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dead·​head ˈded-ˌhed How to pronounce deadhead (audio)
: one who has not paid for a ticket
: a dull or stupid person
: a partially submerged log
Deadhead : a devoted fan of the rock group the Grateful Dead
The bond between the [Grateful] Dead and the Deadheads was extraordinary.Bill Barich
gardening : a faded blossom on a flowering plant
Pansies are still available for late spring bloom. Keep deadheads off.Edith Henderson


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deadheaded; deadheading; deadheads

intransitive verb

: to make especially a return trip without a load
: 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

Example Sentences

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
Avoid warm drafts to prolong flowering, and deadhead spent flowers and yellow leaves by pulling off the entire stem near the foliage line. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 24 Oct. 2022 This approach allows an Origin to make multiple deliveries on each trip, thus minimizing the deadhead miles and reducing unit costs and road congestion. Sam Abuelsamid, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 After blooming, deadhead and retain the green shoots until brown, then remove. Jodi Bay, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Sep. 2021 Even at-home style was dominated by two completely different aesthetics: cottagecore versus gratitude journal deadhead. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 10 Dec. 2020 In very hot inland areas, be more conservative and deadhead very lightly. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Sep. 2020 Use zinnias as cut flowers or deadhead spent blooms to encourage new blooms. Calvin Finch,, 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., 24 Dec. 2019 After all, a deadhead relaxing in a passenger seat is paid the same as a working crew member. Elliott Hester,, 1 July 2019
Olga showed the girls how to deadhead roses and immediately delved into their lives. Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2022 McGrath generally doesn’t deadhead, letting the plants take their course. Nancy Hass Ngoc Minh Ngo, New York Times, 23 Sep. 2022 Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Care and Cleaning Lab, uses these shears to deadhead her rose bushes, hydrangeas and other flowering plants. Alyssa Gautieri, Good Housekeeping, 22 Sep. 2022 The best way to keep a plant blooming is to deadhead the blooms. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Journal Sentinel, 25 Aug. 2022 Another good reason to deadhead is to encourage flowers to rebloom. Susan Brownstein, cleveland, 9 Aug. 2022 As flowers start to fade, deadhead frequently to encourage new buds and blooms. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Apr. 2022 Second, when the flowers are finished making their show, deadhead the old blooms to keep them from going to seed. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 7 Jan. 2022 Whenever practical, continue to deadhead cool-season annuals such as pansies, snapdragons and dianthus to keep them blooming through the spring. Dan Gill,, 22 Dec. 2020 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1841, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1911, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deadhead was in 1841

Dictionary Entries Near deadhead

Cite this Entry

“Deadhead.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

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