head (someone or something) off at the pass

(redirected from head them off at the pass)

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Which leads to a sober reassessment of all we do to find and treat health problems or head them off at the pass. The widespread belief that medicine today has the potential to prevent most health problems or detect them early enough for a cure has succeeded in "medicalizing'' modern life and raising the costs of medical care to unsustainable levels.
"It's about looking upstream for pathogens and being able to head them off at the pass," said Damien Joly, PhD, a wildlife epidemiologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, one of the many groups working on the mapping project.
4 Temper tantrums - head them off at the pass by giving your child plenty of praise, cuddles and kisses but don't be embarrassed if your child does have one as they can happen to the best parents.
She had discovered (gasp!) that these blackguards are testing death-dealing TB serum on unsuspecting citizens of Kenya, and, with the help of a local doctor, tries to head them off at the pass, or find the smoking gun, or in some way bring them to Justice.
Many of them seem to think it's perfectly OK to barge into your conversation with the opener: "I have a question" and then proceed to bore you with said question (which not once was: "Gee, why does no one like us for invading other countries?") but the best way to deal with them is to head them off at the pass with the reply: "That's nice" and turn away.
I decided to head them off at the pass and tell that that I had actually been reassigned anyway - to cover the greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park.