AskDefine | Define head

Dictionary Definition



1 the upper part of the human body or the front part of the body in animals; contains the face and brains; "he stuck his head out the window" [syn: caput]
2 a single domestic animal; "200 head of cattle"
3 that which is responsible for one's thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason; "his mind wandered"; "I couldn't get his words out of my head" [syn: mind, brain, psyche, nous]
4 a person who is in charge; "the head of the whole operation" [syn: chief, top dog]
5 the front of a military formation or procession; "the head of the column advanced boldly"; "they were at the head of the attack" [ant: rear]
6 the pressure exerted by a fluid; "a head of steam"
7 the top of something; "the head of the stairs"; "the head of the page"; "the head of the list" [ant: foot]
8 the source of water from which a stream arises; "they tracked him back toward the head of the stream" [syn: fountainhead, headspring]
9 (grammar) the word in a grammatical constituent that plays the same grammatical role as the whole constituent [syn: head word]
10 the tip of an abscess (where the pus accumulates)
11 the length or height based on the size of a human or animal head; "he is two heads taller than his little sister"; "his horse won by a head"
12 a dense clusters of flowers or foliage; "a head of cauliflower"; "a head of lettuce" [syn: capitulum]
13 the educator who has executive authority for a school; "she sent unruly pupils to see the principal" [syn: principal, school principal, head teacher]
14 an individual person; "tickets are $5 per head"
15 a user of (usually soft) drugs; "the office was full of secret heads"
16 a rounded compact mass; "the head of a comet"
17 the foam or froth that accumulates at the top when you pour an effervescent liquid into a container; "the beer had a large head of foam"
18 the part in the front or nearest the viewer; "he was in the forefront"; "he was at the head of the column" [syn: forefront]
19 a difficult juncture; "a pretty pass"; "matters came to a head yesterday" [syn: pass, straits]
20 forward movement; "the ship made little headway against the gale" [syn: headway]
21 a V-shaped mark at one end of an arrow pointer; "the point of the arrow was due north" [syn: point]
22 the subject matter at issue; "the question of disease merits serious discussion"; "under the head of minor Roman poets" [syn: question]
23 a line of text serving to indicate what the passage below it is about; "the heading seemed to have little to do with the text" [syn: heading, header]
24 the rounded end of a bone that bits into a rounded cavity in another bone to form a joint; "the head of the humerus"
25 that part of a skeletal muscle that is away from the bone that it moves
26 (computer science) a tiny electromagnetic coil and metal pole used to write and read magnetic patterns on a disk [syn: read/write head]
27 (usually plural) an obverse side of a coin that bears the representation of a person's head; "call heads or tails!" [ant: tail]
28 the striking part of a tool; "the head of the hammer"
29 (nautical) a toilet on board a boat or ship
30 a projection out from one end; "the head of the nail", "a pinhead is the head of a pin"
31 a membrane that is stretched taut over a drum [syn: drumhead]
32 oral-genital stimulation; "they say he gives good head" [syn: oral sex]


1 to go or travel towards; "where is she heading"; "We were headed for the mountains"
2 be in charge of; "Who is heading this project?" [syn: lead]
3 travel in front of; go in advance of others; "The procession was headed by John" [syn: lead]
4 be the first or leading member of (a group) and excel; "This student heads the class" [syn: head up]
5 direct the course; determine the direction of travelling [syn: steer, maneuver, manoeuver, manoeuvre, direct, point, guide, channelize, channelise]
6 take its rise; "These rivers head from a mountain range in the Himalayas"
7 be in the front of or on top of; "The list was headed by the name of the president"
8 form a head or come or grow to a head; "The wheat headed early this year"
9 remove the head of; "head the fish"

User Contributed Dictionary



heafod, from Proto-Germanic *|khaubuthan, from Proto-Indo-European *|kauput-. Cognate with German Haupt, Dutch hoofd, Swedish huvud; the Indo-European root is also the source of Latin caput.


  • , /hɛd/, /hEd/
  • Rhymes: -ɛd


  1. The part of the body of an animal or human which contains the brain, mouth and main sense organs.
    Be careful when you pet that dog on the head; it may bite.
  2. A round, compact object or mass.
    As a comet moves away from the sun, the tail is in front of the head.
  3. Mental or emotional aptitude or skill.
    The company is looking for somebody with a good head for business.
    He has no head for heights.
  4. Mind; one's own thoughts.
    This song keeps going through my head.
  5. The topmost, foremost, or leading part.
    What does it say on the head of the page?
  6. The end of a rectangular table furthest from the entrance; traditionally considered a seat of honor.
    During meetings, the supervisor usually sits at the head of the table.''
  7. The end of a pool table opposite the end where the balls have been racked.
  8. The principal operative part of a machine.
  9. The end of a hammer, axe, or similar implement used for striking other objects.
  10. The end of a nail, screw, bolt or similar fastener which is opposite the point; usually blunt and relatively wide.
    Hit the nail on the head!
  11. The sharp end of an arrow, spear, or pointer.
    The head of the compass needle is pointing due north.
  12. The source of a river; the end of a lake where a river flows into it.
    The expedition followed the river all the way to the head.
  13. The front of a queue.
    Because you got them all right, you can go to the head of the line.
  14. Headway; progress.
    We are having a difficult time making head against this wind.
  15. The foam that forms on top of beer or other carbonated beverages.
    Pour me a fresh beer; this one has no head.
  16. The top part of a lacrosse stick that holds the ball.
  17. Leader; chief; mastermind.
    I'd like to speak to the head of the department.
    Police arrested the head of the gang in a raid last night.
  18. A headmaster or headmistress.
    I was called into the heads office to discuss my behaviour.
  19. A headache; especially one resulting from intoxication.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘Thrown Away’, Plain Tales from the Hills, Folio Society 2005 edition, page 18,
      he took them seriously, too, just as seriously as he took the ‘head’ that followed after drink.
  20. A clump of leaves or flowers; a capitulum.
    Give me a head of lettuce.
  21. The rounded part of a bone fitting into a depression in another bone to form a ball-and-socket joint.
  22. An individual person.
    Admission is three dollars a head.
  23. A single animal.
    200 head of cattle
  24. Topic; subject.
    We will consider performance issues under the head of future improvements.
  25. A morpheme that determines the category of a compound or the word that determines the syntactic type of the phrase of which it is a member.
  26. The principal melody or theme of a piece.
  27. Deposits near the top of a geological succession.
  28. The end of an abscess where pus collects.
  29. denouement; crisis
    These isses are going to come to a head today.
  30. A machine element which reads or writes electromagnetic signals to or from a storage medium.
    The heads of your tape player need to be cleaned.
  31. The headstock of a guitar.
  32. A drum head, the membrane which is hit to produce sound.
    Tap the head of the drum for this roll.
  33. The end cap of a cylindrically-shaped pressure vessel.
  34. The cylinder head, a platform above the cylinders in an internal combustion engine, containing the valves and spark plugs.
  35. A buildup of fluid pressure, often quantified as pressure head.
    Let the engine build up a good head of steam.
  36. The difference in elevation between two points in a column of fluid, and the resulting pressure of the fluid at the lower point.
  37. The top of a sail.
  38. The bow of a nautical vessel.
  39. The toilet of a ship.
    I've got to go to the head.
  40. uncountable slang Fellatio or cunnilingus; oral sex
    giving head
  41. The glans penis.
  42. countable slang A heavy or habitual user of illicit drugs.
    • 2005, Martin Torgoff, Can't Find My Way Home, Simon & Schuster, page 177,
      The hutch now looks like a “Turkish bath,” and the heads have their arms around one another, passing the pipe and snapping their fingers as they sing Smokey Robinson's “Tracks of My Tears” into the night.


Usage notes

  • To give something its head is to allow it to run freely. This is used for horses, and, sometimes, figuratively for vehicles.
part of the body
mental aptitude or talent
mental or emotional control
topmost part of anything
leader or chief
headmaster, headmistress
toilet of a ship
top of a sail
  • German: Top
foam on carbonated beverages
  • German: Blume, Krone, Schaumkrone
  • Swedish: bornyr, fradga, skum
end of hammer, etc.
  • Finnish: hamara
  • German: Kopf
  • Kurdish: ser
  • Lithuanian: galva
  • Russian: головка
  • Spanish: cabeza
  • Swedish: huvud
the blunt end of a nail, etc.
  • Czech: hlava
  • Finnish: kanta, pää
  • German: Kopf
  • Kurdish: ser
  • Lithuanian: galvutė
  • Russian: головка
  • Spanish: cabeza
  • Swedish: huvud


  1. Of, relating to, or intended for the head.
  2. Foremost in rank or importance.
    The head cook.
  3. Placed at the top or the front.
  4. Coming from in front.
    head sea
    head wind



of, relating to, or intended for the head
foremost in rank or importance
placed at the top or the front
  • Hebrew: ראש (rosh)
  • Russian: передний, верхний
  • Swedish: främst, först
coming from in front
  • Finnish: vasta-
  • Russian: встречный
  • Swedish: mot-
slang: of, relating to, or for drugs or drug users


  1. To be in command of. - see also head up
    Who heads the board of trustees?
  2. To strike with the head; as in soccer, to head the ball
  3. To move in a specified direction. heading towards something
    We are going to head up North for our holiday. We will head off tomorrow. Next holiday we will head out West, or head to Chicago. Right now I need to head into town to do some shopping.
    I'm fed up working for a boss. I'm going to head out on my own, set up my own business.
  4. To remove the head from a fish.
    The salmon are first headed and then scaled.


(transitive) be in command of
(transitive) to strike with the head
  • German: köpfen
  • Spanish: cabecear
  • Swedish: nicka, skalla
(intransitive) move in a specified direction

Related terms

Extensive Definition

In anatomy, the head of an animal is the rostral part (from anatomical position) that usually comprises the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth (all of which aid in various sensory functions, such as sight, hearing, smell, and taste). Some very simple animals may not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do.

Anatomy generally

Bilateral symmetry

The very simplest animals do not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do. Vertebrates in particular have distinctive heads, which is associated with the development of the neural crest in the developing vertebrate embryo. The contents of the vertebrate head are protected by an enclosure of bone called the skull, which is attached to the spine. The head is the most complex anatomical construct in the anatomy of vertebrates.
The head is of singular importance as it contains the brain, the nerve center in animals.

Cultural import

For humans, the head and particularly the face are the main distinguishing feature between different people, due to their easily discernible features such as hair and eye color, nose, eye and mouth shapes, wrinkles, etc.
People who are more intelligent than normal are sometimes depicted in cartoons as having bigger heads, as a way of indicating that they have a larger brain; in science fiction, an extraterrestrial having a big head is often symbolic of high intelligence. However, minor changes in brain size do not have much effect on intelligence in humans.
In English slang, sometimes a boastful individual is said to have a "big head."
The weight of the average adult human head is about 3.6 kilograms or 8 pounds.


In many cultures, covering the head is seen as a sign of respect. Often, some or all of the head must be covered and veiled when entering holy places, or places of prayer. For many centuries, women in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia have covered their hair as a sign of modesty. This trend has changed drastically in Europe in the 20th Century, although is still observed in other parts of the world. In addition, a number of religious paths require men to wear specific head clothing- such as the Jewish yarmulke, or the sikh turban; or Muslim women, who cover their hair, ears and neck with a scarf.
Different headpieces can also signify status, origin, religious/spiritual beliefs, social grouping, occupation, and fashion choices.


Cole Hobson, Nottingham, England holds the U.K record for the biggest head (area) this was achieved in January 2008.


  • Campbell, Bernard Grant. Human Evolution: An Introduction to Man's Adaptations (4th edition), ISBN 0-202-02042-8
head in Arabic: رأس
head in Aymara: P'iqi
head in Breton: Penn
head in Bulgarian: Глава
head in Catalan: Cap (anatomia)
head in Chuvash: Пуç
head in Czech: Hlava (člověk)
head in Welsh: Pen
head in Danish: Hoved
head in Pennsylvania German: Kopp
head in German: Kopf
head in Dhivehi: ބޯ
head in Erzya: Пря
head in Spanish: Cabeza
head in Esperanto: Kapo
head in Basque: Buru
head in Persian: سر
head in French: Tête (anatomie)
head in Scottish Gaelic: Ceann
head in Galician: Cabeza
head in Korean: 머리
head in Ido: Kapo
head in Indonesian: Kepala
head in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Capite
head in Icelandic: Höfuð
head in Italian: Testa
head in Hebrew: ראש
head in Pampanga: Buntuk (anatomy)
head in Kongo: Ntu
head in Haitian: Tèt
head in Latin: Caput
head in Lingala: Motó
head in Lojban: stedu
head in Malayalam: തല
head in Marathi: डोके
head in Malay (macrolanguage): Kepala
head in Dutch: Hoofd (anatomie)
head in Japanese: 頭
head in Norwegian: Hode
head in Pangasinan: Olo
head in Polish: Głowa
head in Portuguese: Cabeça
head in Romanian: Cap (anatomie)
head in Quechua: Uma
head in Russian: Голова
head in Scots: Heid
head in Albanian: Koka
head in Sicilian: Testa
head in Simple English: Head
head in Slovak: Hlava
head in Slovenian: Glava
head in Silesian: Gowa
head in Serbian: Глава
head in Sundanese: Sirah
head in Finnish: Pää
head in Swedish: Huvud
head in Tagalog: Ulo
head in Telugu: తల
head in Turkish: Kafa
head in Ukrainian: Голова
head in Võro: Pää
head in Yiddish: קאפ
head in Dimli: Sere
head in Samogitian: Galva
head in Chinese: 头

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

A per se, Adamite, Big Brother, LSD user, MD, Vernunft, WC, abbreviation, abbreviature, abrege, abridgment, abstract, ace, acidhead, acknowledgments, acmatic, addict, address, administer, administrate, administrator, agua, aim, alcoholic, ament, antecede, anterior, anteriority, apex, apical, aptitude, aptness, aqua, arch, argument, ascendant, at the head, auditor, avert, back, back matter, backhouse, banner, banner head, basement, basis, bastard title, bathroom, be in front, be master, be responsible for, be the bellwether, be the front-runner, beacon, beak, bean, bear, bear for, bear up for, bear up to, bearing, beginning, being, belfry, bend to, bent, bias, bibliography, big cheese, bill, block, blood, boatswain, body, bold front, boltrope, boost, boss, bracket, bracket capital, brain, brainpan, brains, branch, brave face, brave front, break for, break ground, break the ice, breakers, breakwater, brief, brow, bump, bunt, burden, butt, call the signals, can, canvas, cap, cape, capital, capitulum, capsheaf, capsule, captain, caption, caput, cardinal, carry on, case, cast, caste, cat, catch line, catchword, category, catkin, chain smoker, chair, chairman, champion, chap, chapter, character, chersonese, chief, chief executive officer, chieftain, chump, clan, class, clew, climax, closet, cloth, cocaine sniffer, cock, coconut, cokie, collar, colophon, come before, come first, comfort station, command, commander, commanding, commencement, compend, completely, comptroller, conception, concern, conclusion, condensation, condensed version, conduce, conduct, cone, conk, consciousness, conspectus, consummate, contents, contents page, contribute, control, controller, controlling, convenience, copyright page, coral reef, cornice, corymb, cranium, crapper, create, creature, crescendo, crest, cringle, crisis, critical point, crop, crowd of sail, crown, crumpet, cubehead, culminate, culmination, customer, cut off, cyme, dash for, dean, decapitate, decollate, dedication, deeply, delta, derivation, descend, dig, digest, dipsomaniac, direct, directing, directive, directorial, directory, discipline, discourse of reason, discursive reason, display, dispose, divert, division, dome, dominant, dope fiend, doper, draft, drinking water, drop, drop head, dropline, drug abuser, drug addict, drug user, drunkard, duck, ead, earing, earth closet, earthling, eau, employer, encephalon, endleaf, endpaper, endsheet, engineer, entirely, epigraph, epitome, errata, esprit, essence, estate, facade, face, facet, facia, faculty, fellow, fend off, fiend, first, first place, flair, fleece, floor manager, floorman, floorwalker, flyleaf, foam, focus of attention, focus of interest, folio, font, foot, fore, fore edge, fore-and-aft sail, forefront, foreground, forehand, foreland, foreman, foremost, forepart, forequarter, foreside, forestall, foreword, forge ahead, forward, fount, fountainhead, freak, front, front elevation, front man, front matter, front page, front view, frontage, frontal, frontier, frontispiece, frost, froth, fugleman, fully, gaffer, ganger, general, genesis, genius, get ahead of, get before, gist, glue sniffer, go, go before, go for, go in advance, gourd, govern, governing, governor, grade, grass roots, gravitate, gray matter, ground water, groundling, group, grouping, guide, guiding, guillotine, guy, habitual, half-title page, hand, handle, hanger, hard water, have a tendency, have priority, have the start, head of hair, head off, head over heels, head the line, head the table, head up, heading, headland, headline, headman, headmaster, headmistress, headmost, headpiece, headstream, headwater, headwaters, heavy smoker, heavy water, hegemonic, hegemonistic, hierarch, higher-up, highest, hit for, hold a heading, homo, honcho, hook, hophead, human, human being, hustle, hydrol, hydrometeor, hydrosphere, hype, ice, imprint, in ascendancy, in charge, in chief, in the ascendant, inception, incline, index, individual, inhibit, initiate, inscription, inspector, intellect, intellection, intellectual faculty, intelligence, intercept, introduction, invent, issue, jab, jog, joggle, john, johnny, johnny house, joker, jolt, jostle, jump head, junkie, kick off, kin, knack, label, lap, lather, latrine, laureate, lavatory, lay for, lead, lead off, lead on, lead the dance, lead the way, leader, leadership, leading, leaf, lean, leech, legend, level, life, light out, light the way, limewater, living issue, living soul, loaf, locks, loo, look to, luff, madly, maiden, main, main point, make, make for, make the rules, make up to, makeup, man, manage, managerial, managing, managing director, mane, maneuver, manipulate, marijuana smoker, master, mastermind, mat, matter, matter in hand, maximal, maximum, meat, mens, mental capacity, mentality, meridian, meridional, meringue, methhead, mind, mineral water, miniature, monitor, mop, mortal, motif, motive, motto, mousse, move, mull, muslin, narcotics addict, naze, necessary, neck, ness, noddle, noggin, noncommissioned officer, nonpareil, noodle, nose, nous, nudge, nut, obverse, officer, offscum, one, order, organ of thought, origin, original, originate, origination, outhouse, outline, outrank, outstrip, outtop, overarch, overline, overman, overmost, oversee, overseer, overtop, overview, pace, page, pallet, pandect, panicle, paragon, paramount, party, pate, peak, peninsula, perception, perceptiveness, person, personage, personality, pigeonhole, pillhead, pine cone, pinhead, pioneer, plain sail, plunge, point, point at issue, point in question, point to, poke, poll, portrait, portraiture, portrayal, position, pothead, powder room, power of reason, precede, precipitate, precis, predicament, predominant, predominate, preeminent, preface, prefix, preliminaries, premier, prepollent, preponderant, preponderate, prepotent, prescribe, preside over, president, press, press of sail, pressure, prevalent, prevent, primary, prime, prime minister, principal, priority, privy, problem, proceed, proctor, prod, prodigy, profile, promontory, proscenium, provenience, psyche, puff, pull the strings, punch, push, quarterback, question, race, raceme, radical, radix, rag, rain, rainwater, rank, rate, rating, ratio, rationality, reason, reasoning, reasoning faculty, recto, redound to, reduced sail, reef, reef point, reefed sail, regnant, regulate, regulating, regulative, regulatory, reigning, rest room, reverso, review, ridge, rise, riverhead, rocker, root, rubric, rule, ruler, ruling, run, run for, running head, running title, sail, sail for, salt water, sandspit, scalp, scarehead, sconce, screamer, scud, scum, sea foam, sea water, seat of thought, section, senior, sensation, sensorium, sensory, sept, serve, set, set out, set out for, set the pace, set toward, settle, shag, shock, shortened version, shove, show a tendency, signature, silhouette, single, sink, sirdar, skeleton, sketch, skipper, skull, slave driver, smarts, snowbird, soapsuds, soft water, somebody, someone, souffle, soul, source, sovereign, spadix, spearhead, speed freak, spike, spikelet, spindrift, spit, spoondrift, spray, spread, spreadhead, spring water, spume, spur, square sail, stand first, stand in front, stand over, star, start, station, status, steam, steer, steer for, stem, stinging, stock, stop, strain, stratum, straw boss, streamer, stress, strike out, strobile, subdivision, subforeman, subgroup, subhead, subheading, subject, subject matter, subject of thought, suborder, subside, substance, subtitle, suds, summital, super, superintendent, superior, superman, superscription, superstar, supervise, supervisor, supreme, surf, surmount, survey, surveyor, syllabus, synopsis, table of contents, tail, take command, take off, take precedence, take the initiative, take the lead, take the plunge, talent, taproot, taskmaster, tellurian, tend, tend to go, terran, text, thatch, the greatest, the most, theme, thrust, thumbnail sketch, thyrse, tip, tip-top, title, title page, toilet, toilet room, tongue, top, top dog, top off, topic, topical outline, topknot, topmost, train, trend, tresses, trim size, tripper, turn, turning point, type page, ultimate, umbel, understanding, upmost, uppermost, urinal, user, usher in, utterly, van, vanguard, verge, verso, vertical, verticillaster, virtuoso, visitor, ward off, warp, washroom, water, water closet, water vapor, well water, wetting agent, wetting-out agent, white water, wholly, wield authority, wildly, window dressing, wise man, wit, work toward, worldling, zenithal
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