Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


At the head of the stairs they parted, Milbrey joining the lady who had waited for him.

Aspasia sank on the couch, and bowed her head upon her hands.

He arose, as he spoke, and reverently placed the chaplet on the head of Plato.

She did so, and it proved an effectual screen from head to foot.

It was jestingly said that the model for the Odeum was from his own head.

“I am afraid he is past ransom,” said the youth, shaking his head.

The other canon shook his head in dismay at such arrant folly.

"There isn't much chance of that," said Robert, shaking his head.

She threw herself on the wide divan, and he fixed pillows under her head.

There was nothing for it but to put Kit Smallbones at the head of the party.


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.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.