Entries linking to bowhead
"strung, elastic weapon for shooting arrows," Old English boga "archery bow; anything bent or arched, an arch, a rainbow," from Proto-Germanic *bugon (source also of Old Norse bogi, Old Frisian boga, Dutch boog, German Bogen "bow"), from PIE root *bheug- "to bend," with derivatives referring to bent, pliable, or curved objects. The sense of "a looped knot," especially an ornamental one, is from 1540s. The musician's bow (1570s) formerly was curved like the archer's.
The former popularity of the longbow as a characteristic English weapon is attested in expressions such as bow-legged; to have the bent of (one's) bow "know one's intentions or inclinations" (1560s), to shoot in (another's) bow "practice an art other than one's own;" bow-hand "the left hand," hence "on the wrong side, inaccurately;" have two strings to (one's) bow "have more than one means to accomplish something;" draw the long bow "exaggerate, lie."
Old English heafod "top of the body," also "upper end of a slope," also "chief person, leader, ruler; capital city," from Proto-Germanic *haubid (source also of 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 root *kaput- "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" (the side with the portrait) 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 be over (one's) head "beyond one's comprehension" is by 1620s. 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 1966. Head game "mental manipulation" attested by 1972.
updated on July 21, 2017