The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Head \Head\ (h[e^]d), n. [OE. hed, heved, heaved, AS. he['a]fod;
akin to D. hoofd, OHG. houbit, G. haupt, Icel. h["o]fu[eth],
Sw. hufvud, Dan. hoved, Goth. haubi[thorn]. The word does not
correspond regularly to L. caput head (cf. E. Chief,
Cadet, Capital), and its origin is unknown.]
1. The anterior or superior part of an animal, containing the
brain, or chief ganglia of the nervous system, the mouth,
and in the higher animals, the chief sensory organs; poll;
2. The uppermost, foremost, or most important part of an
inanimate object; such a part as may be considered to
resemble the head of an animal; often, also, the larger,
thicker, or heavier part or extremity, in distinction from
the smaller or thinner part, or from the point or edge;
as, the head of a cane, a nail, a spear, an ax, a mast, a
sail, a ship; that which covers and closes the top or the
end of a hollow vessel; as, the head of a cask or a steam
3. The place where the head should go; as, the head of a bed,
of a grave, etc.; the head of a carriage, that is, the
hood which covers the head.
4. The most prominent or important member of any organized
body; the chief; the leader; as, the head of a college, a
school, a church, a state, and the like. "Their princes
and heads." --Robynson (More's Utopia).
The heads of the chief sects of philosophy.
Your head I him appoint. --Milton.
5. The place or honor, or of command; the most important or
foremost position; the front; as, the head of the table;
the head of a column of soldiers.
An army of fourscore thousand troops, with the duke
of Marlborough at the head of them. --Addison.
6. Each one among many; an individual; -- often used in a
plural sense; as, a thousand head of cattle.
It there be six millions of people, there are about
four acres for every head. --Graunt.
7. The seat of the intellect; the brain; the understanding;
the mental faculties; as, a good head, that is, a good
mind; it never entered his head, it did not occur to him;
of his own head, of his own thought or will.
Men who had lost both head and heart. --Macaulay.
8. The source, fountain, spring, or beginning, as of a stream
or river; as, the head of the Nile; hence, the altitude of
the source, or the height of the surface, as of water,
above a given place, as above an orifice at which it
issues, and the pressure resulting from the height or from
motion; sometimes also, the quantity in reserve; as, a
mill or reservoir has a good head of water, or ten feet
head; also, that part of a gulf or bay most remote from
the outlet or the sea.
9. A headland; a promontory; as, Gay Head. --Shak.
10. A separate part, or topic, of a discourse; a theme to be
expanded; a subdivision; as, the heads of a sermon.
11. Culminating point or crisis; hence, strength; force;
Ere foul sin, gathering head, shall break into
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.
12. Power; armed force.
My lord, my lord, the French have gathered head.
13. A headdress; a covering of the head; as, a laced head; a
head of hair. --Swift.
14. An ear of wheat, barley, or of one of the other small
(a) A dense cluster of flowers, as in clover, daisies,
thistles; a capitulum.
(b) A dense, compact mass of leaves, as in a cabbage or a
16. The antlers of a deer.
17. A rounded mass of foam which rises on a pot of beer or
other effervescing liquor. --Mortimer.
18. pl. Tiles laid at the eaves of a house. --Knight.
Note: Head is often used adjectively or in self-explaining
combinations; as, head gear or headgear, head rest. Cf.
A buck of the first head, a male fallow deer in its fifth
year, when it attains its complete set of antlers. --Shak.
By the head. (Naut.) See under By.
Elevator head, Feed head, etc. See under Elevator,
From head to foot, through the whole length of a man;
completely; throughout. "Arm me, audacity, from head to
Head and ears, with the whole person; deeply; completely;
as, he was head and ears in debt or in trouble. [Colloq.]
Head fast. (Naut.) See 5th Fast.
Head kidney (Anat.), the most anterior of the three pairs
of embryonic renal organs developed in most vertebrates;
Head money, a capitation tax; a poll tax. --Milton.
Head pence, a poll tax. [Obs.]
Head sea, a sea that meets the head of a vessel or rolls
against her course.
Head and shoulders.
(a) By force; violently; as, to drag one, head and
shoulders. "They bring in every figure of speech,
head and shoulders." --Felton.
(b) By the height of the head and shoulders; hence, by a
great degree or space; by far; much; as, he is head
and shoulders above them.
Heads or tails or Head or tail, this side or that side;
this thing or that; -- a phrase used in throwing a coin to
decide a choice, question, or stake, head being the side
of the coin bearing the effigy or principal figure (or, in
case there is no head or face on either side, that side
which has the date on it), and tail the other side.
Neither head nor tail, neither beginning nor end; neither
this thing nor that; nothing distinct or definite; -- a
phrase used in speaking of what is indefinite or confused;
as, they made neither head nor tail of the matter.
Head wind, a wind that blows in a direction opposite the
off the top of my head, from quick recollection, or as an
approximation; without research or calculation; -- a
phrase used when giving quick and approximate answers to
questions, to indicate that a response is not necessarily
Out of one's own head, according to one's own idea; without
advice or co["o]peration of another.
Over the head of, beyond the comprehension of. --M. Arnold.
to go over the head of (a person), to appeal to a person
superior to (a person) in line of command.
To be out of one's head, to be temporarily insane.
To come or draw to a head. See under Come, Draw.
To give (one) the head, or To give head, to let go, or to
give up, control; to free from restraint; to give license.
"He gave his able horse the head." --Shak. "He has so long
given his unruly passions their head." --South.
To his head, before his face. "An uncivil answer from a son
to a father, from an obliged person to a benefactor, is a
greater indecency than if an enemy should storm his house
or revile him to his head." --Jer. Taylor.
To lay heads together, to consult; to conspire.
To lose one's head, to lose presence of mind.
To make head, or To make head against, to resist with
success; to advance.
To show one's head, to appear. --Shak.
To turn head, to turn the face or front. "The ravishers
turn head, the fight renews." --Dryden.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
By \By\ (b[imac]), prep. [OE. bi, AS. b[imac], big, near to, by,
of, from, after, according to; akin to OS. & OFries. bi, be,
D. bij, OHG. b[imac], G. bei, Goth. bi, and perh. Gr. 'amfi`.
E. prefix be- is orig. the same word. [root]203. See pref.
1. In the neighborhood of; near or next to; not far from;
close to; along with; as, come and sit by me.
By foundation or by shady rivulet
He sought them both. --Milton.
2. On; along; in traversing. Compare 5.
Long labors both by sea and land he bore. --Dryden.
By land, by water, they renew the charge. --Pope.
3. Near to, while passing; hence, from one to the other side
of; past; as, to go by a church.
4. Used in specifying adjacent dimensions; as, a cabin twenty
feet by forty.
5. Against. [Obs.] --Tyndale [1. Cor. iv. 4].
6. With, as means, way, process, etc.; through means of; with
aid of; through; through the act or agency of; as, a city
is destroyed by fire; profit is made by commerce; to take
Note: To the meaning of by, as denoting means or agency,
belong, more or less closely, most of the following
uses of the word:
(a) It points out the author and producer; as, "Waverley",
a novel by Sir W.Scott; a statue by Canova; a sonata
(b) In an oath or adjuration, it indicates the being or
thing appealed to as sanction; as, I affirm to you by
all that is sacred; he swears by his faith as a
Christian; no, by Heaven.
(c) According to; by direction, authority, or example of;
after; -- in such phrases as, it appears by his
account; ten o'clock by my watch; to live by rule; a
model to build by.
(d) At the rate of; according to the ratio or proportion
of; in the measure or quantity of; as, to sell cloth
by the yard, milk by the quart, eggs by the dozen,
meat by the pound; to board by the year.
(e) In comparison, it denotes the measure of excess or
deficiency; when anything is increased or diminished,
it indicates the measure of increase or diminution;
as, larger by a half; older by five years; to lessen
by a third.
(f) It expresses continuance or duration; during the
course of; within the period of; as, by day, by night.
(g) As soon as; not later than; near or at; -- used in
expressions of time; as, by this time the sun had
risen; he will be here by two o'clock.
Note: In boxing the compass, by indicates a pint nearer to,
or towards, the next cardinal point; as, north by east,
i.e., a point towards the east from the north;
northeast by east, i.e., on point nearer the east than
Note: With is used instead of by before the instrument with
which anything is done; as, to beat one with a stick;
the board was fastened by the carpenter with nails. But
there are many words which may be regarded as means or
processes, or, figuratively, as instruments; and
whether with or by shall be used with them is a matter
of arbitrary, and often, of unsettled usage; as, to a
reduce a town by famine; to consume stubble with fire;
he gained his purpose by flattery; he entertained them
with a story; he distressed us with or by a recital of
his sufferings. see With.
By all means, most assuredly; without fail; certainly.
By and by.
(a) Close together (of place). [Obs.] "Two yonge knightes
liggyng [lying] by and by." --Chaucer.
(b) Immediately; at once. [Obs.] "When . . . persecution
ariseth because of the word, by and by he is
offended." --Matt. xiii. 21.
(c) Presently; pretty soon; before long.
Note: In this phrase, by seems to be used in the sense of
nearness in time, and to be repeated for the sake of
emphasis, and thus to be equivalent to "soon, and
soon," that is instantly; hence, -- less emphatically,
-- pretty soon, presently.
By one's self, with only one's self near; alone; solitary.
By the bye. See under Bye.
By the head (Naut.), having the bows lower than the stern;
-- said of a vessel when her head is lower in the water
than her stern. If her stern is lower, she is by the
By the lee, the situation of a vessel, going free, when she
has fallen off so much as to bring the wind round her
stern, and to take her sails aback on the other side.
By the run, to let go by the run, to let go altogether,
instead of slacking off.
By the way, by the bye; -- used to introduce an incidental
or secondary remark or subject.
Day by day, One by one, Piece by piece, etc., each day,
each one, each piece, etc., by itself singly or
separately; each severally.
To come by, to get possession of; to obtain.
To do by, to treat, to behave toward.
To set by, to value, to esteem.
To stand by, to aid, to support.
Note: The common phrase good-by is equivalent to farewell,
and would be better written good-bye, as it is a
corruption of God be with you (b'w'ye).