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Alternative forms[edit]


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head-on (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Direct, abrupt, blunt or unequivocal; not prevaricating.
    a head-on approach to a problem
  2. Of a collision, from the front or in the direction of motion.
    Getting into a head-on collision is dangerous.
    • 2021 February 24, Greg Morse, “Great Heck: a tragic chain of events”, in RAIL, number 925, page 39:
      This secondary collision, head-on with a closing speed of 142mph, caused the DVT to veer off to the left. Many of the coaches behind it overturned and careered into an adjacent field.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The adjective is also head on, especially when appearing after the verb, and thus an adverb, as in:
    She likes to tackle problems head on.

Derived terms[edit]



head-on (not comparable)

  1. With the front of a vehicle.
    • 2015, Duncan Bruce, Tanker Jetty Safety – Management of the Ship/Shore Interface (1st 2015 ed; second ed. January 2022)[1], Witherby Seamanship International, →ISBN, 3.1.2:
      Wave direction and frequency (period) are two factors that influence the effect of waves on a moored ship. Whether the ship responds by surging, swaying or yawing will depend on whether the waves are striking the moored vessel head-on, beam-on or quartering, the frequency of the waves and the manner in which the tanker is moored.
  2. With direct confrontation.
    • 1961 January, “Talking of Trains: Flooding at Lewes”, in Trains Illustrated, page 5:
      During the day conditions worsened quickly—for example, a 2-6-0 on the Uckfield line suddenly encountered flood water high enough to enter its ashpan and extinguish its fire—until lock gates up-river at Barcombe gave way and a tidal wave rolled down the valley meeting head-on a spring tide rolling up from the coast.


head-on (plural head-ons)

  1. A collision from the front.
    He was injured in a head-on with a larger vehicle.