head·​hunt | \ ˈhed-ˌhənt How to pronounce headhunt (audio) \
headhunted; headhunting; headhunts

Definition of headhunt

transitive verb

: to recruit (personnel and especially executives) for top-level jobs

intransitive verb

: to recruit personnel for top-level jobs

Examples of headhunt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Nonetheless, some with deep expertise in specific industries or corporate functions have thrived, says Nancy Garrison Jenn, who helps multinationals headhunt the right headhunters. The Economist, "Take me to a leader Corporate headhunters are more powerful than ever," 6 Feb. 2020 There have been headhunting expeditions against Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss, and Sarah Jeong, among others, and the Times mostly has held firm. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "L’Esprit de l’Escalier, the ‘Times,’ Etc.," 27 Aug. 2019 Pay for the highest ranks could top $3 million this year, a few hundred thousand dollars more than a year ago, according to a survey by headhunting firm Options Group. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Biggest Pay Raise on Wall Street Goes to Stock Derivatives Traders," 28 Nov. 2018 Following early success at EMI Classics, Foster was headhunted by Richard Branson to be the founding managing director of Virgin Classics, before going on to lead BMG Classics UK. Regina Cho, Billboard, "Executive Turntable: Promotions at Live Nation, Dick Clark Productions, Partisan Records & More," 26 Jan. 2018 Intelligence service offers ’exciting career change’ Facebook page has wider reach than website, Mossad says Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is turning to Facebook for headhunting help. Alisa Odenheimer, Bloomberg.com, "Israel's Mossad Spy Agency Turns to Facebook for Recruiting," 21 Dec. 2017 At the same meeting, a veteran teacher my school can’t bear to lose admitted he was being headhunted by a better-paying district close to his girlfriend’s house in Silicon Valley. Andrew Simmons, The Atlantic, "The Elusive Teacher Next Door," 28 June 2017 Headhunting went from being an act of valor to a crime. Aurora Almendral, New York Times, "At 100 or So, She Keeps a Philippine Tattoo Tradition Alive," 15 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'headhunt.' 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 headhunt

1969, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about headhunt

Time Traveler for headhunt

Time Traveler

The first known use of headhunt was in 1969

See more words from the same year

Statistics for headhunt

Cite this Entry

“Headhunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headhunt. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on headhunt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for headhunt

Comments on headhunt

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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