
“Anthea hasn't a notion in her head but to vamp a lot of silly mugwumps. She's set her heart on that tennis bloke [… ] whom the papers are making such a fuss about.” A
headache; especially one resulting from intoxication.
1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘Thrown Away’, Plain Tales from the Hills, Folio Society 2005 edition, page 18,
he took them seriously, too, just as seriously as he took the ‘
head’ that followed after drink. A
headdress; a covering for the head.
a laced head; a head of hair An individual
Admission is three dollars a head.
( animals ) To do with heads.
( uncountable , measure word for livestock and game ) A single animal.
200 head of cattle and 50 head of horses
12 head of big cattle and 14 head of branded calves
at five years of age this head of cattle is worth perhaps $40
a reduction in the assessment per head of sheep
they shot 20 head of quail The population of
we have a heavy head of deer this year; planting the hedges increased the head of quail and doves The
antlers of a deer.
( countable ) The topmost, foremost, or leading part.
What does it say at the head of the page?
: 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 10, Mr. Pratt's Patients
Men that I knew around Wapatomac didn't wear high, shiny plug hats, nor yeller spring overcoats, nor carry canes with ivory heads as big as a catboat's anchor, as you might say.
The end of a table.
The end of a rectangular
table furthest from the entrance; traditionally considered a seat of honor.
During meetings, the supervisor usually sits at the head of the table.
( billiards ) The end of a pool table opposite the end where the balls have been racked.
( countable ) The principal operative part of a machine or tool.
The end of a
hammer, axe, golf club , or similar implement used for striking other objects. The end of a
nail, screw, bolt , or similar fastener which is opposite the point; usually blunt and relatively wide.
Hit the nail on the head! The
sharp end of an arrow, spear , or pointer.
The head of the compass needle is pointing due north.
( lacrosse ) The top part of a lacrosse stick that holds the ball.
( music ) A drum head, the membrane which is hit to produce sound.
Tap the head of the drum for this roll. A
machine element which reads or writes electromagnetic signals to or from a storage medium.
The heads of your tape player need to be cleaned.
( computing ) The part of a disk drive responsible for reading and writing data.
( automotive ) The cylinder head, a platform above the cylinders in an internal combustion engine, containing the valves and spark plugs. The foam that forms on top of
beer or other carbonated beverages.
Pour me a fresh beer; this one has no head.
( engineering ) The end cap of a cylindrically-shaped pressure vessel.
( UK , geology ) Deposits near the top of a geological succession.
( medicine ) The end of an abscess where pus collects.
( music ) The headstock of a guitar.
( nautical ) A leading component.
top edge of a sail. The
bow of a vessel.
( UK ) A headland.
( social , countable ) A leader or expert.
The place of honour, or of command; the most important or foremost position; the
The king sat at the head of the table.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
an army of fourscore thousand troops, with the duke Marlborough at the
head of them
Leader; chief; mastermind.
I'd like to speak to the head of the department.
Police arrested the head of the gang in a raid last night.
: 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, Mr. Pratt's Patients
“I don't know how you and the ‘ head,’ as you call him, will get on, but I do know that if you call my duds a ‘livery’ again there'll be trouble. It's bad enough to go around togged out like a life saver on a drill day, but I can stand that 'cause I'm paid for it. What I won't stand is to have them togs called a livery. [… ] ” A
headmaster or headmistress.
I was called into the head's office to discuss my behaviour.
( music , slang ) A person with an extensive knowledge of hip hop.
Only true heads know this. A significant or important part.
A beginning or end, a protuberance.
source of a river; the end of a lake where a river flows into it.
The expedition followed the river all the way to the head. A clump of
seeds, leaves or flowers; a capitulum.
Give me a head of lettuce.
: 2013 May-June, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, “ Wild Plants to the Rescue”, , volume 101, number 3 American Scientist
Plant breeding is always a numbers game. [… ] The wild species we use are rich in genetic variation, [… ] . In addition, we are looking for rare alleles, so the more plants we try, the better. These rarities may be new mutations, or they can be existing ones that are neutral—or are even selected against—in a wild population. A good example is mutations that disrupt seed dispersal, leaving the seeds on the heads long after they are ripe.
ear of wheat, barley, or other small cereal.
( anatomy ) The rounded part of a bone fitting into a depression in another bone to form a ball-and-socket joint.
( nautical ) The toilet of a ship.
I've got to go to the head.
( in the plural ) Tiles laid at the eaves of a house.
(Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?) A component.
( jazz ) The principal melody or theme of a piece.
( linguistics ) A morpheme that determines the category of a compound or the word that determines the syntactic type of the phrase of which it is a member.
We are having a difficult time making head against this wind. Topic;
We will consider performance issues under the head of future improvements.
( uncountable ) Denouement; crisis.
These isses are going to come to a head today.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Ere foul sin, gathering
head, shall break into corruption.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
The indisposition which has long hung upon me, is at last grown to such a
head, that it must quickly make an end of me or of itself.
( fluid dynamics ) Pressure and energy.
A buildup of
fluid pressure, often quantified as pressure head.
Let the engine build up a good head of steam. The difference in
elevation between two points in a column of fluid, and the resulting pressure of the fluid at the lower point. More generally,
energy in a mass of fluid divided by its weight.
( slang , uncountable ) Fellatio or cunnilingus; oral sex.
She gave great head.
( slang ) The glans penis.
( slang , countable ) A heavy or habitual user of illicit drugs.
1936, Lee Duncan, Over The Wall, Dutton
Then I saw the more advanced narcotic addicts, who shot unbelievable doses of powerful heroin in the main line – the vein of their arms; the hysien users; chloroform sniffers, who belonged to the riff-raff element of the dope chippeys, who mingled freely with others of their kind; canned heat stiffs, paragoric hounds, laudanum fiends, and last but not least, the veronal
: 1968, Fred Davis; Laura Munoz, “Heads and freaks: patterns and meanings of drug use among hippies”, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, volume 9, number 2, page 156-64
The term, " head," is, of course, not new with hippies. It has a long history among drug users generally, for whom it signified a regular, experienced user of any illegal drug—e.g., pot "head," meth "head," smack (heroin) "head."
2005, Martin Torgoff, Can't Find My Way Home, Simon & Schuster, page 177,
The hutch now looks like a “Turkish bath,” and the
heads have their arms around one another, passing the pipe and snapping their fingers as they sing Smokey Robinson's “Tracks of My Tears” into the night.
( obsolete ) Power; armed force.
(Can we find and add a quotation of Jonathan Swift to this entry?)
Quotations [ edit ]
See also [ edit ]
Head of a pressurized cylinder.
Head of a two-stroke engine.
head between two points.
Synonyms [ edit ]
( part of the body ) : caput; pate, (slang) noggin, ( slang ) loaf, (slang) nut, (slang) noodle, (slang) bonce
( mental aptitude or talent ) : mind
( mental or emotional control ) : composure, poise
( topmost part of anything ) : top
( leader ) : boss, chief, leader
( headmaster headmistress , ) : headmaster , m headmistress , f principal ( US )
( toilet of a ship ) : lavatory, toilet
( top of a sail ) :
( foam on carbonated beverages ) :
( fellatio ) : blowjob, blow job, fellatio, oral sex
( end of tool used for striking ) :
( blunt end of fastener ) : See also
Antonyms [ edit ]
Usage notes [ edit ]
is to allow it to run freely. This is used for horses, and, sometimes, figuratively for vehicles. give something its head
Derived terms [ edit ]
Terms derived from
Translations [ edit ]
part of the body
( ахы āxə) Afrikaans:
kop (af) Aguaruna:
( サパ sapa), ( パケ pake) Alabama:
kokë f Ancient Greek:
κεφαλή ( f kephalḗ) Angaataha:
رٰأْس (ar) ( f rāʾs)
راس ( f ras), دماغ ( f demāḡ) North Levantine Arabic:
գլուխ ( (hy) glux) Aromanian:
cabeza (ast) , f tiesta (ast) f Avar:
( бекӏер beḳer) Azeri:
baş (az) Bakhtiari:
( سر sar) Baluchi:
( سر sar), ( سرگ sarag) Bashkir:
( баш baš) Basque:
buru , (eu) , kasko gazta (eu) Belarusian:
галава́ ( f halavá) Bengali:
( মাথা matha) Berber:
agayyu , m ixf Borôro:
penn (br) , m pennoù (br) pl Bulgarian:
глава́ (bg) ( f glavá) Burmese:
ခေါင်း ( (my) hkaung:) Buryat:
( толгай tolgaj) Catalan:
cap (ca) m Chamicuro:
( корта korta) Cherokee:
( ᎠᏍᎪᎵ asgoli) Chichewa:
頭 , (zh) 头 ( (zh) tóu), , 頭腦 头脑 ( (zh) tóunǎo) Chuvash:
( пуҫ puś) Coptic:
ⲁⲫⲉ ( f afe), ⲁⲫⲏⲟⲩⲓ ( f pl afyui), ϫⲁϫ ( m d͡ʒad͡ʒ), ϫⲱ ( m d͡ʒō), ⲕⲁⲣⲁ ( f kara), ⲕⲉⲫⲁⲗⲏ ( f kefalī) Sahidic:
ⲁⲡⲉ ( f ape) Corsican:
capu (co) Crimean Tatar:
hlava (cs) f Dalmatian:
cup m Danish:
hoved (da) n Darkinjung:
( бас bas) Dutch:
( of person or horse ) hoofd (nl) , n ( of an animal ) kop (nl) m Egyptian:
( 𓍑𓍑𓁶𓏤 ḏꜣḏꜣ) Esperanto:
pea (et) Evenki:
( дыл dyl) Ewe:
høvd , n høvur n Finnish:
pää (fi) French:
tête (fr) f Friulian:
cjâf , m čhâv m Gagauz:
( თავი tavi) German:
Kopf (de) , m Haupt (de) n ( rarely used
Chopf m Gothic:
𐌷𐌰𐌿𐌱𐌹𐌸 ( n haubiþ) Greek:
κεφάλι (el) ( n kefáli) Greenlandic:
akã Guugu Yimidhirr:
, ngaabaay , gambuugu gudyiir Haitian Creole:
please add this translation if you can Hausa:
ראש (he) ( m rosh) Hindi:
सिर ( m sir) Hungarian:
fej (hu) Icelandic:
höfuð (is) , n ( less formal ) haus (is) m Ido:
kapo (io) Ilocano:
kepala , (id) hulu (id) Interlingua:
( ᓂᐊᖁᖅ niaquq) Irish:
cenn n Primitive Irish:
( qennos qennos) Istriot:
capo , m tiesta f Italian:
testa (it) , f capo (it) m Japanese:
頭 ( (ja) ), あたま, atama ( 頭部 とうぶ, tōbu) ( formally , ) ( 頭 ) こうべ, kōbe ( archaic ) Norman:
tête f Kalmyk:
( толһа tolha) Karachay-Balkar:
głowa f Kazakh:
бас ( (kk) bas), ( кәллә källä) Ket:
( пас pas) Khmer:
ក្បាល ( (km) kbaal) Kikuyu:
머리 ( (ko) meori) Koryak:
ser (ku) Sorani:
( سەر ser) Kyrgyz:
баш ( (ky) baş) Lao:
( ຫົວ hūa) Latgalian:
golva f Latin:
caput (la) n Latvian:
galva (lv) f Laz:
( თი ti) Lithuanian:
galva (lt) f
stedu Low German:
Dutch Low Saxon:
Kop German Low German:
Kopp (nds) Luhya:
гла́ва ( f gláva) Malagasy:
loha (mg) Malay:
kepala , (ms) hulu Malayalam:
തല ( (ml) tala) Maltese:
ras (mt) Mandinka:
kione m Maori:
, māhunga , māhuna , mātenga , pane , upoko uru Mapudungun:
( カナマい kanamay) Mongolian:
( толгой tolgoj) Nahuatl:
cuaitl (nah) Nama:
, bitsiiʼ , atsiiʼ atsiitsʼiin Neapolitan:
capa , f , capuzzèlla , capucchióne càpa Nepali:
( टाउको ṭāukō), ( शिर śira ) Nogai:
( бас bas) North Frisian:
( Föhr-Amrum ) hood n Northern Amami-Oshima:
( 頭 つぃぶる, tsiburu) Norwegian:
hode (no) n Nynorsk:
hovud n Nottoway-Meherrin:
cap (oc) , m tèsta (oc) f Ojibwe:
( 頭 ちぶる, chiburu) Okinawan:
( 頭 ちぶる, chiburu) Old Church Slavonic:
глава ( f glava) Glagolitic:
ⰳⰾⰰⰲⰰ ( f glava) Old English:
hēafod , n hafela m Old French:
, teste chief Old Norse:
hǫfuð n Old Prussian:
gallū , f galwo f Ossetian:
( сӕр sær) Ottoman Turkish:
( باش baş), ( رأس re’s), ( سر ser)، ( کله kelle), ( قفا kafâ) Persian:
سَر ( (fa) sar), کله ( (fa) kalla/kalle) (abusive) Phoenician:
( 𐤓𐤀𐤔 ra'š) Pitjantjatjara:
glåvă f Polish:
głowa (pl) f Portuguese:
cabeça (pt) f Powhatan:
uma (qu) Rohingya:
cap (ro) n Russian:
голова́ (ru) ( f golová) Sanskrit:
( शिर śira) Sardinian:
conca f Scots:
, heid pow Scottish Gaelic:
ceann m Serbo-Croatian:
глава f Roman:
glava (sh) f Shor:
( паш paş) Sicilian:
testa (scn) , f capa (scn) f Sinhalese:
( ඔළුව oḷuva) Slovak:
hlava f Slovene:
glava (sl) , f buča (sl) Sorbian:
głowa f Upper Sorbian:
hłowa f Sotho:
hlooho Southern Altai:
( баш baş) Southern Amami-Oshima:
( 頭 つぃぶる, tsiburu) Spanish:
cabeza (es) , f testa (es) , f maceta (es) f ( Guatemala Nicaragua , , ) marote (es) m ( Argentina Uruguay , , ) sabiola (es) f ( Uruguay ) Sundanese:
( თხვიმ txvim) Swahili:
kichwa (sw) ( c 7/8 ) Swedish:
huvud (sv) , n skalle (sv) c Tagalog:
ulo (tl) Tajik:
сар ( (tg) sar), ( калла kalla) Talysh:
( سر sar) Tamil:
தலை ( (ta) talai) Taos:
баш ( (tt) baş) Telugu:
తల ( (te) tala) Thai:
หัว ( (th) hŭa) Tofa:
( баъш bàş) Tok Pisin:
baş , (tr) kafa (tr) Turkmen:
baş (tk) Tutelo:
( баш baš) Ukrainian:
голова́ (uk) ( f holová) Unami:
سر (ur) ( m sir) Uyghur:
باش ( (ug) bash) Uzbek:
bosh , (uz) kalla (uz) Venetian:
testa , f cao , m cavo m Vietnamese:
đầu ( (vi) 頭 ) (vi) Volapük:
kap (vo) Walloon:
tiesse (wa) Warlpiri:
pen (cy) m West Frisian:
holle , c kop c Wolof:
( бас bas), ( тебе tebe) Yaeyama:
( 頭 つぶり, tsuburi, つぃぶる, tsiburu, つぃぶるぃ, tsiburi) Yiddish:
( קאָפּ kop) Yoron:
( 頭 ちぶる, chiburu) Zhuang:
, gyaeuj gyəuз Zulu:
( human ) ikhanda (zu) class , 5/ 6 ( animal ) inhloko class 9/ 10 ǃXóõ:
mental or emotional control
leader or chief
رَئِيس ( m raʾīs) Armenian:
գլխավոր ( (hy) glxavor), ղեկավար ( (hy) łekavar), ( պետ pet), գլուխ ( (hy) glux) Baluchi:
( سروک sarok) Basque:
buruzagi , (eu) buru , (eu) nagusi Breton:
penn (br) , m pennoù (br) pl Catalan:
cap (ca) , m líder (ca) m, f Crimean Tatar:
hlava (cs) f Dutch:
hoofd (nl) , n baas (nl) , m bazin (nl) , f leider (nl) , m leidster (nl) , f chef (nl) , m cheffin f ( not used often ) Finnish:
päällikkö (fi) French:
chef (fr) m Friulian:
cjâf m German:
Oberhaupt (de) , n Haupt (de) , n Kopf (de) m Greek:
κεφαλή (el) ( f kefalí), κεφάλι (el) ( n kefáli), αρχηγός (el) ( m archigós) Guaraní:
( मुखिया mukhiyā) Indonesian:
kepala , (id) pemimpin (id) Interlingua:
, chef leader Italian:
capo (it) m Japanese:
指導者 ( (ja) しどうしゃ, shidōsha), 頭 ( (ja) ) かしら, kashira Kurdish:
serok (ku) Sorani:
( سەرۆک serok), سەرگەورە
galva (lt) , f vadovas , m vadovė f Low German:
Dutch Low Saxon:
baas m, f German Low German:
Baas (nds) m, f Malay:
kap , m kapa f Maori:
leder (no) , m sjef (no) m Persian:
رهبر ( (fa) rahbar), سالار ( (fa) sâlâr), سر ( (fa) sar) Polish:
kierownik (pl) , m kierowniczka (pl) f Portuguese:
chefe (pt) , m, f cabeça (pt) , m líder (pt) m, f Romanian:
șef (ro) , m cap (ro) , m lider (ro) , m căpetenie (ro) f Russian:
глава́ (ru) ( m, f glavá) Slovene:
poglavar , (sl) vodja (sl) m Spanish:
cabeza (es) , f jefe (es) , m líder (es) m Swahili:
mkuu (sw) ( c 1/2 ) Swedish:
ledare (sv) , c chef (sv) , c direktör (sv) , c föreståndare (sv) c Tamil:
தலைவர் ( (ta) talaivar) Tatar:
баш ( (tt) baş) Telugu:
నాయకుడు ( (te) nāyakuḍu) Tupinambá:
, porubixaba ubixaba Welsh:
pen (cy) m Zulu:
inhloko class 9/ 10
رَئِيس ( m raʾīs) Catalan:
director , m directora f Crimean Tatar:
rehtori , (fi) johtajaopettaja German:
Leiter (de) , m Leiterin (de) , f Rektor (de) , m Rektorin (de) , f Direktor (de) , m Direktorin (de) f Greek:
διευθυντής (el) ( m diefthyntís), διευθύντρια (el) ( f diefthýntria) Japanese:
校長 ( (ja) こうちょう, kōchō), 監督 ( (ja) かんとく, kantoku) Kurdish:
foam on carbonated beverages
the blunt end of a nail, etc.
linguistics: morpheme that determines the category of a compound
Adjective [ edit ]
head ( not ) comparable
Of, relating to, or intended for the head.
Foremost in rank or importance.
: 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 19, The Mirror and the Lamp
At the far end of the houses the head gardener stood waiting for his mistress, and he gave her strips of bass to tie up her nosegay. This she did slowly and laboriously, with knuckly old fingers that shook.
the head cook Placed at the top or the front.
Coming from in front.
head sea; head wind
Synonyms [ edit ]
Antonyms [ edit ]
( coming from in front ) : tail
Translations [ edit ]
of, relating to, or intended for the head
foremost in rank or importance
placed at the top or the front
slang: of, relating to, or for drugs or drug users
head ( third-person singular simple present , heads present participle , heading simple past and past participle ) headed
( transitive ) To be in command of. (See also .)
Who heads the board of trustees?
to head an army, an expedition, or a riot
( transitive ) To strike with the head; as in soccer, to head the ball
( intransitive ) To move in a specified direction.
We are going to head up North for our holiday. We will tomorrow. Next holiday we will head off head out West, or head to Chicago. Right now I need to head into town to do some shopping.
I'm fed up working for a boss. I'm going to head out on my own, set up my own business.
How does the ship head?
( fishing ) To remove the head from a fish.
The salmon are first headed and then scaled.
( intransitive ) To originate; to spring; to have its course, as a river.
A broad river, that
heads in the great Blue Ridge.
( intransitive ) To form a head.
This kind of cabbage heads early.
: 1995, Anne Raver, “Gandhi Gardening”, in Deep in the Green: An Exploration of Country Pleasures, New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 978-0-307-82840-8
To be honest, this hasn't been my Garden of Eden year. [… ] The lettuce turned bitter and bolted. The Green Comet broccoli was good, but my coveted Romanescos never headed up. To form a head to; to fit or furnish with a head.
to head a nail
(Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?) To cut off the top of; to lop off.
to head trees
( obsolete ) To behead; to decapitate.
(Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?) To go in front of; to get in the front of, so as to hinder or stop; to oppose; hence, to check or restrain.
to head a drove of cattle; to head a person; the wind heads a ship To set on the head.
to head a cask
Derived terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
(transitive) be in command of
(transitive) to strike with the head
(intransitive) move in a specified direction
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Translations to be checked
Related terms [ edit ]
Statistics [ edit ]
Anagrams [ edit ]
Estonian [ edit ]
Adjective [ edit ]
partitive singular form of hea
plural form of hea