head (someone or something) off at the pass

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head (someone or something) off at the pass

1. Literally, to prevent someone or something from reaching or passing a certain point, especially to escape. If we take this route, we should be able to head them off at the pass, sheriff! Janet's going to spill the beans about our plan to the teacher. I think she's going through the library, so if we're quick, we can head her off at the pass.
2. By extension, to preempt or forestall someone from doing something or something from happening. The aim of this new treatment method is to identify the disease much earlier and then head it off the pass, rather than simply managing the symptoms it presents down the line.
See also: head, off, pass
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

head someone off at the pass

Fig. to intercept someone. (From Old West movies. Fixed order.) I need to talk to John before he gets into the boss's office. I'll head him off at the pass. The sheriff set out in a hurry to head Jed off at the pass.
See also: head, off, pass
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

head (or cut) someone or something off at the pass

forestall someone or something, especially at a critical moment or at the last possible moment.
Pass is used here in the sense of a narrow route through mountains.
See also: head, off, pass, someone, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Scorpio, Fife Head him off at the pass by suggesting that you see each other three nights per week.
The ex-West Ham boss managed to head him off at the pass then, but it is not looking good for him now.
Two Yeomans Guards stood at each door, resolute in their determination to identify the enemy and head him off at the pass.