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Origin of heads up
Words nearby heads up
Definition for heads up (2 of 2)
Origin of 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.
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.”
— 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.
Example sentences from the Web for heads up
Cinema Services gave him the heads-up that Sony was going forward with the December 25 release.The Inside Story of How Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Finally Made It to Theaters|Marlow Stern|December 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
As a heads-up, David will be writing on the subject this afternoon.
Not one of the employees in those congregations gave the restaurant a heads-up.
On the NSA recording, Saakashvili gave the McCain aide a heads-up that all hell might break out.
British Dictionary definitions for heads up
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]