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See more synonyms for headlight on Thesaurus.com
  1. a light or lamp, usually equipped with a reflector, on the front of an automobile, locomotive, etc.
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Origin of headlight

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65; head + light1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for headlights

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They were following a kind of road when headlights bore down on them.

    Police Your Planet

    Lester del Rey

  • Then Nuwell switched on the headlights and they went on again.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • Asabri drove toward Rome, his headlights piercing the darkness.

    IT and Other Stories

    Gouverneur Morris

  • Muldoon's figure was outlined in the glow of the headlights.

  • Tires crunched on the gravel then, and headlights washed the darkness from the drive.

    Star Mother

    Robert F. Young

British Dictionary definitions for headlights



  1. a powerful light, equipped with a reflector and attached to the front of a motor vehicle, locomotive, etcSee also quartz-iodine lamp
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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 headlights



1861, originally of ships and locomotives, from head (n.) + light (n.). Related: Headlights, which, as slang for "a woman's breasts," is from 1940s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper