noun Also called head.

verb (used with object), head·lined, head·lin·ing.

verb (used without object), head·lined, head·lin·ing.

to be the star of an entertainment.

Origin of headline

First recorded in 1620–30; head + line1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for headline

caption, title, header, heading, leader, screamer, scarehead

Examples from the Web for headline

Contemporary Examples of headline

Historical Examples of headline

  • I'd rather write one good novel than all the headline stuff in the world.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • She seized the yellow journal, and threw her glance from headline to headline.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport

    Robert Neilson Stephens

  • “Groan yourself,” said Mr. Mix, and put a trembling finger on the headline.


    Holworthy Hall

  • I can see the face of my friend June Travis when she reads that headline.

    The Crystal Ball

    Roy J. Snell

  • "Good for Lem," said Johnnie, and he handed her the paper, pointing to a headline.

    In Pawn

    Ellis Parker Butler

British Dictionary definitions for headline



Also called: head, heading
  1. a phrase at the top of a newspaper or magazine article indicating the subject of the article, usually in larger and heavier type
  2. a line at the top of a page indicating the title, page number, etc
(usually plural) the main points of a television or radio news broadcast, read out before the full broadcast and summarized at the end
hit the headlines to become prominent in the news


(tr) to furnish (a story or page) with a headline
to have top billing (in)
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 headline

1670s, from head (n.) in sense "heading of a book or chapter" (c.1200) + line (n.). Originally a printers' term for the line at the top of a page containing the title and page number; used of newspapers from 1890, and transferred unthinkingly to broadcast media. Headlinese "language peculiar to headlines" is from 1927. Headlines "important news" is from 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper