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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use deadhead in a sentence
At first, a lot of people familiar with Walton’s image as an aging progressive and deadhead expected him to be trashing the mayor for cruel enforcement and clean-up efforts directed at homeless encampments.
The program would determine contractors’ routes, ideally cutting down on “deadhead miles,” or miles driven without a load of mail, and miles where trucks traveled with less-than-full trailers.Faulty USPS software cost trucking contractor $110 million and led to mass layoffs, company claims | Jacob Bogage | September 10, 2021 | Washington Post
“The world perceives cannabis consumers as deadhead, unemployed people—our mission is to change that,” says Defalco.Ganjapreneurs Flock to Colorado Following Marijuana Legalization | Abby Haglage, Caitlin Dickson | January 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
What we should do, we knew, was to deadhead our horses back into the Park as soon as they had had a little rest.Tenting To-night | Mary Roberts Rinehart
It was said that a deadhead could not borrow a sheet of writing paper in the capitol, nor in a county court-house.Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama | Walter L. Fleming
The farmer's features did not conceal his disgust when he discovered that his seat-mate was a deadhead.The Railroad Question | William Larrabee
You'll be a deadhead yourself if you ain't careful, young feller!The Young Acrobat of the Great North American Circus | Horatio Alger Jr.
Two people I know, they just went deadhead for ten thousand years!Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom | Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for deadhead
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