Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


combining form
indicating a person having a preoccupation as specified: breadhead.



1. the anterior or upper part of the vertebrate body, containing the skull with mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and brain.
2. the corresponding part of the body in invertebrates.
3. the head considered as the center of the intellect; mind; brain: a good head for mathematics.
4. the position or place of leadership, greatest authority, or honor.
5. a person to whom others are subordinate, as the director of an institution; leader or chief.
6. a person considered with reference to his or her mind, attributes, status, etc.: wise heads; crowned heads.
7. the part of anything that forms or is regarded as forming the top or upper end: head of a pin; head of a page.
8. the foremost part or front end of something or a forward projecting part: head of a procession.
9. the part of a weapon, tool, etc., used for striking: the head of a hammer.
10. a person or animal considered as one of a number, herd, or group: a dinner at $20 a head; ten head of cattle.
11. the approximate length of a horse's head, as indicating a margin of victory in a race.
12. a culminating point, usu. of a critical nature; crisis or climax: to bring matters to a head.
13. froth or foam at the top of a liquid: the head on beer.
a. any dense flower cluster or inflorescence.
b. any other compact part of a plant, usu. at the top of the stem, as that composed of leaves in the cabbage.
15. the maturated part of an abscess, boil, etc.
16. a projecting point of a coast, esp. when high, as a cape, headland, or promontory.
17. Also, heads. the obverse of a coin, as bearing a head or other principal figure(opposed to tail).
18. one of the chief parts or points of a written or oral discourse.
19. something resembling a head in form or a representation of a head, as a piece of sculpture.
20. the source of a river or stream.
21. Slang.
a. a habitual user of an illicit drug (often used in combination): an acid-head; a pothead.
b. a fan or devotee (usu. used in combination): a punk-rock head; a chili head.
22. heads, alcohol produced during the initial fermentation.
23. headline.
24. a toilet or lavatory, esp. on a boat or ship.
a. the forepart of a vessel; bow.
b. the upper edge of a quadrilateral sail.
c. the upper corner of a jib-headed sail.
26. Gram.
a. the member of an endocentric construction that can play the same grammatical role as the construction itself.
b. the member of a construction upon which another member depends and to which it is subordinate.
27. the stretched membrane covering the end of a drum or similar musical instrument.
28. a level or road driven into solid coal for proving or working a mine.
29. any of various devices on machine tools for holding, moving, indexing, or changing tools or work, as the headstock or turret of a lathe.
30. (loosely) the pressure exerted by confined fluid: a head of steam.
a. the vertical distance between two points in a liquid, as water, or some other fluid.
b. the pressure differential resulting from this separation, expressed in terms of the vertical distance between the points.
32. any of the parts of a tape recorder that record, play back, or erase magnetic signals on audiotape or videotape.
33. first in rank or position; chief; leading; principal: a head official.
34. of or for the head (often used in combination): head covering; headgear.
35. situated at the top, front, or head of anything (often used in combination): headline; headboard.
36. moving or coming from a direction in front, as of a vessel: head tide.
37. Slang. of or pertaining to drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug users.
38. to go at the head of or in front of; lead: to head a list.
39. to outdo or excel: to head one's competitors in a field.
40. to be the head or chief of (sometimes fol. by up): to head a school.
41. to direct the course of; turn the head or front of in a specified direction: I'll head the boat for the shore.
42. to go around the head of (a stream).
43. to furnish or fit with a head.
44. to take the head off; decapitate; behead.
45. to get in front of in order to stop, turn aside, attack, etc.
47. to propel (a soccer ball) by striking it with the head, esp. with the forehead.
48. to move forward toward a point specified; go in a certain direction: to head toward town.
49. to form a head: Cabbage heads quickly.
50. (of a river or stream) to have the head or source where specified.
51. head off, to hinder the progress of; intercept.
1. come to a head,
a. to suppurate, as a boil.
b. to reach a crisis; culminate.
2. get one's head together, to get oneself under control; become sensible.
3. give someone his or her head, to allow someone freedom of choice.
4. go to one's head,
a. to overcome one with exhilaration, dizzyness, or intoxication.
b. to fill one with conceit.
5. hang or hide one's head, to manifest shame.
6. head and shoulders, by an impressively great amount: head and shoulders above the rest in talent.
7. head over heels,
a. headlong, as in a somersault.
b. intensely; completely: head over heels in love.
c. impulsively; carelessly: They plunged head over heels into the fighting.
8. head to head, in direct opposition or competition.
9. keep one's head, to remain calm and effective.
10. lay or put heads together, to meet in order to discuss, consult, or scheme.
11. lose one's head, to become uncontrolled or wildly excited.
12. make head(s) or tail(s) of, to understand or interpret to even a small extent (often used in the negative).
13. make heads roll, to dismiss numbers of employees or subordinates.
14. on one's head, as one's responsibility or fault.
15. out of one's head or mind,
a. insane; crazy.
b. delirious; irrational.
16. over one's head, beyond one's comprehension, ability, or resources.
17. turn someone's head,
a. to make someone smug or conceited.
b. to confuse someone.
[before 900; Middle English he(v)ed, Old English hēafod, c. Old Saxon hōbid, Old High German houbit, Old Norse haufuth; akin to Old Norse hǫfoth, Latin caput]


a noun suffix of state or condition (godhead; maidenhead), occurring in words now mostly archaic or obsolete, many being superseded by forms in -hood.
[Middle English -hede, Old English *-hǣdu, akin to -hād -hood]


Bessie, 1937–86, South African novelist.