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 The village headman said his neighbors were discussing how best to maintain their neighbor’s Trump shrine. New York Times, "He Built a Trump Statue and Worshiped It. Then He Collapsed.," 14 Oct. 2020 Tipping the scales at 175 pounds and measuring 6 feet 3 inches, the play of Abney during summer drills netted the comment of LSU Coach Bernie Moore and the Tiger headman foresees plenty of action from the gangling youngster in games to come. NOLA.com, "From the Files of The Farmer," 6 Oct. 2020 Emerging as the headman of the peaceful protest movement, Stefan Perez, the 16-year-old leader of Monday's protest, held a bullhorn and urged people to go home just before the 8 p.m. curfew. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit protests, Day 5: Group on eastside defies curfew, police box in and make arrests," 2 June 2020 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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Headman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headman. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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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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