[hed-lawng, -long]


with the head foremost; headfirst: to plunge headlong into the water.
without delay; hastily: to plunge headlong into work.
without deliberation; rashly: to rush headlong into battle.


undertaken quickly and suddenly; made precipitately; hasty: a headlong flight.
rash; impetuous: a headlong denunciation.
done or going with the head foremost: a headlong dive into the pool.

Nearby words

  1. headlight,
  2. headline,
  3. headline rate,
  4. headliner,
  5. headlock,
  6. headman,
  7. headmaster,
  8. headmasterly,
  9. headmistress,
  10. headmistressy

Origin of headlong

1350–1400; Middle English hedlong, earlier hedling. See head, -ling2

Related formshead·long·ness, noun

Can be confusedheadlong headstrong

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for headlong

British Dictionary definitions for headlong


adverb, adjective

with the head foremost; headfirst
with great haste


archaic (of slopes, etc) very steep; precipitous
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 headlong



late 14c., in phrase by headlong, from hed "head" (see head (n.)) + adverbial suffix -ling. Altered by folk etymology on pattern of sidelong, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper