Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
Old English heafod "top of the body," also "upper end of a slope," also "chief person, leader, ruler; capital city," from Proto-Germanic *haubudam (cf. Old Saxon hobid, Old Norse hofuð, Old Frisian haved, Middle Dutch hovet, Dutch hoofd, Old High German houbit, German Haupt, Gothic haubiþ "head"), from PIE *kaput- "head" (cf. Sanskrit kaput-, Latin caput "head").
Modern spelling is early 15c., representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat) and remained after pronunciation shifted. Of rounded tops of plants from late 14c. Meaning "origin of a river" is mid-14c. Meaning "obverse of a coin" is from 1680s; meaning "foam on a mug of beer" is first attested 1540s; meaning "toilet" is from 1748, based on location of crew toilet in the bow (or head) of a ship. Synechdochic use for "person" (as in head count) is first attested late 13c.; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1510s. As a height measure of persons, from c.1300. Meaning "drug addict" (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.
To give head "perform fellatio" is from 1950s. Phrase heads will roll "people will be punished" (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. Head case "eccentric or insane person" is from 1979. Head game "mental manipulation" attested by 1972. To have (one's) head up (one's) ass is attested by 1978.
"most important, principal, leading," c.1200, from head (n.). Old English heafod was used in this sense in compounds.
The uppermost or forwardmost part of the human body, containing the brain and the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and jaws.
The analogous part of various vertebrate and invertebrate animals.
The pus-containing tip of an abscess, a boil, or a pimple.
The rounded proximal end of a long bone.
The end of a muscle that is attached to the less movable part of the skeleton.
Too difficult for one mentally; incomprehensible: The concept's way over my head (1622+)adverb phrase
Better than one's usual standard; in an inspired way: The team played over its head, and by God they won (1970s+)Related Terms
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