Definition of headman

1a \ ˈhed-​ˈman How to pronounce ˈhed-ˈman (audio) \ : foreman, overseer
b \ ˈhed-​ˈman How to pronounce ˈhed-ˈman (audio) , -​ˌman \ : a lesser chief of a primitive community
2 \ ˈhed-​mən How to pronounce ˈhed-mən (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 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 Zurga prods his townspeople into urgent business: A new village headman must be chosen. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Review: A Precious Harvest in ‘The Pearl Fishers’ at the Met," 1 Jan. 2016 The Labuschagnes also gave radios to community headmen around the park, encouraging them to phone in suspicious activities, and promising tighter security in the region. Brent Stirton, National Geographic, "The Rare African Park Where Elephants Are Thriving," 28 Jan. 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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The first known use of headman was before the 12th century

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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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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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