dead·​head | \ˈded-ˌhed \

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



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

airhead, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, bubblehead, chowderhead, chucklehead, clodpoll (or clodpole), clot [British], cluck, clunk, cretin, cuddy (or cuddie) [British dialect], dim bulb [slang], dimwit, dip, dodo, dolt, donkey, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard, dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead, idiot, ignoramus, imbecile, jackass, know-nothing, knucklehead, lamebrain, loggerhead [chiefly dialect], loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mug [chiefly British], mutt, natural, nimrod [slang], nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noddy, noodle, numskull (or numbskull), oaf, pinhead, prat [British], ratbag [chiefly Australian], saphead, schlub (also shlub) [slang], schnook [slang], simpleton, stock, stupe, stupid, thickhead, turkey, woodenhead, yahoo, yo-yo

Antonyms: Noun

brain, genius

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Examples of deadhead in a Sentence


people knew that he was a deadhead and voted for him anyway


She's out in the garden deadheading the rosebushes.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Having assembled candid interviews with the Bay Area band, road crew, family members and notable Deadheads, Bar-Lev reveals the untold history of the Dead and the freewheeling psychedelic subculture that sprouted up around it. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "TV tonight: New Grateful Dead documentary debuts on Amazon," 2 June 2017 For hardcore Deadheads, only a Ken Burns-style, 14-hour PBS miniseries could truly do the topic justice — maybe someday., "Movie picks: 'Obit,' Grateful Dead documentary, 'Smokey and the Bandit,' QDoc," 17 May 2017 Then again, as one superfan explains in this film, most don’t become Deadheads without some sort of mentor. Jordan Hoffman,, "Long Strange Trip," 26 Jan. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Combine the spinosad treatment option with deadheading with a string mower when and if the foliage shows any lace bug symptoms. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "The lantana treatment catch-22 and what to do about it," 29 June 2018 If deadheaded, a single plant will produce dozens of flowers over a two-month period. Earl Nickel, San Francisco Chronicle, "Dazzling poppy and calendula brighten the winter garden," 16 Mar. 2018 Then we're instructed about watering, feeding, mulching, staking and deadheading. Homes & Gardens Of The Northwest Staff,, "Garden book review: Bold, beautiful 'Flower-Powered Garden'," 30 May 2018 Continue to deadhead: Remove faded, dead flowers from cool-season bedding plants, such as foxglove, columbine, snapdragon and dianthus. Dan Gill,, "This week's gardening tips: stake tomato plants and add sod," 29 Apr. 2018 Troubleshooting tips are specific, from deadheading to natural pesticides, and in typical Martha Stewart fashion, there is a chapter on tools and vessels for arranging flowers. Lisa Boone,, "Martha Stewart’s new flower book is making us green with envy," 21 Mar. 2018 New bushes planted this year, as well as climbers, old garden roses and large shrubs should only be deadheaded and not fall pruned. Rita Perwich,, "Roses: Proper pruning can bring a burst of fall blooms," 31 Aug. 2017 The plants literally cover themselves with flowers when in full bloom, and the plants stay neat looking without deadheading. Dan Gill,, "Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunia is the latest Louisiana Super Plants for fall 2017," 30 Sep. 2017 Try to deadhead as regularly as possible to encourage continued flowering. Dan Gill,, "This week's gardening tips: deadhead flowerbeds, ignore milkweed aphids," 8 July 2017

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

The first known use of deadhead was in 1841

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English Language Learners Definition of deadhead

: to remove dead flowers from (a plant)

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something that serves to warn or remind

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