Origin of heads up
Words nearby heads up
Other definitions for heads up (2 of 2)
Origin of heads-up
MORE ABOUT HEADS UP
What does heads-up mean?
As an exclamation, Heads up! is used to call attention to danger or another important matter.
As a basic noun, a heads-up is an advance notice or warning.
Where does heads-up come from?
In late 18th-century militaries, Heads up! encouraged soldiers to keep their heads held high in tough times—chin up guys.
Since then, heads up has taken on a number of meanings, all based on the idea that one is paying attention when their head is … up.
In the 1910s, heads-up described someone as alert or skillful (e.g., a heads-up police officer). Also around this time Heads up! became an exclamation to warn someone of danger ahead or overhead.
In the 1930s, the phrase heads up also signaled a frank statement, a kind of tbh of its day: I don’t like chopped liver, heads up.
Then, we get to the 1970s, and heads-up came into use in its most common and familiar contemporary meaning: an “advance warning,” “notice,” or “reminder.” For instance, Give me a heads-up when you’re off the plane or Heads up: This will be on the exam. By the 2000s, this sense extended to “facts” or “information” in general: What’s the heads-up on the new project?
As a nod of the head can be used to acknowledge someone you’re walking by, a heads-up occasionally took on the sense of a “greeting” in the 1990s.
Heads up also is the name of two popular games. Since the 1950s, apparently, schoolchildren have been playing Heads Up Seven Up. In the game, kids put their heads down on their desk as seven chosen classmates walk around the room tapping as many students. When done, the moderator shouts Heads up! and the tapped have to guess their tappers.
Based on a game she played on her talk show, Ellen Degeneres developed an app-based game called Heads Up! Here, players select a trivia category (animals, Disney movies, etc.) and divide into teams. One team player places a smartphone or tablet on their head displaying a term they have to guess based on clues their teammates give. The aim is to guess as many you can within a given time limit.
How is heads-up used in real life?
In everyday speech and writing, people may issue a heads up as a warning: Heads up, you’re about to bump into that pole. It’s common to say heads up before tossing something (keys, an apple) so you have the person’s attention.
Heads up!! Heavy rains expected beginning tonight. 2-5" likely over next 5 days & up to 8" along some areas in NC mtns. Flash flooding possible. Stay tuned to #ncwx. Stay away from flooded roads. pic.twitter.com/PHAfo65B0t
— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) May 27, 2018
Heads up very widely gets used in speech and writing for any bit of clickbait “news” or as a friendly “notice.”
Heads up #Lost and #Taken fans, @MaggieGrace has signed on as a series regular for #FearTWD Season 4: https://t.co/kpG4S5AKtg pic.twitter.com/jF89LxzjgA
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) November 29, 2017
Heads up! still sees use in its early “hold your head high and proud” sense too.
More examples of heads-up:
“In case you don’t already have an alert on your calendar, heads up: Father’s Day 2018 is quickly approaching. This year, it will fall on Sunday, Jun. 17. So don’t worry, you have plenty of time to put a little thought into dad’s present.”
—Brittany Bennett, Bustle, May, 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use heads up in a sentence
“I think for trans men who are dating every time they hook up they have another coming out,” Sandler said.Grindr’s Trans Dating Problem|David Levesley|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
In that photo, Merabet has a big smile that spreads across his whole face and lights up his eyes.The Muslim Cop Killed by Terrorists|Michael Daly|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
We won't find out this season, though it comes up occasionally.‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS|Marlow Stern|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Kickstarter is one start-up platform that seems to have realized the danger.Design Your Own Dinosaur: The Era of Custom DNA|Justin Jones|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The most recent issue contains detailed instructions for building car bombs, and the magazine frequently draws up hit-lists.U.S. Spies See Al Qaeda Fingerprints on Paris Massacre|Shane Harris, Nancy A. Youssef|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
What need to look to right or left when you are swallowing up free mile after mile of dizzying road?The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
Most of the men leaped up, caught hold of spears or knives, and rushed out.The Giant of the North|R.M. Ballantyne
Some weeks after, the creditor chanced to be in Boston, and in walking up Tremont street, encountered his enterprising friend.
In less than ten minutes, the bivouac was broken up, and our little army on the march.
The bride elect rushes up to him, and so they both step down to the foot-lights.Physiology of The Opera|John H. Swaby (AKA "Scrici")
British Dictionary definitions for heads up
Other Idioms and Phrases with heads up
A warning to watch out for potential danger, as in Heads up, that tree is coming down now! The expression is generally in the form of an interjection. [c. 1940]