head off

(redirected from head someone off at the pass)

head someone or something off

Fig. to intercept and divert someone or something. I think I can head her off before she reaches the police station. I hope we can head off trouble. We can head it off. Have no fear.
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head somebody/something off

also head off somebody/something
to stop the movement of people or animals by getting in front of them The horses broke into a gallop, and Pete yelled for Jack to head them off.
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head off something

also head something off
to avoid something bad by doing something now The UN Security Council is hoping to head off further violence.
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head off

Block the progress or completion of; also, intercept. For example, They worked round the clock to head off the flu epidemic, or Try to head him off before he gets home. [First half of 1800s] This expression gave rise to head someone off at the pass, which in Western films meant "to block someone at a mountain pass." It then became a general colloquialism for intercepting someone, as in Jim is going to the boss's office-let's head him off at the pass.
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head off

v.
1. To depart for some destination: She's heading off to New York City next week. He headed off for the mountains for his annual vacation.
2. To intercept or divert someone or something: Try to head them off before they get home. The sheriff headed off the gangsters at the pass.
3. To block the progress or completion of something: The town headed off the attempt to build another mall. The city council wanted to pass a restrictive zoning ordinance, but the mayor headed them off.
See also: head, off