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loggerhead

[law-ger-hed, log-er-]
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noun
  1. a thick-headed or stupid person; blockhead.
  2. loggerhead turtle.
  3. loggerhead shrike.
  4. a ball or bulb of iron with a long handle, used, after being heated, to melt tar, heat liquids, etc.
  5. a rounded post, in the stern of a whaleboat, around which the harpoon line is passed.
  6. a circular inkwell having a broad, flat base.
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Idioms
  1. at loggerheads, engaged in a disagreement or dispute; quarreling: They were at loggerheads over the distribution of funds.
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Origin of loggerhead

1580–90; logger block of wood (first attested alone in 18th century) + head
Related formslog·ger·head·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

combativecontentioushostilequarrelsomeornerybellicoseantagonisticaggressivefiercemilitantflipfightingmeanconflictingardentcantankeroushothot-temperedpugnacious

British Dictionary definitions for at loggerheads

loggerhead

noun
  1. Also called: loggerhead turtle a large-headed turtle, Caretta caretta, occurring in most seas: family Chelonidae
  2. loggerhead shrike a North American shrike, Lanius ludovicianus, having a grey head and body, black-and-white wings and tail, and black facial stripe
  3. a tool consisting of a large metal sphere attached to a long handle, used for warming liquids, melting tar, etc
  4. a strong round upright post in a whaleboat for belaying the line of a harpoon
  5. archaic, or dialect a blockhead; dunce
  6. at loggerheads engaged in dispute or confrontation
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Derived Formsloggerheaded, adjective

Word Origin

C16: probably from dialect logger wooden block + head
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

Word Origin and History for at loggerheads

loggerhead

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

at loggerheads in Culture

at loggerheads

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.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with at loggerheads

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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.