[ hed-on, -awn ]
/ ˈhɛdˈɒn, -ˈɔn /


(of two objects) meeting with the fronts or heads foremost: a head-on collision.
facing the direction of forward motion or alignment; frontal.
characterized by direct opposition: a head-on confrontation.


with the front or head foremost, especially in a collision: She stepped out of the front door and walked head-on into her husband.

Origin of head-on

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for head on


adverb, adjective

with the front or fronts foremosta head-on collision
with directness or without compromisein his usual head-on fashion
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 head on



1840, from head (n.) + on.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with head on

head on


With the face or front first, as in The two bicycles collided head on. [Early 1800s]


In direct conflict, in open opposition, as in They decided to meet the opposition head on.

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