head off

(redirected from head him off)

(one's) head off

Very intensely or loudly; with no restraint, hesitation, or inhibition. (Used after verbs associated with speech sounds, such as "yell," talk," "laugh," etc.) I'm telling you, Mark's boyfriend is hilarious! He had me laughing my head off when I met him. Suzy started yelling her head off when I told her she couldn't have an ice cream cone. A: "So, has Noah started saying any words yet?" B: "And then some—he's been talking his head off for months now!"
See also: head, off

head off

1. To try to stop something from happening. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "head" and "off." I'm calling the editor now to head off this story before they print it.
2. To intercept or seize someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "head" and "off." Can you head Mom off before she comes home and catches us having a party here?
3. To leave for a particular place. Louise just headed off to the store, but you can probably still catch her, if you leave now.
See also: head, off

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.
See also: head, off

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.
See also: head, off

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
References in classic literature ?
This persistence of the wind to head him off toward the southern part of Africa was defeating his calculations, and he no longer knew upon whom or upon what to depend.
The tick tried this, that, and the other course, and got as excited and as anxious as the boys themselves, but time and again just as he would have victory in his very grasp, so to speak, and Tom's fingers would be twitching to begin, Joe's pin would deftly head him off, and keep possession.
"After him!" yelled the Bishop; "some of you beat up the woods around him, while the rest of us will keep on the main road and head him off on the other side!"
I made up my mind to get out the back way, if there was a back way, and I asked the shopwoman if I could step out there and look for the escaped slave, who was believed to be in hiding back there somewhere, and said I was an officer in disguise, and my pard was yonder at the door with one of the murderers in charge, and would she be good enough to step there and tell him he needn't wait, but had better go at once to the further end of the back alley and be ready to head him off when I rousted him out.