headlong

adverb
head·long | \ˈhed-ˈlȯŋ \

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 \

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

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 According to survivors, the migrants, who were without lifejackets, started panicking as high waves struck close to Yemen's shore and were pitched headlong into the rough seas where so many succumbed on Wednesday. Fox News, "UN migration agency: 46 African migrants drown near Yemen," 6 June 2018 And being flung headlong onto a ship deck that smashes your lifelong home to smithereens is certainly motivation enough: as the tale goes, the swarming hordes helped clear the way for the Macedonians to bring their boats ashore. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp," 22 Mar. 2018 Falcao sent Pickford diving headlong before placing the ball through the unguarded center. James Ellingworth, The Seattle Times, "Pickford the hero as England’s penalty curse ends," 3 July 2018 Burnham, a 27-year-old stand-up comedian who first emerged as a YouTube star in the early days of the website, is running headlong at those topics here with his debut film, and the results are resonant. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Eighth Grade Is a Mesmerizing, Heartfelt Portrait of Teenhood," 12 July 2018 That reality had run headlong into Trump's America First agenda, showing that U.S. companies are likely to take action if the Trump trade policies begin to hurt their bottom lines. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "As Trump’s trade war kicks off, Europe celebrates tariff-hit Harley-Davidson," 6 July 2018 Painter, the historian, runs headlong into this modern approach. Kathleen Hirsch, BostonGlobe.com, "A portrait of the artist as an older woman," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Esfahani’s playing is notable for its crisp articulation, headlong momentum, and savvy theatrical effects. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Rebel Harpsichordists," 14 May 2018 The full cost of that headlong spree started becoming clear last year as Chinese authorities, alarmed by mounting financial risks, slammed the brakes on Anbang and peers such as HNA Group. Bloomberg.com, "Three China Insurers Found Violating Investment Rules," 24 Feb. 2018 Its plentiful reproductions vividly trace the headlong first decade of the work of Nina Chanel Abney, a promising painter whose bright, stenciled surfaces draw equally from dire current events and modernist art. Holland Cotter, Roberta Smith And Jason Farago, New York Times, "The Best Art Books of 2017," 14 Dec. 2017 Regarded as a stabilizing figure amid political turbulence and headlong modernization, the king’s passing on Oct. 13, 2016 also evoked anxiety about what comes next as the country confronts the close of an era. Washington Post, "King’s legacy still felt strongly as Thailand bids goodbye," 22 Oct. 2017 The track is 28 minutes long, building continuously before moving into headlong rapture, which was, of course, implicit in everything that had gone before. Geoff Dyer, New York Times, "My Obsession With the Necks, the Greatest Trio on Earth," 4 Oct. 2017

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

23 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

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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