[ hed-huhn-ting ]
/ ˈhɛdˌhʌn tɪŋ /


(among certain primitive peoples) the practice of hunting down and decapitating victims and preserving their heads as trophies.
the act or practice of actively searching for new employees, especially for professionals or executives: Every June the electronics manufacturers go headhunting among the newly graduated engineers.
the act or practice of firing without cause, especially someone disliked: Their periodic headhunting was a contributing factor in the company's failures.
the act or practice of trying to destroy the power, position, or influence of one's competitors or foes: Headhunting is ferocious in advertising.

Origin of headhunting

First recorded in 1850–55; head + hunting

Definition for head-hunting (2 of 2)


[ hed-huhnt ]
/ ˈhɛdˌhʌnt /


a headhunting expedition: The men left the village to go on a headhunt.

verb (used without object)

to engage in headhunting.

Origin of headhunt

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for head-hunting

British Dictionary definitions for head-hunting



the practice among certain peoples of removing the heads of slain enemies and preserving them as trophies
the recruitment, esp through an agency, of executives from one company to another, often rival, company
US slang the destruction or neutralization of political opponents

Derived Forms

head-hunter, noun
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