head·​line | \ˈhed-ˌlīn \

Definition of headline 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : words set at the head of a passage or page to introduce or categorize

2a : a head of a newspaper story or article usually printed in large type and giving the gist of the story or article that follows

b headlines plural : front-page news the scandal made headlines


headlined; headlining; headlines

Definition of headline (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to provide with a headline

2 : to publicize highly

3 : to be engaged as a leading performer in (a show)



Definition of headline (Entry 3 of 3)

: deserving mention in a headline : very noteworthy the headline abduction of a diplomat

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for headline

Synonyms: Noun

caption, head, header, heading, rubric, title

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of headline in a Sentence


The story of his arrest appeared beneath the headline “Caught!”. She only had time to scan the headlines before she had to rush out the door. Surprising developments have kept the murder investigation in the headlines for several weeks. She has grabbed the headlines by making public accusations of corruption within the government.


The band is headlining the music festival.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the eurozone, the headline measure of inflation watched by the European Central Bank stood at 2% in June. Richard Barley, WSJ, "Investors Have Become Too Complacent About Inflation," 11 July 2018 Nevertheless, our headline result is that for all other demographic divisions and cultural dimensions, cultural distance has been broadly constant over time. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "White Americans love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—and flashlights.," 10 July 2018 Buzz60 Trade wars and tariff talk are a drag on 401(k) plans, as all the grim headlines drown out good news and cap gains in the stock market. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "How 401(k) investors can profit from strong earnings season on Wall Street," 13 July 2018 First, and a big headline: Netflix finally got more nominations than HBO. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Our TV Critics on the 2018 Emmy Nominations," 12 July 2018 Additionally, Abby Huntsman will provide the latest headlines once each morning throughout the weekend. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Facebook’s first wave of ‘trustworthy’ news shows sure includes a lot of Fox News," 11 July 2018 Beyoncé and Jay-Z are heading to South Africa later this year to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela and headline the Global Citizen Festival in his honor. Libby Hill, latimes.com, "Beyoncé, Jay-Z and more set to headline Nelson Mandela celebration in Johannesburg," 9 July 2018 Today’s Opinion page, with its 70-point-type headline declaring President Trump a liar, is just the latest example. Naperville Sun, "Letters to the Editor: Time for moderate views to take center stage, too many anti-Trump opinions in paper, more," 6 July 2018 Update: The headline deal on the Sennheiser HD1 Wireless has expired since this article was first published. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Take 20% off a pair of Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones [Updated]," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Just a little over one year ago, Phoenix released its sixth studio album Ti Amo and celebrated with a headlining set at New York’s Governors Ball. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, "Phoenix Residency at Brooklyn Steel: 5 Best Moments From the Fifth and Final Night," 11 July 2018 Superfly, whose other festivals include the iconic Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and Outside Lands in San Francisco, launched the festival in 2017 with headlining sets by Chance the Rapper, the Killers and Odesza. Ed Masley, azcentral, "Report: Lost Lake Festival to be canceled," 15 June 2018 Mars was to close out the festival with a headlining set Sunday. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, "BottleRock keeps audiences moving at Napa music and culinary festival," 27 May 2018 The May 30 installment of You're Welcome will feature a headlining set from local legend Phil Schallberger. Mike Acker, OregonLive.com, "Portland comics revamp 'You're Welcome' show with music and more," 23 May 2018 Indianapolis icon Kurt Vonnegut likely would have appreciated the wildly varied events on tap for this conference and festival — especially the headlining set from cultural critic and folk cynic Father John Misty. Justin Jacobs, Indianapolis Star, "Jason Aldean concert, Kevin Hart show among top things to do in Indianapolis this May," 1 May 2018 And on Friday, April 6, Supa will belatedly celebrate his album with a headlining set at Metro. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Chicago rapper Supa Bwe laps the pack," 3 Apr. 2018 It’s Elliott who will be headlining this weekend after being one of 50 player participants during the inaugural convention last summer. Clarence E. Hill Jr., star-telegram, "Cowboys star joins Tony Romo as co-owner of fantasy football convention in Fort Worth," 11 July 2018 Schuh has been endorsed by popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who already has headlined a fundraiser for him. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Primary behind them, Schuh and Pittman focus on matchup in county executive race," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

While an Instagram follow-for-follow situation isn't usually headline news, much of Bella Hadid and The Weeknd's on-and-off relationship has quietly played out in the app. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Bella Hadid and The Weeknd Finally Refollowed Each Other on Instagram," 26 July 2018 While headline inflation fell on an annual basis, core inflation was 1.5% in June and was revised up to 1.5% in May from the earlier estimate of 1.4%. Sam Goldfarb, WSJ, "U.S. Government Bonds Strengthen on Soft Economic Data," 1 Aug. 2017 Headline inflation accelerated for a fifth month to 11.9 percent from 11.3 percent during the same period, the state statistics office said Wednesday -- the highest since 2008 and faster than economists forecast. Onur Ant, Bloomberg.com, "Surprise Core Drop Suggests Turkey Inflation May Have Peaked," 3 May 2017

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


1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1906, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about headline

Statistics for headline

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for headline

The first known use of headline was in 1771

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for headline



English Language Learners Definition of headline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the title written in large letters over a story in a newspaper

headlines : the major news stories reported in newspapers, magazines, or television news programs



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

: to provide (a newspaper story) with a headline

: to be the main performer in (a show or concert)


head·​line | \ˈhed-ˌlīn \

Kids Definition of headline

: a title of an article in a newspaper

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on headline

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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