head out


1

Depart, begin a journey, as in The ship was heading out to sea, or When do you head out again?

2

head out after. Follow or pursue, as in Since they knew the way, we headed out after them, or A police car headed out after the car thieves.

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

VOCAB BUILDER

What does head out mean?

Head out is an informal verb meaning to leave or depart.

Head out is often used in reference to a planned departure or as a way to announce one’s exit. It is a phrasal verb, meaning it is a phrase that functions as a verb and is formed from a combination of a verb and a function word like a preposition. It can also be considered an idiom, which is a term whose meaning can’t be understood simply from its individual parts.

Example: OK, everyone, I think it’s about time to head out for the beach.

Where does head out come from?

The first records of head out being used to mean “to leave” come from the 1920s. It combines the verb head, meaning “go in a certain direction” (as in, I think we’re heading the wrong way), and out, which is used to indicate movement away from something.

Head out is used informally. It can be used in almost any case where you might use leave. For example, when leaving your office for the day, you might say, “I’m heading out. See you tomorrow!” Or if you’re asking a friend when they’re leaving on a trip, you might say, “When are you planning to head out?”

Head out is also used in the phrase head out after, meaning “to follow or pursue,” as in The dog got out again so I had to head out after him.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for head out?

What are some words head out may be commonly confused with?

 

How is head out used in real life?

Head out is usually used casually, such as when talking about a planned trip or announcing that you’re leaving a social event.

 

 

Try using head out!

Which of the following phrases is an antonym (opposite) of head out?

A. come in
B. push off
C. beat it
D. take leave