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headlong

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adverb head·long \ˈhed-ˈlȯŋ\

Definition of headlong

  1. 1 :  headfirst 1

  2. 2 :  without deliberation :  recklessly rushes headlong into danger

  3. 3 :  without pause or delay

headlong was our Word of the Day on 01/04/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of headlong in a Sentence

  1. I dove headlong to the floor.

  2. plunged headlong into the crowd in pursuit of the purse snatcher

Did You Know?

Headlong appeared in Middle English as "hedlong," an alteration of the older "hedling" or "hedlynge." "Hedling" is a combination of the Middle English "hed" ("head") and "-ling," an adverb suffix which means "in such a direction or manner." Thus, "hedling" originally meant "with the head foremost" or, if you will, "in the direction of the head." By the late 1400s, influenced by its use in the compound word endlong, the adjective "long" began to be regarded as a suffix and a variant of "-ling." It was this substitution of "-ling" with "-long" that led to the replacement of words like "sideling" and "headling" with the now more familiar "sidelong" and "headlong."

Origin and Etymology of headlong

Middle English hedlong, alteration of hedling, from hed head


2

headlong

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adjective head·long \ˈhed-ˌlȯŋ\

Definition of headlong

  1. 1 archaic :  steep, precipitous

  2. 2 :  lacking in calmness or restraint :  precipitate a headlong torrent of emotion

  3. 3 :  plunging headfirst

Examples of headlong in a Sentence

  1. terrified forest creatures in a headlong retreat from the rapidly spreading fire

First Known Use of headlong

circa 1533

Synonym Discussion of headlong

precipitate, headlong, abrupt, impetuous, sudden mean showing undue haste or unexpectedness. precipitate stresses lack of due deliberation and implies prematureness of action. the army's precipitate withdrawal headlong stresses rashness and lack of forethought. a headlong flight from arrest abrupt stresses curtness and a lack of warning or ceremony. an abrupt refusal impetuous stresses extreme impatience or impulsiveness. an impetuous lover proposing marriage sudden stresses unexpectedness and sharpness or violence of action. flew into a sudden rage

HEADLONG Defined for English Language Learners

headlong

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adverb

Definition of headlong for English Language Learners

  • : with the head leading

  • : without taking time to think about your actions


HEADLONG Defined for Kids

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headlong

play
adverb head·long \ˈhed-ˈlȯŋ\

Definition of headlong for Students

  1. 1 :  headfirst The boys dove headlong into a pile of leaves.

  2. 2 :  without waiting to think things through Don't rush headlong into marriage.


2

headlong

play
adjective head·long \ˈhed-ˌlȯŋ\

Definition of headlong for Students

  1. 1 :  1rash, impulsive “I don't rush into things in your headlong way, Anne.” — Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

  2. 2 :  plunging headfirst He made a headlong run for the exit.



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sad or melancholy

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