Etymology: Middle English hed, from Old English hēafod; akin to Old High German houbit head, Latin caput
Date: before 12th century
1. the upper or anterior division of the animal body that contains the brain, the chief sense organs, and the mouth
a. the seat of the intellect ; mind <two heads are better than one> b. a person with respect to mental qualities <let wiser heads prevail> c. natural aptitude or talent <a good head for figures> d. mental or emotional control ; poise <a level head> e. headache 3. the obverse of a coin — usually used in plural <heads, I win> 4. a. person, individual <count heads> b. plural head one of a number (as of domestic animals) 5. a. the end that is upper or higher or opposite the foot <the head of the table> <head of a sail> b. the source of a stream c. either end of something (as a drum) whose two ends need not be distinguished 6. director, leader: as a. headmaster b. one in charge of a division or department in an office or institution <the head of the English department> 7. a. capitulum 2 b. the foliaged part of a plant especially when consisting of a compact mass of leaves or close fructification <a head of lettuce> 8. a. the leading element of a military column or a procession b. headway 9. a. the uppermost extremity or projecting part of an object ; top b. the striking part of a weapon, tool, or implement c. the rounded proximal end of a long bone (as the humerus) d. the end of a muscle nearest the origin e. the oval part of a printed musical note 10. a. a body of water kept in reserve at a height; also the containing bank, dam, or wall b. a mass of water in motion 11. a. the difference in elevation between two points in a body of fluid b. the resulting pressure of the fluid at the lower point expressible as this height; broadly pressure of a fluid 12. a. the bow and adjacent parts of a ship b. a ship's toilet; broadly toilet 3 13. the approximate length of the head of a horse <won by a head> 14. the place of leadership, honor, or command <at the head of her class> 15. a. (1) a word or series of words often in larger letters placed at the beginning of a passage or at the top of a page in order to introduce or categorize (2) a separate part or topic b. a portion of a page or sheet that is above the first line of printing 16. the foam or scum that rises on a fermenting or effervescing liquid (as beer) 17. a. the part of a boil, pimple, or abscess at which it is likely to break b. culminating point of action ; crisis <events came to a head> 18. a. a part or attachment of a machine or machine tool containing a device (as a cutter or drill); also the part of an apparatus that performs the chief function or a particular function b. an electromagnet used as a transducer in magnetic recording for recording on, reading, or erasing a magnetic medium (as tape or a disk) 19. an immediate constituent of a construction that can have the same grammatical function as the whole (as man in “an old man”, “a very old man”, or “the man in the street”) 20. a. one who uses a drug — often used in combination <pothead> b. a devoted enthusiast ; aficionado — often used in combination <computerhead> 21. often vulgar fellatio, cunnilingus — usually used with give II. adjective Date: before 12th century 1. of, relating to, or intended for the head 2. principal, chief <head cook> 3. situated at the head 4. coming from in front <head sea> III. verb Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. behead 2. a. to put a head on ; fit a head to <head an arrow> b. to form the head or top of <tower headed by a spire> 3. to act as leader or head to <head a revolt> 4. a. to get in front of so as to hinder, stop, or turn back b. to take a lead over (as a racehorse) ; surpass c. to pass (a stream) by going round above the source 5. a. to put something at the head of (as a list) b. to stand as the first or leading member of <heads the list of heroes> 6. to set the course of <head a ship northward> 7. to drive (as a soccer ball) with the head intransitive verb 1. to form a head <this cabbage heads early> 2. to point or proceed in a certain direction <the fleet was heading out> 3. to have a source ; originate
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.