- a thick-headed or stupid person; blockhead.
- loggerhead turtle.
- loggerhead shrike.
- a ball or bulb of iron with a long handle, used, after being heated, to melt tar, heat liquids, etc.
- a rounded post, in the stern of a whaleboat, around which the harpoon line is passed.
- a circular inkwell having a broad, flat base.
- at loggerheads, engaged in a disagreement or dispute; quarreling: They were at loggerheads over the distribution of funds.
Origin of loggerhead
- Also called: loggerhead turtle a large-headed turtle, Caretta caretta, occurring in most seas: family Chelonidae
- loggerhead shrike a North American shrike, Lanius ludovicianus, having a grey head and body, black-and-white wings and tail, and black facial stripe
- a tool consisting of a large metal sphere attached to a long handle, used for warming liquids, melting tar, etc
- a strong round upright post in a whaleboat for belaying the line of a harpoon
- archaic, or dialect a blockhead; dunce
- at loggerheads engaged in dispute or confrontation
Word Origin and History for at loggerheads
1580s, "stupid person, blockhead," perhaps from dialectal logger "heavy block of wood" + head (n.). Later it meant "a thick-headed iron tool" (1680s), a type of cannon shot, a type of turtle (1650s). Loggerheads "fighting, fisticuffs" is from 1670s, but the exact notion is uncertain, perhaps it suggests the heavy tools used as weapons. The phrase at loggerheads "in disagreement" is first recorded 1670s.
Engaged in a head-on dispute: “Labor and management are at loggerheads in this affair, and it may be some time before they can negotiate a settlement.”
Idioms and Phrases with at loggerheads
Engaged in a quarrel or dispute, as in The two families were always at loggerheads, making it difficult to celebrate holidays together. This term may have come from some earlier meaning of loggerhead, referring either to a blockhead or stupid person, or to a long-handled iron poker with a bulb-shaped end that was heated in the fire and used to melt pitch. If it was the latter, it may have been alluded to as a weapon. [Late 1600s] For a synonym, see at odds.