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From Middle English spere-hed; equivalent to spear +‎ head.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈspɪə.hɛd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈspɪɹ.hɛd/, /ˈspiɹ.hɛd/
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spearhead (plural spearheads)

  1. The pointed head, or end, of a spear.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter II, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], OCLC 752825175:
      Orion hit a rabbit once; but though sore wounded it got to the bury, and, struggling in, the arrow caught the side of the hole and was drawn out. []. Ikey the blacksmith had forged us a spearhead after a sketch from a picture of a Greek warrior; and a rake-handle served as a shaft.
  2. One who leads or initiates an activity (such as an attack or a campaign).
  3. The leading military unit in an attack.
  4. (sports) A player who initiates attacking moves.
    • 2011 September 2, Phil McNulty, “Bulgaria 0-3 England”, in BBC:
      England played at a tempo in attack that was too much for Bulgaria, with width provided at various times by Walcott, Young and Stewart Downing and Rooney acting as the potent spearhead.



spearhead (third-person singular simple present spearheads, present participle spearheading, simple past and past participle spearheaded)

  1. (transitive) To drive or campaign ardently for, as an effort, project, etc.
    He spearheaded the entire project from day one.
    • 2012 April 21, Jonathan Jurejko, “Newcastle 3-0 Stoke”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Newcastle have put themselves within touching distance after a fantastic run which has been spearheaded by the goals of Senegal striker Cisse.