Topic: HUMAN

Language: Old English
Origin: heafod


1 noun
head1 S1 W1

top of body

[countable]HBH the top part of your body that has your face at the front and is supported by your neckCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
turn your head shake your head (=move it from side to side, especially to show disagreement) nod your head (=move it up and down, especially to show agreement) raise/lift your head (=look up) bow/bend/lower your head (=look downwards) hang your head (=look downwards, especially because you are ashamed) cock your head (=hold your head at an angle) scratch your head somebody's head aches somebody's head throbs (=it aches badly) from head to foot/toe (=over your whole body) bald head (=one with no hair on it) the crown of your head (=the top of the back of your head) head injury
He kissed the top of her head.
He turned his head and looked at me.
The men were whispering and shaking their heads.
'You're pregnant?' She nodded her head.
Let us all bow our heads in prayer.
I had no reason to hang my head. I had nothing to be ashamed of.
Her head was cocked to one side.
Tommy scratched his head thoughtfully.
My head's throbbing. I'm going to bed.
He was shaking from head to foot.
Brian's bald head glistened in the blazing sun.
Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury.


[countable] your mind or mental ability:
The problem only exists inside his head.
do something in your head (=calculate something mentally)
I can't do those figures in my head.
Use your head to work out the answer.
come into/pop into your head
Jackie said the first thing that came into her head.
get something into your head (=understand something)
'It's over, Jake,' she said. 'Try and get that into your head.'
take/get it into your head (to do something) (=decide to do something, especially something stupid)
At about two in the morning, Alan took it into his head to go for a swim.
get/put something out of your head (=stop thinking or worrying about something)
Try to put it out of your head for the time being.
put something into somebody's head (=make someone think or believe something)
What's put that idea into her head?
get your head round something British English (=be able to understand something)
I just can't get my head round what's been going on here.



keep your head

to remain calm and sensible in a difficult or frightening situation:
We need a candidate who can keep his or her head even when clients get aggressive.
keep a clear/cool/calm head
Get to sleep early tonight - you'll need to keep a clear head tomorrow at the trial.

lose your head

to become unable to behave calmly or sensibly in a difficult or frightening situation:
You'll be OK as long as you don't lose your head and forget he's the real enemy.

have your head screwed on (straight/right)

informal to be sensible and able to deal with difficult situations:
He wondered what Gemma thought about it all. She seemed to have her head screwed on.

person in charge

a) a leader or person in charge of a group or organization
head of
You should discuss the matter with your head of department.
A meeting of Commonwealth heads of state will be held next month.
head waiter/chef/gardener etc (=the person in charge of a group of waiters etc)
b) also head teacher British English the person in charge of a school [= principal American English]
From now on all violent incidents should be reported directly to the head.
crowned head, head boy, head girl, headmaster, headmistress

front/leading position

[singular] the front or the most important position
(at) the head of something
Jenny marched proudly at the head of the procession.
At the head of the table (=the place where the most important person sits) sat the senior partners.
at something's/somebody's head
The band of soldiers marched into the yard, their defeated captain at their head.


[countable usually singular] used in particular phrases to talk about someone being crazy or very stupid:
People going out in conditions like this need their heads examined.
be off your head British English:
You must be off your head if you think that.
If I walk in looking like that, they'll think I'm not right in the head.

a head/per head

for each person:
Dinner works out at $30 a head.
average incomes per head


[countable usually singular] the place where a river, valley etc begins

come to a head


bring something to a head

if a problem or difficult situation comes to a head, or something brings it to a head, it suddenly becomes worse and has to be dealt with quickly:
Things came to a head in the summer of 1997.


[countable] the top of a plant where its flowers or leaves grow:
She was outside cutting the dead heads off the roses.
head of
a head of lettuce


[singular] the length of a head, used to measure height or distance:
She saw her father, a head above the rest of the crowd.
by a (short) head (=used to say that a horse won or lost a race but only by a small amount)



the side of a coin that has a picture of a person's head on it
heads or tails? British English spoken (=used to decide something, by asking someone which side of a coin they guess will be showing when you throw it in the air and it lands)

➔ tails

at tail1 (5b)

laugh/shout/scream etc your head off

informal to laugh, shout etc very loudly:
Fans were screaming their heads off.

have a good/fine/thick etc head of hair

to have a lot of hair on your head

get/put your head down

a) to start working in a quiet determined way:
It's time you got your head down and did some revision.
b) British English to sleep

keep your head down

to try to avoid being noticed or getting involved in something:
Do what you're told and keep your head down.

as soon as your head hits the pillow

if you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you fall asleep as soon as you lie down

be out of/off your head

to not know what you are doing because you have taken drugs or drunk too much alcohol:
He was off his head on various drugs.

go to somebody's head

a) if alcohol goes to your head, it quickly makes you feel drunk
b) if success goes to someone's head, it makes them feel more important than they really are:
She never let fame go to her head.


[countable usually singular] the wide end of a long narrow tool or piece of equipment

put your heads together

to discuss a difficult problem together:
The next morning, we all put our heads together to decide what should be done.

go over somebody's head

a) to be too difficult for someone to understand:
The explanation went completely over my head.
b) to do something without discussing it with a particular person or organization first, especially when you should have discussed it with them

can't make head or/nor tail of something

informal to be completely unable to understand something

have your head in the clouds

to think about something in a way that is not practical or sensible, especially when you think things are much better than they really are

have a (good) head for figures/facts/business etc

to be naturally good at doing calculations, remembering facts etc

head for heights

the ability to look down from high places without feeling ill or nervous

a big head

informal the opinion that you are much better, more important, more skilful etc than you really are:
I suppose I did do OK, but I'd be silly to get a big head about it.

keep your head above water

to manage to continue to live on your income or keep your business working when this is difficult because of financial problems:
For years they struggled to keep their heads above water.

be/stand head and shoulders above somebody

to be much better than other people:
One contestant stood head and shoulders above the rest.

hold up your head

also hold your head high to show pride or confidence, especially in a difficult situation:
If you do this, you'll never be able to hold your head up again.

be (like) banging/bashing etc your head against a brick wall

spoken used to say that you are making no progress at all in what you are trying hard to do:
I've tried to talk some sense into them, but it's like banging my head against a brick wall.

bang/knock somebody's heads together

spoken used to say that two people or groups should be forced to stop arguing and start to behave sensibly

bite/snap somebody's head off

to talk to someone very angrily with no good reason:
I offered to help her, but she just bit my head off.

turn/stand something on its head

to make people think about something in the opposite way to the way it was originally intended:
The attorney quickly turned his main defense argument on its head.

give somebody their head

to give someone the freedom to do what they want to do

be/fall head over heels in love

to love or suddenly start to love someone very much:
Sam was head over heels in love with his new bride.

heads will roll

spoken used to say that someone will be punished severely for something that has happened:
Heads will roll for this!

on your own head be it

spoken used to tell someone that they will be blamed if the thing they are planning to do goes wrong

do your head in

British English spoken informal to make you feel confused and annoyed:
Turn that noise down - it's doing my head in!

be/get in over your head

to be or get involved in something that is too difficult for you to deal with:
In business, start small and don't get in over your head.

be over your head in debt

American English to owe so much money that there is no possibility of paying it all back

go head to head with somebody

to deal with or oppose someone in a very direct and determined way:
Rather than go head to head with their main rivals, they decided to try a more subtle approach.

heads up!

American English spoken used to warn people that something is falling from above


[countable]DFD the layer of small white bubbles on the top of a glass of beer


[countable]TCR a piece of equipment that changes information on a recording tape, a computer hard disk etc into electrical messages that electronic equipment can use

head of cattle/sheep etc

[plural] a particular number of cows, sheep etc:
a farm with 20 head of cattle

head of water/steam

TP pressure that is made when water or steam is kept in an enclosed space

get/build up a head of steam

to become very active after starting something slowly


SG [singular] British English a high area of land that sticks out into the sea - used in names:
Beachy Head


[countable]MI the centre of a swollen spot on your skin

give (somebody) head

informal to perform oral sex on someone

➔ bury your head in the sand

at bury (8)

; ➔ knock something on the head

at knock1 (16)

; ➔ off the top of your head

at top1 (18)

; ➔ somebody can do something standing on their head

at stand1 (40)

; ➔ turn somebody's head

at turn1 (18)

; ➔ two heads are better than one

at two (8)

Explore HUMAN Topic

Word of the Day
The HUMAN Word of the Day is:

Other related topics