- a person who attends a performance, sports event, etc., or travels on a train, airplane, etc., without having paid for a ticket, especially a person using a complimentary ticket or free pass.
- a train, railroad car, airplane, truck, or other commercial vehicle while operating empty, as when returning to a terminal.
- a stupid or boring person; dullard.
- Metallurgy. excess metal in the riser of a mold.
- a sunken or partially sunken log.
- to transport (someone) as a deadhead.
- to move (an empty commercial vehicle) along a route.
- Horticulture. to remove faded blooms from (ornamental plants), especially in flower gardens, often to help continued blooming.
- to act or serve as a deadhead.
- (of a commercial vehicle) to travel without cargo or paying passengers: The train carried coal to Pittsburgh and then deadheaded back to Virginia to pick up another load.
Origin of deadhead
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for dead-headed
I may say here that Horace Greeley was dead-headed through to California.Seventy Years on the Frontier
The ticket with which the stage agent presented him, dead-headed him only to this point.Eleven Years in the Rocky Mountains and Life on the Frontier
Frances Fuller Victor
- a dull unenterprising person
- a person who uses a free ticket, as for a train, the theatre, etc
- US and Canadian a train, etc, travelling empty
- US and Canadian a totally or partially submerged log floating in a lake, etc
- (tr) to cut off withered flowers from (a plant)
- (intr) US and Canadian to drive an empty bus, train, etc
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 dead-headed
by 1974 in sense of "devotee of the rock music band the Grateful Dead;" earlier (with lower-case) "one who rides for free on the railroads" (1866), and "non-paying spectator" (1841).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper