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

Related Words for headlights

ocular, blinder, optic, lamp, headlight, oculus, peeper, eyeball, pie

Examples from the Web for headlights

Contemporary Examples of headlights

Historical Examples of headlights

  • 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
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper