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From Middle English hedlong, alteration of hedling, heedling, hevedlynge ‎(headlong), assimilated to long. More at headling.


  • (file)


headlong ‎(not comparable)

  1. With the head first or down.
  2. With an unrestrained forward motion.
    Figures out today show the economy plunging headlong into recession.
  3. Rashly; precipitately; without deliberation.




headlong ‎(comparative more headlong, superlative most headlong)

  1. Precipitous.
  2. Plunging downwards head foremost.
  3. Rushing forward without restraint.
  4. (figuratively) Reckless, impetuous.
    • 1869, RD Blackmoore, Lorna Doone, II:
      “Time is up,” cried another boy, more headlong than head-monitor.

Derived terms[edit]



headlong ‎(third-person singular simple present headlongs, present participle headlonging, simple past and past participle headlonged)

  1. (transitive) To precipitate.
    • 1862, Thomas Adams, The works of Thomas Adams:
      If a stranger be setting his pace and face toward some deep pit, or steep rock — such a precipice as the cliffs of Dover — how do we cry aloud to have him return ? yet in mean time forget the course of our own sinful ignorance, that headlongs us to confusion.
    • 1905, Liberty Hyde Bailey, The outlook to nature:
      Carriages went up and down in endless pageant. Trolley-cars rushed by, clanging and grinding as they headlonged into the side streets.