head

noun
\ ˈhed How to pronounce head (audio) \

Definition of head

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the upper or anterior division of the animal body that contains the brain, the chief sense organs, and the mouth nodded his head in agreement
2a : the seat of the intellect : mind two heads are better than one
b : a person with respect to mental qualities let wiser heads prevail
c : natural aptitude or talent a good head for figures
d : mental or emotional control : poise a level head
e : headache
3 : the obverse (see obverse entry 2 sense 1) of a coin usually used in plural call heads or tails
4a : person, individual count heads
b plural head : one of a number (as of domestic animals) sold twenty head of cattle
5a : the end that is upper or higher or opposite the foot the head of the table head of a sail
b : the source of a stream or river the head of the Nile
c : either end of something (such as a drum) whose two ends need not be distinguished
6 : director, leader: such as
b : one in charge of a division or department in an office or institution the head of the English department met with the other department heads
b : the foliaged part of a plant especially when consisting of a compact mass of leaves, flowers, or fruit a head of lettuce a single head of grain
8a : the leading element of a military column or a procession
b : headway often she had to fight for her head as the press of sail buried her bow— C. V. Reilly
9a : the uppermost extremity or projecting part of an object : top the head of a bolt
b : the striking part of a weapon, tool, or implement the head of an ax
c : the rounded proximal end of a long bone (such as the humerus)
d : the end of a muscle nearest the origin
e : the oval part of a printed musical note
10a : a body of water kept in reserve at a height also : the containing bank, dam, or wall
b : a mass of water in motion (as in a rip current)
11a : the difference in elevation between two points in a body of fluid
b : the resulting pressure of the fluid at the lower point expressible as this height broadly : pressure of a fluid an engine with a full head of steam
12a : the bow and adjacent parts of a ship
b : a ship's toilet broadly : toilet sense 1
13 : the approximate length of the head of a horse won by a head
14 : the place of leadership, honor, or command at the head of her class
15a(1) : a word or series of words often in larger letters placed at the beginning of a passage or at the top of a page in order to introduce or categorize
(2) : a separate part or topic heads of a sermon
b : a portion of a page or sheet that is above the first line of printing
16 : the foam or scum that rises on a fermenting or effervescing liquid (such as beer)
17a : the part of a boil, pimple, or abscess at which it is likely to break
b : culminating point of action : crisis events came to a head
18a : a part or attachment of a machine or machine tool containing a device (such as a cutter or drill) turret head of a lathe also : the part of an apparatus that performs the chief function or a particular function a drill head
b magnetic recording : an electromagnet used as a transducer for recording on, reading, or erasing a magnetic medium (such as tape or a disk)
19 grammar : an immediate constituent of a construction that can have the same grammatical function as the whole (such as man in "an old man," "a very old man," or "the man in the street")
20a : one who uses a drug often used in combination pothead
b : a devoted enthusiast : aficionado often used in combination computerhead
21 usually vulgar : fellatio, cunnilingus usually used with give
by the head
: drawing the greater depth of water forward
off one's head out of one's head
: delirious Her parents were out of their heads with worry.
over one's head
1 : beyond one's comprehension or competence the most awful intellectual detail, all of it over my head— E. B. White
2 : so as to pass over one's superior standing or authority went over my head to complain

head

adjective

Definition of head (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or intended for the upper or anterior division of the animal body that contains the brain, the chief sense organs, and the mouth : of, relating to, or intended for the head (see head entry 1 sense 1) head injuries
2 : principal, chief head cook
3 : located at the end that is upper or higher : situated at the head (see head entry 1 sense 5a) head sails
4 : coming from in front head sea

head

verb
headed; heading; heads

Definition of head (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : behead
2a : to put the striking part of a weapon, tool, or implement on : fit a head (see head entry 1 sense 9b) to head an arrow
b : to form the uppermost extremity or projecting part of : to form the head or top of tower headed by a spire
3 : to act as leader or director of : to act as head (see head entry 1 sense 6) to head a revolt
4a : to get in front of so as to hinder, stop, or turn back head a herd of cattle
b : to take a lead over (as in a race) : surpass
c : to pass (a stream) by going round above the source
5a : to place something at the beginning or top of (something) in order to introduce or categorize : to put something at the head of (something, as a list) Each page was headed with the writer's name.
b : to stand as the first or leading member of heads the list of heroes
6 : to set the course of head a ship northward
7 : to hit and propel (something, such as a soccer ball) with the head (see head entry 1 sense 1) headed the ball into the goal

intransitive verb

1 : to form a compact mass of leaves or fruit : to form a head (see head entry 1 sense 7b) This type of cabbage heads early.
2 : to point or proceed in a certain direction headed south
3 : to have a source : originate The river heads in those mountains.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for head

Synonyms: Noun

bean, block [slang], dome, mazard (or mazzard) [chiefly dialect], nob, noddle, noggin, noodle, nut [slang], pate, poll

Synonyms: Adjective

chief, commanding, first, foremost, high, lead, leading, preeminent, premier, presiding, primary, prime, principal, supereminent, supreme, top

Synonyms: Verb

bear, make

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of head in a Sentence

Noun

She patted the dog on the head. He nodded his head in agreement. The ceiling's low—watch your head!

Adjective

as head editor at the TV station for 17 years, he has hired and fired innumerable staff members

Verb

The group was headed by the church pastor. He was accused of heading the revolt. I hopped in the car and headed down the street. After lunch, we headed back to the office. She headed out early this morning. The birds have already started heading south for the winter. The forward headed the ball into the goal.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There's always one shot that leaves a golfer shaking his or her head. Mike Hutton, Post-Tribune, "Crown Point's Yianni Kostouros keeps momentum going in Northern Amateur," 19 July 2017 Delimitros said one of the truck’s side view mirrors struck her in the head, causing minor injuries. David Hernandez, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Police: Pickup driver deliberately hits traffic controller near Convention Center," 19 July 2017 Cal Fire representatives said the current parking mess has already impacted them because the driveway to their station enters the highway not far from the trail head. J. Harry Jones, Ramona Sentinel, "Groups brainstorm solutions to Mt. Woodson parking," 19 July 2017 Now, Maineri heads into year 12 with 18 pitchers on his roster, hoping that rising junior Caleb Gilbert and sophomore-to-be Zach Hess will emerge at the top of the pitching rotation. John Roach, NOLA.com, "LSU's Ed Orgeron answers on ESPN: 'What is the biggest change you've brought?'," 19 July 2017 Turning this on its head, the susceptibility of Bose– Thilo Stöferle, Ars Technica, "The science of Spectral: Is that really how Bose–Einstein condensate behaves?," 18 July 2017 Head over to PCWorld’s comprehensive Windows 10 Creators Update review for the full rundown and extensive hands-on impressions, or our round-up of the Creators Update’s best new features. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Windows 10 Creators Update FAQ: Everything you need to know," 17 July 2017 The Senate bill would also require the head of Air Force Space Command to serve for six years, rather than two or four years. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Space Corps Military Branch Approved by House," 15 July 2017 Facing a potential recall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has a huge head start on anyone who wants to run for his job. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett raised $123,000 in first six months of the year," 14 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Rams must replace quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, who took over as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "McVay, Goff begin shaking off Rams’ loss, focusing on future," 5 Feb. 2019 The dinner was his final interview to be the team’s head coach. ... Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Inside the Rams’ Historic Decision to Hire a 30-Year-Old Head Coach," 28 Jan. 2019 Police said the Joseph Iles was wearing a helmet but suffered critical life-threatening internal and head injuries. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "NKY motorcyclist in I-275 crash dies of injuries, surrounded by family," 11 July 2018 The stretch between Prairie du Sac and Spring Green is the most popular, so head west for a quieter experience. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin bucket list: 20 things you have to do," 17 May 2018 Both Alice and Jackie suffered facial and head injuries, and Alice was knocked unconscious. Indianapolis Star, "Sister, mother of fallen deputy Koontz attacked at Howard County Courthouse," 26 Mar. 2018 Mariota will now have to adjust to yet another head coach - his third in four seasons - and a new offensive style. Geoffrey C. Arnold, OregonLive.com, "Tom Brady injures throwing hand, but expected to play in AFC Championship game," 18 Jan. 2018 With Isaiah Crowell's future uncertain and head coach Hue Jackson having no clue how to keep Duke Johnson involved for all four quarters, Jones makes plenty of sense. cleveland.com, "2018 NFL Mock Draft: All 12 picks for Cleveland Browns," 12 Jan. 2018 CBC News reported the team’s head coach, Darcy Haugan, was one of the people killed in the incident. Fox News, "Crash of hockey team's bus leaves at least 15 dead, town devastated," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The bill, which introduces tax incentives and cuts red tape, passed the National Assembly early Saturday, where Mr. Macron’s party has a commanding majority, and now heads to the Senate for debate. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "French Lawmakers Approve Steps to Speed Restoration of Notre Dame," 10 May 2019 That means either Raj heads to London, or the relationship is done. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory," 10 May 2019 Fresh Concours Restoration The Gulf-Mirage headed to auction at Saratoga is reported to be the third of the three Wyer Gulf-Mirage M2 examples built. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "A Rare 1969 John Wyer Gulf-Mirage M2 Race Car Is up for Auction," 10 May 2019 But the new family of three actually had a run-in with Philip while heading to today's photo call, according to a sweet anecdote shared by new mom Meghan. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle "Bumped Into" Prince Philip With Baby Sussex at Windsor Castle," 8 May 2019 And at its annual software event today, Google went full Star Trek when revealing some new AI tricks headed to Android Q, the latest software that'll find its way into billions of devices. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Google Just Proved That Our Voice Is the Ultimate UI," 7 May 2019 Instead, the normally media-averse Prince Harry stepped outside to gush to the reporters, and even answer questions briefly, before the proud papa headed back inside. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "Baby Sussex Is About to Have Some Seriously VIP Visitors," 7 May 2019 So, what else is Sabrina to do but head to hell herself in order to save her bae? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 3," 9 Apr. 2019 Finally, at midnight, the newlyweds headed to The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia to rest up for a flight to Africa the following morning. Meredith Heuer, Harper's BAZAAR, "Katie Ermilio & Tylee Abbott's Wedding Turned Pennsylvania into the English Countryside—on a Horse Farm," 29 Apr. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of head

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for head

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

Middle English hed, from Old English hēafod; akin to Old High German houbit head, Latin caput

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about head

Dictionary Entries near head

he'd

he'll

he's

head

headache

headache plant

headache post

Statistics for head

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for head

The first known use of head was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for head

head

noun

English Language Learners Definition of head

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the part of the body containing the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
: a person's mental ability : mind or intellect
: a person who has a specified mental or emotional quality

head

verb

English Language Learners Definition of head (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be the leader of (something)
: to be first on (a list)
: to go in a specified direction or toward a specified place

head

noun
\ ˈhed How to pronounce head (audio) \

Kids Definition of head

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the part of the body containing the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
2 : mind entry 1 sense 1 Mom has a good head for figures.
3 : control of the mind or feelings He kept his head during the emergency.
4 : the side of a coin or medal usually thought of as the front
5 : director sense 1, leader She's the head of the school department.
6 : each person among a number Count heads to make sure everyone is here.
7 plural head : a unit of number They own 100 head of cattle.
8 : something like a head in position or use the head of a bed
9 : the place where a stream begins
10 : a tight mass of plant parts (as leaves or flowers) a head of cabbage
11 : a part of a machine, tool, or weapon that performs the main work head of a spear shower head
12 : a place of leadership or honor He is at the head of his class.
13 : climax, crisis Events came to a head.
over someone's head
: beyond someone's understanding Their discussion was way over my head.

head

adjective

Kids Definition of head (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : chief entry 2 sense 1 He's the head coach.
2 : located at the front We sat at the head table.
3 : coming from in front We sailed into a head wind.

head

verb
headed; heading

Kids Definition of head (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to be the leader of She headed the investigation.
2 : to go or cause to go in a certain direction Let's head for home.
3 : to be first or get in front of He heads the list of candidates.
4 : to provide with or form a head This cabbage heads early.

head

noun
\ ˈhed How to pronounce head (audio) \

Medical Definition of head

1 : the division of the human body that contains the brain, the eyes, the ears, the nose, and the mouth also : the corresponding anterior division of the body of various animals including all vertebrates, most arthropods, and many mollusks and worms
2 : headache
3 : a projection or extremity especially of an anatomical part: as
a : the rounded proximal end of a long bone (as the humerus)
b : the end of a muscle nearest the origin
c : the anterior end of an invertebrate : scolex
4 : the part of a boil, pimple, or abscess at which it is likely to break
5 : the end of a lipid molecule that consists of a polar group and is regarded as being opposite to the tail

Other Words from head

head adjective

Keep scrolling for more

head

noun

Legal Definition of head

: any of a number of individuals
by heads
: per capita used in the rules of intestate succession in Louisiana

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on head

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with head

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for head

Spanish Central: Translation of head

Nglish: Translation of head for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of head for Arabic Speakers

Comments on head

What made you want to look up head? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something valued as if it were money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!