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[hed-kwawr-terz, -kwaw-] /ˈhɛdˌkwɔr tərz, -ˌkwɔ-/
noun, plural headquarters. (used with a singular or plural verb)
a center of operations, as of the police or a business, from which orders are issued; the chief administrative office of an organization:
The operatives were always in touch with headquarters.
the offices or working location of a military commander; the place from which a commander customarily issues orders.
a military unit consisting of the commander, his staff, and other assistants.
Origin of headquarters
First recorded in 1640-50; head + quarters
Related forms
subheadquarters, noun, plural subheadquarters.


[hed-kwawr-ter, -kwaw-] /ˈhɛdˌkwɔr tər, -ˌkwɔ-/
verb (used with object)
to situate in headquarters.
verb (used without object)
to establish one's headquarters.
back formation from headquarters Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for headquarters
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I telephoned to your headquarters, and they said you had come here.

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
  • Uncle is full of that charity which at all events has its headquarters in the home counties.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • If you will permit me to use your house for a while, I shall make it my headquarters.'

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • He went at once to headquarters, where he told General Washington what he had learned.

    The Dare Boys of 1776 Stephen Angus Cox
  • “Dick Dare, you are wanted at headquarters,” said the orderly.

    The Dare Boys of 1776 Stephen Angus Cox
British Dictionary definitions for headquarters


plural noun (sometimes functioning as sing)
any centre or building from which operations are directed, as in the military, the police, etc
a military formation comprising the commander, his staff, and supporting echelons
Abbreviations HQ, h.q.


(informal, mainly US) to place in or establish as headquarters
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for headquarters

1640s, from head (adj.) + quarters. Headquarter as a verb is recorded from 1903.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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