1 of 3


: a message that alerts or prepares : warning
gave him a heads-up that an investigation was pending


2 of 3


: showing or requiring keen awareness and swift action
heads-up football
a heads-up player
Alex Rodriguez's heads-up play helped give Seattle the upper hand in a 3-2 victory Saturday against Baltimore.Chuck Johnson

heads up

3 of 3


used as a warning to look out for danger especially overhead or to clear a passageway

Examples of heads-up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Speaking with Billboard earlier in the year, Boone gave a heads-up on his new material. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 5 Apr. 2024 Can be tiresome to have to consider providing a heads-up for the AI. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 So, a heads-up, dear friends, that this newsletter will be going on hiatus for a couple of months after this week’s edition. Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2024 Mahomes has asked him to give her a heads-up before big things happen. Lisa Gutierrez, Kansas City Star, 6 Mar. 2024 Chiefs coach Andy Reid was upset, though, because officials usually give a heads-up when a player is lined up in the neutral zone. Howard Fendrich, USA TODAY, 6 Feb. 2024 Here are my tips about doing so at the link here, thus a heads-up on avoiding mistakes that newbies experience when using generative AI at the get-go. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 The flight crew said their ears popped, and the captain said his head was pushed into the heads-up display (HUD) and his headset was pushed up, nearly falling off his head. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 6 Feb. 2024 But just a heads-up, tax returns are once again due on April 15. Anthony De Leon, Los Angeles Times, 30 Jan. 2024
With Spalding still trailing by two with one minute left, Lamothe helped make the difference with a heads-up play. Glenn Graham, Baltimore Sun, 3 Mar. 2023 The heads-up play allowed quarterback Max Duggan an extra second to make the pass to Quentin Johnston, who scored a 76-yard touchdown. Dallas News, 2 Mar. 2023 By then, Perry was up 52-40 on a 3 by 6-8 senior Cody Williams, a great heads-up, back-door bounce pass from Peat to Williams to close the third quarter, and a dagger 3 by Barron Silsby with 6:13 left. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 24 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heads-up.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1981, in the meaning defined above


1913, in the meaning defined above


1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of heads-up was in 1913

Dictionary Entries Near heads-up

Cite this Entry

“Heads-up.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heads-up. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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