Head Idioms

Head idioms are a fascinating aspect of the English language. These idioms use the word “head” in various ways to convey different meanings. In this article, we will explore some of the most common head idioms and their meanings.

List of Head Idioms and Phrases

  • Bury (Hide) One’s Head In the Sand
  • Head and Shoulders Above
  • Head start
  • Heads Up (excl.)
  • Heads Will Roll (Are Going to Roll)
  • Off the Top of My Head
  • Over One’s Head
  • Rear Its Ugly Head (said of a problem or something unpleasant)
  • Turn Something on Its Head
  • Use One’s Head

Common HEAD Idioms in English | Image

HEAD Idioms

Head Idioms with Meaning and Examples

Bury (Hide) One’s Head In the Sand

  • Meaning: Ignoring something that’s obviously wrong, not facing reality.
  • Example: You can bury your head in the sand if you want to, but Bruce is stealing, and sooner or later we’re going to have to deal with it.

Head and Shoulders Above

  • Meaning: Much better than someone or something else.
  • Example: John is head and shoulders above the other candidates for the job.

Head start

  • Meaning: An early start or advantage.
  • Example: We got a head start on the project, so we should be finished before the deadline.

Heads Up (excl.)

  • Meaning: A warning to pay attention.
  • Example: Heads up! There’s a big pothole in the road ahead.

Heads Will Roll (Are Going to Roll)

  • Meaning: People will be punished or fired for a mistake or failure.
  • Example: If we don’t meet the deadline, heads will roll.

Off the Top of My Head

  • Meaning: Without thinking too much about it, from memory.
  • Example: Off the top of my head, I’d say there were about 50 people at the party.

Over One’s Head

  • Meaning: Too difficult to understand.
  • Example: The lecture on quantum physics was way over my head.

Rear Its Ugly Head (said of a problem or something unpleasant)

  • Meaning: To appear again after being gone for a while.
  • Example: The issue of racism has reared its ugly head again in our society.

Turn Something on Its Head

  • Meaning: To completely change something.
  • Example: We need to turn the company’s marketing strategy on its head if we want to increase sales.

Use One’s Head

  • Meaning: To think carefully and logically.
  • Example: You need to use your head if you want to solve this problem.

Cultural Context of Head Idioms

Head idioms are deeply rooted in culture and reflect the values, beliefs, and history of a community. In this section, we will explore the cultural context of head idioms from both Western and Eastern perspectives.

Western Perspective

In Western culture, head idioms often convey the idea of intelligence, knowledge, or leadership. For example, “use your head” means to think carefully and make a wise decision. “Head honcho” refers to the person in charge or the leader of a group. “Brainstorming” is a term used to describe a group of people coming up with creative ideas.

On the other hand, some Western head idioms also express frustration or confusion. “Bang your head against a wall” means to try to do something without success. “Hit the nail on the head” means to identify the exact problem or solution.

Eastern Perspective

In Eastern culture, head idioms often relate to respect, humility, and self-control. For example, “keep your head low” means to be humble and not boastful. “Mind your head” means to be careful and avoid trouble. “Head held high” means to be confident and proud of oneself.

In some Eastern cultures, the head is considered a sacred part of the body and should not be touched or pointed towards others. For example, in Japan, it is considered impolite to touch someone’s head without their permission.

Overall, the cultural context of head idioms varies greatly across different cultures and regions. Understanding these idioms can provide insights into the cultural values and beliefs of a community.