headlong

adverb
head·​long | \ ˈhed-ˈlȯŋ How to pronounce headlong (audio) \

Definition of headlong

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : without deliberation : recklessly rushes headlong into danger
3 : without pause or delay

headlong

adjective
head·​long | \ ˈhed-ˌlȯŋ How to pronounce headlong (audio) \

Definition of headlong (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic : steep, precipitous
2 : lacking in calmness or restraint : precipitate a headlong torrent of emotion
3 : plunging headfirst

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Choose the Right Synonym for headlong

Adjective

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

Did You Know?

Adverb

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."

Examples of headlong in a Sentence

Adverb

I dove headlong to the floor. plunged headlong into the crowd in pursuit of the purse snatcher

Adjective

terrified forest creatures in a headlong retreat from the rapidly spreading fire
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

After throwing herself headlong into the fight, she was seized up by a wight – which, by the way, just never get any less horrifying close up – which summarily crushed her to death. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones," 29 Apr. 2019 Despite the excited, headlong rush of the writing—not since Humbert Humbert has so much impassioned prose been lavished on so nebulous a love-object—the overall tone is elegiac. John Banville, WSJ, "‘Sleeping With Strangers’ Review: Flickers of Desire," 22 Feb. 2019 In the final movement, Ms. Malkki deftly balanced the music’s tumultuous frenzy with symphonic majesty, driving headlong to the brassy climax without a trace of cinematic excess. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Review: A Conductor’s Exciting Return to the New York Philharmonic," 12 Jan. 2018 The world is plunging headlong into an energy transition of unprecedented scale. David Roberts, Vox, "After the midterms, US climate politics are even more polarized. Here’s how Dems can move forward.," 12 Nov. 2018 Entrepreneurs and investors are rushing headlong into the nascent legal marijuana industry, fueling a stock craze reminiscent of the late 1990s dot-com bubble and the recent bitcoin mania. Vipal Monga, WSJ, "Wall Street’s Marijuana Madness: ‘It’s Like the Internet in 1997’," 23 Sep. 2018 Now, Norma Adrianzen and her colleagues and their students learning to be instructors — about 30 in the first cohort — are headlong into a program that combines 20 hours of lectures and 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Newport driving instructor at forefront of getting Saudi women on the road," 29 June 2018 In 1928, Alcoa spun off its Canadian subsidiary, only to watch it smack headlong into the Depression. Danielle Bochove, Bloomberg.com, "Trump’s Trade War Looms Over a Canadian Town Built to Supply America," 28 June 2018 But negotiations, however tedious and imperfect, are surely better than the tensions of late 2017 — when North Korea was proceeding headlong in a race to perfect its intercontinental ballistic missile technology and threatening to bomb Guam. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Uranium enrichment will be a key point in talks with North Korea. Here’s what it is.," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The only way to hit the numbers will be a headlong rush into unprofitable electric vehicles, jeopardizing jobs and... Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Lobbying Is Dead, Says Lobbying Boss," 7 Mar. 2019 Unlike some rivals, Mr. Gindi avoided heavy debt and headlong growth. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Al Gindi Helped Found Century 21 Department Stores, a Discount Fashion Powerhouse," 31 Aug. 2018 This has been going on since 2002 Seems their models simply can't conceive of exponential growth pic.twitter.com/vUwOX9j8fm — AukeHoekstra (@AukeHoekstra) November 19, 2018 This headlong decline in costs is a baffling and amazing phenomenon. David Roberts, Vox, "What made solar panels so cheap? Thank government policy.," 20 Nov. 2018 No, Dems’ practical efforts are best directed toward bottling up Trump’s headlong regulatory rollback and attendant gross corruption. David Roberts, Vox, "After the midterms, US climate politics are even more polarized. Here’s how Dems can move forward.," 12 Nov. 2018 The protests, which left eight people dead and hundreds more injured, drew many citizens to oppose Mr. Erdogan’s headlong drive to modernize Turkey’s cities. New York Times, "A Canal Through Turkey? Presidential Vote Is a Test of Erdogan’s Building Spree," 21 June 2018 Gamay Noir has only a modest tannic payload; its featherweighted finish makes the front end that much more of a headlong rush of movement, broad and forward-leaning, a starburst of flavor. Patrick Comiskey, latimes.com, "Why you should be drinking Gamay Noir this summer," 11 July 2018 Her life is almost nothing besides this desperate, headlong attempt to outlast her own pain. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Sharp Objects Is Stunning, Raw, and Violently Beautiful," 5 July 2018 The golfers are not too far into their round when a father-and-son twosome on an adjoining fairway spots the distinctive Clinton white mane and begins a headlong gallop toward the group, only to be intercepted by a Secret Service agent. Jack Mccallum, SI.com, "The President Is Golfing," 27 June 2018

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

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for headlong

Adverb

Middle English hedlong, alteration of hedling, from hed head

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Statistics for headlong

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for headlong

The first known use of headlong was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for headlong

headlong

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of headlong

: with the head leading
: without taking time to think about your actions

headlong

adverb
head·​long | \ ˈhed-ˈlȯŋ How to pronounce headlong (audio) \

Kids Definition of headlong

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : headfirst The boys dove headlong into a pile of leaves.
2 : without waiting to think things through Don't rush headlong into marriage.

headlong

adjective
\ ˈhed-ˌlȯŋ How to pronounce headlong (audio) \

Kids Definition of headlong (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : rash entry 1, impulsive “I don't rush into things in your headlong way, Anne.”— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
2 : plunging headfirst He made a headlong run for the exit.

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More from Merriam-Webster on headlong

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with headlong

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for headlong

Spanish Central: Translation of headlong

Nglish: Translation of headlong for Spanish Speakers

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