head off

Definitions

  • He drew off the crowns very gently, and put the nightcaps on their heads instead
    He drew off the crowns very gently, and put the nightcaps on their heads instead
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v head off prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening "Let's avoid a confrontation","head off a confrontation","avert a strike"
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A chicken once had its head cut off and survived for over eighteen months, headless
    • Head off to prevent by some counteraction
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Quotations

  • Nancy Mitford
    Nancy Mitford
    “An aristocracy in a republic is like a chicken whose head has been cut off: it may run about in a lively way, but in fact it is dead.”
  • Joseph Conrad
    Joseph%20Conrad
    “How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a specter through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “It is easier to gather up a bag of loose feathers than to round up or head off a single lie.”
  • E. M. Cioran
    E. M. Cioran
    “Great persecutors are recruited among martyrs whose heads haven't been cut off.”
  • Emily Dickinson
    Emily%20Dickinson
    “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”

Idioms

Bite someone's head off - If you bite someone's head off, you criticise them angrily.
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Off the top of your head - If you say something off the top of your head, you don't think about it beforehand.
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. héafod, Dut. hoofd, Ger. haupt.

Usage

In literature:

The bullet actually cut the bird's head off and it fell fluttering to the deck.
"Fred Fearnot's New Ranch" by Hal Standish
Now go laugh your fat head off, you human hyena.
"The House of Torchy" by Sewell Ford
I'd rather like to blow my head off.
"We Three" by Gouverneur Morris
Perhaps they will send him to prison or cut off his head.
"Patsy" by S. R. Crockett
Take that shawl off the head.
"The Californians" by Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
Edgar would never have done that, and in that case it is pretty certain that they would have chopped his head off.
"The Dash for Khartoum" by George Alfred Henty
I wish I had knocked his head clean off his neck.
"Tess of the Storm Country" by Grace Miller White
Halt, I say, or I'll blow your head off.
"The Long Roll" by Mary Johnston
Calling up all her courage, his sister struck and cut off the head.
"Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian" by Anonymous
The Tarjum will cut their heads off if he comes to know it.
"In the Forbidden Land" by Arnold Henry Savage Landor
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In poetry:

She pu'd the bloom frae off the broom,
Strew'd it at 's head and feet,
And aye the thicker that she strewd,
The sounder he did sleep.
"The Broomfield Hill" by Andrew Lang
"Ye'll pu the bloom frae off the broom,
Strew't at his head and feet,
And aye the thicker that ye do strew,
The sounder he will sleep.
"The Broomfield Hill" by Andrew Lang
I shall not wake at night afraid
Of where your darling head is laid,
Nor say: "He finds the wind too rough,
Dear God!" for now the wind's left off.
"The Young Soldier" by Katharine Tynan
Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly -
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads -
"Hawk Roosting" by Ted Hughes
All morning in the strawberry field
They talked about the Russians.
Squatted down between the rows
We listened.
We heard the head woman say,
'Bomb them off the map.'
"Bitter Strawberries" by Sylvia Plath
Past the violet mountain-head
To the farthest fringe of pine,
Where far off the purple-red
Narrows to a dusky line,
And the last pale splendours die
Slowly from the olive sky;
"Sunset" by Archibald Lampman

In news:

Nat'l Guard troops head off to Kuwait.
Having "The Talk" with kids can head off trouble.
Congress Ignores National Crisis, Heads Off on Five-Week Vacation.
Americans head off to Olympics with another win.
The two countries go head to head off the soccer field.
Program seeks to head off gangs.
Head off heartworms with planning.
Head off prediabetes before it affects you.
'I'm gonna knock Bader's head off '.
New US sanctions on Iran aim to head off Israel.
Magician Rich Ferguson has figured out a way to sneeze his head off.
Untrue 'innuendo' about SBC could be headed off by a movement of prayer, Mesquite pastor Terry Turner says.
East Rowan's Gage VandeZande is preparing to head off to Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania on a hockey scholarship.
If you're son or daughter is headed off to school this month, we've got some great gadgets they might need.
The other would be heading off to the suburb where 30 of 32 NFL teams currently reside: Waiting Until Next Year.
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In science:

If the applied field is reversed while the system is on one of these halves, the magnetization tra jectory branches off and heads towards the other half of the ma jor loop.
Random Field Ising Model
This will prevent the machine from “falling off ” the left or r ight end of a list. I.e., if the head is standing on the rightmost (resp., leftmost) list cell, it will stay there instead of moving a further step to the right (resp., to the left).
Randomized Computations on Large Data Sets: Tight Lower Bounds
Sequences diverge either because they head off to infinity or because they oscillate.
Banishing divergence Part 1: Infinite numbers as the limit of sequences of real numbers
Part 1 constructs a non-Archimedean framework of infinite numbers that is large enough to contain asymptotic limit points for non-oscillating sequences that head off to infinity.
Banishing divergence Part 1: Infinite numbers as the limit of sequences of real numbers
Note also that the part of M corresponding to the ε = 0 term on the RHS of (B5) is isomorphic to the operator M discussed in Section 3.5.1, and the parts corresponding to ε 6= 0 were discussed under the heading ’off-diagonal elements’ in that same section.
Approach to ground state and time-independent photon bound for massless spin-boson models
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