A Dictionary of the English Language
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Head (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 977, 976

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 977, 976

Head. n.s. [heafod, heafd, Saxon; hoofd, Dutch; heved, old English, whence by contraction head.]

  1. The part of the animal that contains the brain or the organ of sensation or thought.

    Vein healing verven, and head purging dill. Spenser.

                    Over head up-grew
    Insuperable height of loftiest shade.
    Milton's Parad. Lost.

    My head geers off, what filthy work you make. Dryden.

    The dewy paths of meadows we will tread,
    For crowns and chaplets to adorn thy head.

    I could still have offers, that some, who hold their heads higher, would be glad to accept. Swift.

  2. Person as exposed to any danger or penalty.

    What he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head. Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor.

    Who of all ages to succeed, but feeling
    The evil on him brought by me, will curse
    My head? ill fare our ancestor impure.
    Milt. Parad. Lost.

  3. Head and Ears. The whole person.

    In jingling rhimes well fortify'd and strong,
    He fights intrench'd o'er head and ears in song.

  4. Denomination of any animals.

    When Innocent XI. desired the marquis of Carpio to furnish thirty thousand head of swine, he could not spare them; but thirty thousand lawyers he had at his service. Addison.

    The tax upon pasturage was raised according to a certain rate per head upon cattle. Arbuthnot on Coins.

  5. Chief; principle person; one to whom the rest are subordinate; leader; commander.

    For their commons, there is little danger from them, except it be where they have great and potent heads. Bacon.

            Your head I him appoint;
    And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow
    All knees in heav'n, and shall confess him lord.

    The heads of the chief sects of philosophy, as Thales, Anaxagoras, and Pythagoras, did likewise consent to this tradition. Tillotson's Sermons.

  6. Place of honour; the first place.

    Notwithstanding all the justices had taken their place upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of them. Addison's Spectator.

  7. Place of command.

    An army of fourscore thousand troops, with the duke of Marlborough at the head of them, could do nothing against an enemy. Addison on the War.

  8. Countenance; presence.

    Richard not far from hence hath hid his head. Sh. R. II.

    With Cain go wander through the shade of night,
    And never shew thy head by day or light.
    Shak. Rich. II.

    Ere to-morrow's sun shall shew his head. Dryden.

  9. Understanding; faculties of the mind.

    The wenches laid their heads together. L'Estrange.

    A fox and a goat went down a well to drink: the goat fell to hunting which way to get back; oh, says Reynard, never trouble your head, but leave that to me. L'Estrange.

    Work with all the ease and speed you can, without breaking your head, and being so very industrious in starting scruples. Dryden's Dufresnoy.

    The lazy and inconsiderate took up their notions by chance, without much beating their heads about them. Locke.

    If a man shews that he has no religion, why should we think that he beats his head and troubles himself to examine the grounds of this or that doctrine. Locke.

    When in ordinary discourse we say a man has a fine head, we express ourselves metaphorically, and speak in relation to his understanding; and when we say of a woman she has a fine head, we speak only in relation to her commode. Addison.

    We laid our heads together, to consider what grievances the nation had suffered under king George. Addis. Freeholder.

  10. Face; front; fore part.

            The gathering crowd pursues;
    The ravishers turn head, the fight renews.

  11. Resistance; hostile opposition.

    Then made he head against his enemies,
    And Hymner flew.
    Fairy Queen, b. ii.

    Sometimes hath Henry Bolingbroke made head against my power. Shakespeare's Henry IV. p. i.

    Two valiant gentlemen first making head against them, seconded by half a dozen more, made forty of them run away. Raleigh's Apology.

    Sin having depraved his judgment, and got possession of his will, there is no other principle left him naturally, by which he can make head against it. South's Sermons.

  12. Spontaneous resolution.

    The bordering wars in this kingdom were made altogether by voluntaries, upon their own head, without any pay or commission from the state. Davies on Ireland.

  13. State of a deer's horns, by which his age is known.

    It was a buck of the first head. Shakesp. Love's Labour Lost.

    The buck is called the fifth year a buck of the first head. Shak.

  14. Individual. It is used in numbers or computation.

    If there be six millions of people, then there is about four acres for every head. Graunt's Bills of Mortality.

  15. The top of any thing bigger than the rest.

    His spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. 1 Sa.

                    As high
    As his proud head is rais'd towards the sky,
    So low tow'rds hell his roots descend.

    Trees, which have large and spreading heads, would lie with their branches up in the water. Woodward.

    If the buds are made our food, they are called heads or tops; so heads of asparagus and artichoaks. Watt's Logick.

    It is an equivocal term; for it signifies the head of a nail, or of a pin, as well as of an animal. Watt's Logick.

  16. Place of chief resort.

    The horse took the alarm, and made their escape to Winchester, the head quarters. Clarendon, b. viii.

  17. The fore part of any thing, as of a ship.

    By gallies with brazen heads she might transport over Indus at once three hundred thousand soldiers. Raleigh's History of the World.

        On oozy ground his gallies moor;
    Their heads are turn'd to sea, their sterns to shore.

  18. That which rises on the top.

    Let it stand in a tub four or five days before it be put into the cask, stirring it twice a day, and beating down the head of yeast into it. Mortimer's Husbandry.

  19. The blade of an axe.

    A man fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve. Deutr. xix. 5.

  20. Upper part of a bed.

    Israel bowed upon the bed's head. Gen. xlvii. 31.

  21. The brain.

    As eastern priests in giddy circles run,
    And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
    Pope's Essays.

  22. Dress of the head.

    Politick ladies think they gain a great point when they have teazed their husbands to buy them a laced head, or a fine petticoat. Swift.

  23. Principal topicks of discourse.

    These heads are of a mixed order, and we propose only such as belong to the natural world. Burnet's Theo. of the Earth.

    These heads are set down more fully in the arguments of each chapter. Burnet's Theory of the Earth.

    'Tis our great interest, and our chief duty, to satisfy ourselves on this head, upon which our whole conduct depends. Atterbury's Sermons, Preface.

  24. Source of a stream.

    It is the glory of God to give; his very nature delighteth in it; he mercies in the current, through which they would pass, may be dried up, but at the head they never fail. Hooker.

    The current by Gaza is but a small stream, rising between it and the Red sea, whose head from Gaza is little more than twenty English miles. Raleigh's History of the World.

    Some did the song, and some the choir maintain,
    Beneath a laurel shade, where mighty Po
    Mounts up to woods above, and hides his head below.

  25. Crisis; pitch.

    The indisposition which has long hung upon me, is at last grown to such a head, that it must quickly make an end of me, or of itself. Addison's Spectator.

  26. Power; influence; force; strength; dominion.

    Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure,
    Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd
    Some troubled thoughts.
    Milton's Paradise Regain'd.

    God will not admit of the passionate man's apology, that he has so long given his unruly passions their head, that he cannot now govern nor controul them. South's Sermons.

  27. Body; conflux.

    People under command chuse to consult, and after to march in order; and rebels, contrariwise, run upon an head together in confusion. Bacon's Henry VII.

            Let all this wicked crew gather
    Their forces to one head.
    Ben. Johnson's Catiline.

  28. Power; armed force.

    My lord, my lord, the French have gather'd head. Shakes.

            At sixteen years,
    When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he sought
    Beyond the mark of others.
    Shakespeare's Coriolanus.

    A mighty and a fearful head they are,
    As ever offer'd foul play in a state.
    Shakesp. Henry IV.

    Far in the marches here we heard you were,
    Making another head to fight again.
    Shakesp. Henry VI.

  29. Liberty in running a horse.

            He gave his able horse the head,
    And bounding forward struck his agile heels
    Against the panting sides of his poor jade
    Up to the rowel-head.
    Shakesp. Henry IV. p. ii.

  30. It is very improperly applied to roots.

    How turneps hide their swelling heads below,
    And how the closing coleworts upwards grow.

  31. Head and Shoulders. By force; violently.

    People that hit upon a thought that tickles them, will be still bringing it in by head and shoulders, over and over, in several companies. L'Estrange.

    They can bring in every odd exception in grammar, every figure of speech, head and shoulders by main force, in spite of nature and their subject. Felton on the Classicks.

Sources: The Bible - 1. Samuel (18) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Arbuthnot, John (227) · Atterbury, Francis (75) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Burnet, Thomas (45) · Clarendon, Edward (73) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · Davies, John (45) · Denham, John (75) · The Bible - Deuteronomy (21) · Dryden, John (788) · Felton, Henry (14) · Gay, John (51) · The Bible - Genesis (48) · Granville, George (23) · Graunt, John (10) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 (46) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 1 (48) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 (39) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Jonson, Ben (70) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost (33) · Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (95) · Milton, John (449) · Mortimer, John (62) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Raleigh, Walter (68) · Shakespeare's Richard II (40) · South, Robert (158) · Spectator (140) · Spenser, Edmund (254) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Tillotson, John (68) · Watts, Isaac (117) · Woodward, John (78)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Head (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 3, 2012. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/head-noun/.

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