[ hed-on, -awn ]
See synonyms for head-on on Thesaurus.com
  1. (of two objects) meeting with the fronts or heads foremost: a head-on collision.

  2. facing the direction of forward motion or alignment; frontal.

  1. characterized by direct opposition: a head-on confrontation.

  1. 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

Words Nearby head-on

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use head-on in a sentence

  • The board bothered her, for she couldn't make a head-on attack on the fence, but it didn't bother her long.

  • Even as he looked a huge gray ape came bounding out, head-on toward Rajah, who despised these foolish beasts.

    The Adventures of Kathlyn | Harold MacGrath
  • So engrossed was he in anger that he almost blundered head-on into the grinning red-head who lounged up the corridor toward him.

    Feline Red | Robert Sampson
  • The general effect is similar to that produced by two ships having a head-on collision at ten miles per second.

    Islands of Space | John W Campbell
  • She was almost out of sight around the planet when she ran head-on into it, and vanished in an awesome blaze.

    Space Viking | Henry Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for head-on


adverb, adjective
  1. with the front or fronts foremost: a head-on collision

  2. with directness or without compromise: in 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with head-on


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

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