\ˈhed \

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

a : headmaster

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

7a : capitulum sense 2

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



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


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.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for head

Synonyms: Noun

addict, aficionado (also afficionado), buff, bug, devotee, enthusiast, fan, fanatic, fancier, fiend, fool, freak, habitué (also habitue), hound, junkie (also junky), lover, maniac, maven (also mavin), nut, sucker

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Synonyms: Verb

bear, make

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of head in a Sentence


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


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


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.
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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

From Cyrus: Is it too far-fetched to believe Lane Kiffin returns to Boca for a third year to remain the head coach of Florida Atlantic? Andy Staples, SI.com, "Why Florida's Successful Chris Leak/Tim Tebow QB Model Probably Isn't Right for Alabama This Year," 12 July 2018 The previous director, former UC player Doug Rosfeld, left in December to become head coach at his prep alma mater Moeller High School. Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Bearcats: Former St. Xavier, NFL player Greg Scruggs joins UC football staff," 10 July 2018 Gordon was head coach at Phoenix College the past 14 years. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Duane Eason to leave Mountain Pointe to take Phoenix College men's basketball job," 3 July 2018 Hughes was a volunteer assistant at Georgia last season, but was 128-107-1 in four seasons prior to that as head coach at Oklahoma, taking the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament in 2017. John Maffei, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Palomar coach Buck Taylor joining staff at Kansas State," 2 July 2018 Spurs assistant coach Will Hardy is the team’s head coach. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs rookies Walker, Metu in spotlight Friday," 28 June 2018 After completing his 14th season as head coach of the Oilers, Forsberg is closing in on 200 career wins. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Daily Pilot Softball Dream Team: Unexpected year from Kelli Kufta kept Huntington Beach strong," 8 July 2018 Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy is now the head coach in Chicago, and, other than Mitch Trubisky, Cohen stands to gain the most from the change. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Fantasy Football 2018 Breakouts: Can Patrick Mahomes Make the Leap?," 3 July 2018 Eason was an assistant coach under Matt Gordon at Phoenix College, before Eason became head coach last year at Mountain Pointe. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Duane Eason to leave Mountain Pointe to take Phoenix College men's basketball job," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Since every location's hours can change, call your local store before heading out. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "These Grocery Stores Will Be Open on Thanksgiving Day for Your Last-Minute Needs," 9 Oct. 2018 The royals will also visit Bognor Regis on the South Coast of England to open the University of Chichester's new Technology Park, before heading to The Joff Youth Centre in Peacehaven. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Arrives in Sussex Wearing a Chic Leather Skirt and Nude Heels," 3 Oct. 2018 Of course, not all parks and beaches will allow alcohol on the premises (these 21 shores will allow it, apparently), so check your local laws and regulations before heading out. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "This Outdoor Wine Table Lets You Enjoy Happy Hour Anywhere," 23 July 2018 The second suit was heading for trial until April, when Berrada Properties Management agreed to pay Young $5,000 to settle, saidattorney Amanda Adrian, who represented Young through Legal Aid. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018 But Butcher's hope is that the blimp’s next outing is Scotland, where Trump is due to head after taking tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle on Thursday. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "London Protest Organizers Plan to Take the 'Trump Baby' Blimp on the Road," 13 July 2018 After Gawande was named to head the joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan, some critics said that choosing a physician was a mistake. Alexi Nazem, STAT, "Health care needs more physician CEOs like Atul Gawande," 13 July 2018 Zachary Barnes was looking for a summer internship to finish remaining credits needed for his journalism degree at Michigan State University before heading home to San Diego to begin his career. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "MSU-led internship program helps Detroit move forward," 14 July 2018 The overall favorites should be tested again in Roubaix, before heading down to the Alps next week. New York Times, "Longest Stage of the Tour de France Is Actually a Chance to Relax," 13 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of head


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


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


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

History and Etymology for head


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


see head entry 1


see head entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near head






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

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More Definitions for head



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



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


\ˈhed \

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.



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.


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.


\ˈhed \

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

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Legal Definition of head 

: any of a number of individuals

by heads

: per capita used in the rules of intestate succession in Louisiana

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full of whispering sounds

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