Etymology
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Words related to headlong

head (n.)

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.

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sidelong (adv.)

"toward the side," 1570s, alteration of Middle English sidlyng (see sidle), probably by influence of side (n.) + long (adj.). As an adjective from 1590s.

darkling (adv.)

"in the dark," mid-15c., from dark (n.) + now-obsolete adverbial ending -ling (compare headlong). The verb darkle is a back-formation from 1810 (Moore, who rhymed it with sparkle), assuming the -ing as a present-participle adjective ending.

But having nothing to do with the participial -ing it does not mean growing dark &c.; from the mistaken notion that it is a participle spring both the misuse of the word itself and the spurious verb darkle. [Fowler]

 By the same error, darkling (adj.), "dark, obscure, gloomy" is attested from 1763. The adverb was sometimes darklings, with adverbial genitive -s.

grovel (v.)
1590s, Shakespearean back-formation from groveling "on the face, prostrate" (mid-14c.), also used in Middle English as an adjective but probably really an adverb, from gruffe, from Old Norse grufe "prone" + obsolete adverbial suffix -ling (which survives also as the -long in headlong, sidelong). The Old Norse word is found in liggja à grufu "lie face-down," literally "lie on proneness." Old Norse also had grufla "to grovel," grufa "to grovel, cower, crouch down." The whole group is perhaps related to creep (v.). Related: Groveled; grovelled; groveling; grovelling.