Definition of headman

1a \ ˈhed-​ˈman How to pronounce headman (audio) \ : foreman, overseer
b \ ˈhed-​ˈman How to pronounce headman (audio) , -​ˌman \ : a lesser chief of a primitive community
2 \ ˈhed-​mən How to pronounce headman (audio) \ : headsman

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Examples of headman in a Sentence

as headman at the newspaper 20 years ago, he hired the then-promising young reporter who won this year's Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting
Recent Examples on the Web Robin Naiding, the mild-mannered gaonbura, or headman, of Baga Dima, a village in the jungled hills northeastern India, isn’t sure why much of humanity enjoys imbibing drinks through a small plastic tube. National Geographic, "For this village in India, sustainability is rooted in tradition," 22 Jan. 2020 In a hamlet nestled deep in Sumatra’s palm country, headman Slamet — who, like many Indonesians, goes by only one name — was eagerly showing off a 267-meter stretch of concrete to the nation’s minister for villages one recent March afternoon. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Road to Indonesia’s Election Runs Through Isolated Villages," 1 Apr. 2019 The headman of the first flood-prone Fijian community resettled by the government bemoans the burial grounds abandoned to the sea. The Economist, "Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts," 17 Aug. 2019 The headman was a strikingly handsome, muscular man, wearing a beaded antelope hide tied over one shoulder, a pair of denim shorts and tire-tread sandals. WSJ, "Hunting in Tanzania the Way Our Earliest Ancestors Did," 9 Oct. 2018 Chickens, dogs, and small children scatter as the chief walks solemnly toward a seating area outside the headman’s hut. Abigail Haworth, Marie Claire, "Hail to the Chief," 19 Mar. 2018 Alan Koch, who was hired in December as an assistant coach and director of scouting and analytics, was the new headman. Charlie Hatch, Cincinnati.com, "Win or lose, FC Cincinnati's biggest win (MLS) could still be months away," 21 Oct. 2017 Village headmen are influential figures in their communities. Kankanit Wiriyasajja, The Seattle Times, "Gunmen in Thai tourist province kill family execution-style," 11 July 2017 Village headmen are influential figures in their communities. Washington Post, "Gunmen in Thai tourist province kill family execution-style," 11 July 2017

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for headman

Time Traveler

The first known use of headman was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Headman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headman. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of headman

: a man who is the leader of a tribe or village

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