dead·​head | \ ˈded-ˌhed How to pronounce deadhead (audio) \

Definition of deadhead

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who has not paid for a ticket
2 : a dull or stupid person
3 : a partially submerged log
4 Deadhead : a devoted fan of the rock group the Grateful Dead The bond between the [Grateful] Dead and the Deadheads was extraordinary.— Bill Barich
5 gardening : a faded blossom on a flowering plant Pansies are still available for late spring bloom. Keep deadheads off.— Edith Henderson


deadheaded; deadheading; deadheads

Definition of deadhead (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make especially a return trip without a load
2 : to deadhead a plant

transitive verb

: to remove the faded flowers of (a plant) especially to keep a neat appearance and to promote reblooming by preventing seed production

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Synonyms & Antonyms for deadhead

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of deadhead in a Sentence

Noun people knew that he was a deadhead and voted for him anyway Verb She's out in the garden deadheading the rosebushes.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In very hot inland areas, be more conservative and deadhead very lightly. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Labor Day weekend pruning of roses sets the stage for autumn blooms," 5 Sep. 2020 Use zinnias as cut flowers or deadhead spent blooms to encourage new blooms. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: Full-color summer shrubs for your San Antonio garden," 4 June 2020 Uber spokesman Harry Hartfield said the company is still not convinced that the garage is the best way to cut down on the deadhead trips., "The controversial new Logan drop-off rules, the first of their kind in the nation, were," 24 Dec. 2019 After all, a deadhead relaxing in a passenger seat is paid the same as a working crew member. Elliott Hester,, "That flight attendant in a passenger seat? He's not on duty so leave him alone," 1 July 2019 Recently Jonah Hill has been dressing like a former deadhead turned dad, recovered burnout, and grillmaster who just likes to unwind on weekends. Liz Raiss, GQ, "Jonah Hill Has Gone Full Tie-Dye," 1 June 2018 Beyond a dwindling number of beachcombers hoping to make a buck, and mariners wishing to avoid striking deadheads, why should anyone care? Brian Payton, Smithsonian, "How Driftwood Reshapes Ecosystems," 9 Feb. 2018 Living deadheads can welcome this new musical, which draws on the music and lyrics of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "What’s New in NYC Theater," 26 Oct. 2017 Deadheads know everything there is to know about late frontman Jerry Garcia, his bandmates, and every nuanced version of every Dead song ever played. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Grateful Dead Doc Director on Hating the Term 'Jam Band' & Why So Few Women Are In the Film," 2 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On the least healthy bushes, maintain foliage and deadhead just the bloom. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Labor Day weekend pruning of roses sets the stage for autumn blooms," 5 Sep. 2020 Kris doesn't deadhead her peonies even though some people believe that doing so can increase the flowers of certain varieties the following year. Johanna Silver, Better Homes & Gardens, "More Than 1,000 Peonies Fill This Colorful Midwestern Garden," 8 Apr. 2020 The latest rules are supposed to reduce deadheading by 30 percent., "controversial decision to centralize ride-hail operations," 12 Dec. 2019 Goldfinches feed on the seed heads of my coneflowers, so cutting them back or deadheading removes this food source for the birds. Tim Johnson,, "Skipping this fall chore can actually make your garden more attractive in winter," 2 Nov. 2019 Most flight attendants would rather deadhead than work a flight. Elliott Hester,, "That flight attendant in a passenger seat? He's not on duty so leave him alone," 1 July 2019 Keep deadheading annual flowers and pulling out dead ones. Real Estate, "Ask the Gardener: Unhappy hosta? The solution may be in your fridge," 5 Sep. 2019 Garden with lower maintenance plants that don’t need as much water, pruning, staking and deadheading. oregonlive, "How to create a garden that’s accessible to all," 2 Sep. 2019 Keep plant blooms deadheaded after they are finished blooming. Betty Cahill, The Denver Post, "Ten tips to ensure a healthy lawn during a Colorado summer," 27 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deadhead.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deadhead


1841, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1911, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for deadhead

Time Traveler

The first known use of deadhead was in 1841

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deadhead.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of deadhead

: to remove dead flowers from (a plant)

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