at loggerheads

loggerhead

[law-ger-hed, log-er-]
noun
1.
a thick-headed or stupid person; blockhead.
4.
a ball or bulb of iron with a long handle, used, after being heated, to melt tar, heat liquids, etc.
5.
a rounded post, in the stern of a whaleboat, around which the harpoon line is passed.
6.
a circular inkwell having a broad, flat base.
Idioms
7.
at loggerheads, engaged in a disagreement or dispute; quarreling: They were at loggerheads over the distribution of funds.

Origin:
1580–90; logger block of wood (first attested alone in 18th century) + head

loggerheaded, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
loggerhead (ˈlɒɡəˌhɛd)
 
n
1.  Also called: loggerhead turtle a large-headed turtle, Caretta caretta, occurring in most seas: family Chelonidae
2.  loggerhead shrike a North American shrike, Lanius ludovicianus, having a grey head and body, black-and-white wings and tail, and black facial stripe
3.  a tool consisting of a large metal sphere attached to a long handle, used for warming liquids, melting tar, etc
4.  a strong round upright post in a whaleboat for belaying the line of a harpoon
5.  archaic, dialect or a blockhead; dunce
6.  at loggerheads engaged in dispute or confrontation
 
[C16: probably from dialect logger wooden block + head]
 
'loggerheaded
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

loggerhead
1588, "stupid person, blockhead," from dial. logger "heavy block of wood." Later it meant "a thick-headed iron tool" (1687), a type of cannon shot, a type of turtle (1657). Loggerheads "fighting, fisticuffs" is from 1680, but the exact notion is uncertain, perhaps it suggests the heavy tools used as
weapons. The phrase at loggerheads "in disagreement" is first recorded 1831.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

at loggerheads definition


Engaged in a head-on dispute: “Labor and management are at loggerheads in this affair, and it may be some time before they can negotiate a settlement.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at loggerheads

Engaged in a quarrel or dispute, as in The two families were always at loggerheads, making it difficult to celebrate holidays together. This term may have come from some earlier meaning of loggerhead, referring either to a blockhead or stupid person, or to a long-handled iron poker with a bulb-shaped end that was heated in the fire and used to melt pitch. If it was the latter, it may have been alluded to as a weapon. [Late 1600s] For a synonym, see at odds.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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