1860, from match (n.1) + head (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Examples from the Web for match-head

  • He scarcely dared to breathe as he heard her silver chain of trinkets tinkle, and heard the rasp of the match-head on the box.

    The Pursuit|Frank (Frank Mackenzie) Savile
  • She waited, heart beating, listening to the scratching of the match-head against the woodwork.

    Sally Bishop|E. Temple Thurston
  • For every vantage-point as big as a match-head on our face and hands the "bull-dog" contests with the mosquito.

    The New North|Agnes Deans Cameron
  • It became sufficiently hot to flare the piece of match-head or whatever Cuthbert placed there.

    Whispering Wires|Henry Leverage