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


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

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Did you know?

Headlong appeared in Middle English as hedlong, an alteration of the older hedling. 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
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Like many automakers, Mercedes-Benz is rushing headlong into the electric future—with cars such as the EQS and the EQE—but that doesn't mean the brand is forsaking its familiar models. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 16 May 2022 That permissiveness among pastors was about to run headlong into a cultural rebellion against the liberal social movements of the 1960s. Anchorage Daily News, 8 May 2022 That permissiveness among pastors was about to run headlong into a cultural rebellion against the liberal social movements of the 1960s. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 Sergei Loznitsa, the director of Donbass, charges headlong at Ukrainian history’s sensitive topics. David Sims, The Atlantic, 8 Apr. 2022 There are three things preventing the Browns from moving headlong into the Deshaun Watson era: his 22 pending civil suits, his looming suspension and Mayfield’s presence on the roster. cleveland, 3 Apr. 2022 That echoes the decision of Sony’s movie studio arm to not follow its Hollywood peers headlong into cash-burning streaming services. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, 29 Mar. 2022 Romantic pursuit as depicted in contemporary novels and film tends to be short-lived, running dutifully headlong toward the closure of happily ever after or poignant tragedy. Agnes Callard, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Feb. 2022 Yet war is an arena where moral imperatives run headlong into moral complexity. Anna Mulrine Grobe, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Blue Jays center fielder George Springer made the defensive play of the game in the fifth, racing back to the edge of the warning track and ending the inning with a headlong, diving catch of Kevin Plaewcki’s drive. Ian Harrison, Hartford Courant, 25 Apr. 2022 And that raises the question of exactly how they — and, for that matter, the other headlong advances of A.I. — should be unleashed on the world. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2022 The tone of the Tenth Symphony is set in a huge, meandering opening movement, which acquires at times a hurtling headlong energy. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2022 Unless that changes, the headlong pursuit of EVs in Detroit and California alike risks replacing the American driver’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil with an equally problematic reliance on Chinese battery materials. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, 28 Jan. 2022 That headlong, try-everything ambition is all over the place here. Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone, 11 Feb. 2022 Much like mass entertainment, nostalgia is a flight from reality too headlong to admit difficulty. Frank Guan, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 Bringing them to market will require a financial commitment and a headlong march into the green tech economy. Ken Silverstein, Forbes, 18 Jan. 2022 Indeed, Europe is already in the throes of an energy crisis due to its headlong rush to adopt renewables at the expense of traditional thermal power plants. Robert Bryce, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of headlong


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for headlong


Middle English hedlong, alteration of hedling, from hed head

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Time Traveler for headlong

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near headlong

head log



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Statistics for headlong

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Headlong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headlong. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for headlong


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.


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on headlong

Nglish: Translation of headlong for Spanish Speakers


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