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Head off   /hɛd ɔf/   Listen
Head off

verb
1.
Prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening.  Synonyms: avert, avoid, debar, deflect, fend off, forefend, forfend, obviate, stave off, ward off.  "Head off a confrontation" , "Avert a strike"






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Head off" Quotes from Famous Books



... it's true—in a way. But never mind the black man. Now that you know what a travelled man I am, what can I do for you? [She hesitates and plucks nervously at the heather. He stays her hand gently]. Dear Miss Nora: don't pluck the little flower. If it was a pretty baby you wouldn't want to pull its head off and stick it in a vawse o water to look at. [The grasshopper chirps: Keegan turns his head and addresses it in the vernacular]. Be aisy, me son: she won't spoil the swing-swong in your little three. [To Nora, resuming ...
— John Bull's Other Island • George Bernard Shaw

... about what our troops have done in the last year, showing America at its best, helping to save hundreds of thousands of people in Rwanda, moving with lightning speed to head off another threat to Kuwait, giving freedom and democracy back ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... fretted his head off and prepared for the night, while Winwood passed the word along to the forty lifers to be ready for the break. And two hours after midnight every guard in the prison was under orders. This included ...
— The Jacket (The Star-Rover) • Jack London

... pony," sez Jabez, makin' a reach for the bit; but the pony shied, whirled, an' purty nigh kicked his head off. He stood still in a daze while Barbie was circling the pony an' gettin' him ...
— Happy Hawkins • Robert Alexander Wason

... you wouldn't! When I think of it, I always want to see what's coming next, and so I always wait till next is over. Well! I suppose there's somebody happy somewheres. But it ain't in them carriages. Oh my! how they do look sometimes—fit to bite your head off! Good-bye!" ...
— At the Back of the North Wind • George MacDonald

... but one course open to avert the terrific scandal that was inevitable upon publication of the Massachusetts Report, and that was to head off and forestall adverse comment and criticism, as far as possible, by making a clean breast of it. No time was lost in preparing a letter of explanation to the Department. This answered the purpose of the Department, which did not care to press ...
— Frenzied Finance - Vol. 1: The Crime of Amalgamated • Thomas W. Lawson

... to knock your damned head off for telling me a lie!" His tone was dangerous. "How dare you say that Vivian is married when you know she is ...
— The Making of a Soul • Kathlyn Rhodes

... debris. Looked at from the Madeleine the desolation and ruin of that handsome street were lamentable to behold. The Place de la Concorde was a desert, and in the midst of it lay the statue of Lille with the head off. The last time I had looked on that face it was covered with crape, in mourning for the entry of the Prussians. Near the bridge were 24 corpses of Insurgents, laid out in a row, waiting to be buried under the neighbouring paving stones. To the right the skeleton ...
— The Insurrection in Paris • An Englishman: Davy

... Irish beggar, wi' a stripy cloot him and a bellows under 's arm, and ca'd himsel' a Hielander, the lad wad gi'e him his silly head off his shoulders." ...
— Tales from Many Sources - Vol. V • Various

... Its head off! Bite!"—so cried it out of me; my horror, my hatred, my loathing, my pity, all my good and my bad cried with one voice ...
— Thus Spake Zarathustra - A Book for All and None • Friedrich Nietzsche

... "I'll talk my head off," Mizzoo declared, "if that'll keep you on the move with me, for it's one thing meeting a ghost in the desert all alone, and quite another when there's a pair of us. Yes, I know you don't believe nothing I say about that spirit, and I only hope we'll come on it tonight! It ain't been a ...
— Lahoma • John Breckenridge Ellis

... logs, and the architecture is about as queer as its owner. Mrs. Gates, wife of the proprietor, can be, and usually is, very cross and disagreeable, and I rather dreaded stopping there alone. But she met me pleasantly—that is, she did not snap my head off—so I gathered courage to ask for a room that would be near some one, as I was timid at night. That settled my standing in her opinion, and with a "Humph!" she led the way across a hall and through a large room where there were several ...
— Army Letters from an Officer's Wife, 1871-1888 • Frances M.A. Roe

... you believe it? Why, I damn near fainted. His daughter too good for the likes of us! Of course I got so mad I couldn't see! Of course I pasted him square in the eye! And if I catch him sayin' things about me I'll knock his stuck-up head off! And I tell you, If you go near the dirty oilcan's place, And crawl around that snippy brat of his, I'll kick you out into the street to stay. You hear that? Eight out in the street you go! The nerve! The dirty, lousy, low-down crook! A Bootleg ...
— Nonsenseorship • G. G. Putnam

... earn my bread. Oh, his temper is simply awful, and he gets worse every day. He's growing stingy, too, and makes us live like beggars. All the vegetables go to market now, and most of the butter, and this morning he blew Aunt Saidie's head off because she had spring chickens on the breakfast table. I don't dare ask him for a penny, and yet he's rich—one of the richest men in the ...
— The Deliverance; A Romance of the Virginia Tobacco Fields • Ellen Glasgow

... think of you suggestin' that, an' I was just wonderin' at that very minute whether if I was to ask you—you'd snap my head off, you ...
— The Ffolliots of Redmarley • L. Allen Harker

... I had made up our minds, everything else arranged itself with lightning speed. Sir Marcus, rejoicing in his ill-got conquest of us, broke to me the news that I must go by the first ship to the Piraeus, to meet the Candace, and head off the recalcitrant band of passengers. He flattered me by thinking that, if I took the place of Colonel Corkran as conductor, they would abandon their plot to desert the yacht at Alexandria. It was, according to Lark's secret information, ...
— It Happened in Egypt • C. N. Williamson & A. M. Williamson

... take a fellow's head off," growled the other, just as the midshipman pulled in another mackerel, and directly after another, and another, for they were sailing through a shoal, and the man at the helm let his stolid face break up into a broad grin as the ...
— In the King's Name - The Cruise of the "Kestrel" • George Manville Fenn

... taken up our ground, some columns, from the enemy's left, were seen in motion towards Hugamont, and were soon warmly engaged with the right of our army. A cannon ball, too, came from the Lord knows where, for it was not fired at us, and took the head off our right hand man. That part of their position, in our own immediate front, next claimed our undivided attention. It had hitherto been looking suspiciously innocent, with scarcely a human being ...
— Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, in the Peninsula, France, and the Netherlands - from 1809 to 1815 • Captain J. Kincaid

... should I alter matters in a heathen place like this?" Her large bosom rocked tumultuously. "Dwelling at the bottom of a mud-hole like a frog, O God of my fathers! with bullets as big as pumpkins trundling overhead, ready to whip your head off your body if you as much as stick your nose ...
— The Dop Doctor • Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

... street reserved temporarily for the Emperor, who usually drives like a private citizen. I have never been able to understand, however, what good such reservation does, if undertaken as a protective measure (as hasty travelers are fond of asserting), when a person can head off the Emperor, reach the goal by a parallel street, and then walk into a small, select imperial party unknown, uninvited, unhindered, as I evidently could have done and almost did, woolen gown, bonnet, and all, barred solely by my own question to the Swiss ...
— Russian Rambles • Isabel F. Hapgood

... thorough. She liked to see things properly done. Since David and his young friends had undertaken a venture so absurd, she decided to lend them a helping hand with it. Besides, now that she had no children of her own in the house, Mademoiselle was practically eating her head off. Also it had developed that David was fond of the child, so fond of her that to oppose that affection would have been bad policy, and Mrs. Bolling was politic when she chose to be. She chose to be politic ...
— Turn About Eleanor • Ethel M. Kelley

... horse eating his head off every meal at ever so much per week,—till at last I fairly gave in from sheer vexation. So the—gentleman—got my money, and I added something to my stock of experience. Of course, that's only my story, and it may be that the gentleman could ...
— Phineas Redux • Anthony Trollope

... found no sperm in any of the male fish he dissected, which was proof that swordfish spawn before coming to Catalina waters. They are a warm-water fish, and probably head off the Japan current into some warm, intersecting branch that ...
— Tales of Fishes • Zane Grey

... Cut the head off and cut the skin along the neck; find the vein which lies between the tendons, and trace it as far back as possible; at the back of the neck it divides into two branches, and these must ...
— The International Jewish Cook Book • Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

... on literature.) Any music that was expressive, descriptive, suggestive—in short, any music with any meaning—was condemned as impure. In every Frenchman there is a Robespierre. He must be for ever chopping the head off something or somebody to purify it. The great French critics only recognized pure music: the rest they ...
— Jean Christophe: In Paris - The Market-Place, Antoinette, The House • Romain Rolland

... sorrowin' mother was a hell-cat that hated him because he was acrewk'd, a regular lamiter he was, an' he hated her so that he committed suicide in order that she mightn't get an insurance she put on his life. He blew nigh the top of his head off with an old musket that they had for scarin' crows with. 'Twarn't for crows then, for it brought the clegs and the dowps to him. That's the way he fell off the rocks. And, as to hopes of a glorious resurrection, ...
— Dracula • Bram Stoker

... on his stool, put his right hand into his sack-coat pocket, extracted therefrom part of a paper of "Maple Dew," and replenished his left cheek with an ample wad of "fine-cut." John took advantage of the break to head off what he had reason to fear might turn into a lengthy digression from the matter in hand by saying, "I beg pardon, but how does it happen that Mrs. Cullom is in such circumstances? Has the family ...
— David Harum - A Story of American Life • Edward Noyes Westcott

... Nothin', except he's the new pump-man. And I can see right now it won't be many hours afore the bosun'll beat his head off." ...
— Wide Courses • James Brendan Connolly

... would be the greatest political power that ever existed in this or any other country. It would drive the other parties before it like sand before a wind. They would be compelled to adopt one after another the expedients of reform to head off the increasing threat of this one party's progress towards the revolutionary ideal. But this one party would have no more need to waste its time upon palliative measures than it would have to soil itself with the dirt ...
— Socialism As It Is - A Survey of The World-Wide Revolutionary Movement • William English Walling

... my cow." And Lige sed: "Cum after your cow? Wall, if you've got any cow round here I'll be durned if I know it." Si sed: "Wall, Lige, I left my cow with you." And Lige sed: "Wall, that's a year ago, and she's et her head off two or three times since then." So Si sed: "Wall, Lige, you've had her milk fer her keep." And Lige sed: "Milk be durned, she went dry three weeks after you left, and she ain't give any milk since, and near as I can figger it out, seems to me as how I've pestered her and fed her all this time, ...
— Uncles Josh's Punkin Centre Stories • Cal Stewart

... own team. Arthurs used the two pitchers he had been trying hard to develop, and when they did locate the plate they were hit hard. Ken played or essayed to play right field for a while, but he ran around like a chicken with its head off, as a Travers player expressed it, and then Arthurs told him that he had better grace the bench the rest of the game. Ashamed as Ken was to be put out, he was yet more ashamed to feel that he was glad ...
— The Young Pitcher • Zane Grey

... me, you wooden-legged little monster,' cried the virago, with another bang of the umbrella, which raised such a cloud of dust that it nearly made Slivers sneeze his head off. 'He ain't been home all night, and you've been leading him into bad habits, you ...
— Madame Midas • Fergus Hume

... then at the book again. And in the book it said, "It can be maintained that the evil of pride consists in being out of proportion to the universe." So the backwoodsman put down his book, took his axe and, working eight hours a day for about a week, cut the giant's head off; and there was an ...
— Tremendous Trifles • G. K. Chesterton

... seem quite to realize," he writes in the letter before me, "that uniformity of pace leads inevitably to languor. You should deliver a pistol-shot or two. Remember Philippa is a fiery girl; she can snap. If only for variety, she should snap James' head off when she says, 'Do I speak as if ...
— The Story of My Life - Recollections and Reflections • Ellen Terry

... train of soldiers, with a carload of arms and munitions, passed on the way to head off the latest revolted "general." The newspapers of the capital appeared, some rabidly "anti-American," stopping at nothing to stir up the excitable native against alleged subtle plans of the nation to the north to rob them of their territory and national existence, the more ...
— Tramping Through Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras - Being the Random Notes of an Incurable Vagabond • Harry A. Franck

... that no blood should fall to the ground. Then he broke off one of its legs, and one of the demon's legs fell off. Still the demon came on. Then he broke off the other leg, but the demon walked on his hands. The boy saw him coming nearer and nearer, so he wrung the bird's head off, and the demon ...
— Indian Fairy Tales • Anonymous

... and unlovely, that had suffered the Caudine Forks, and then conquered Samnium and beheaded that noble generous Samnite Gaius Pontius, conquered in turn the conqueror at Cannae, and did for his reputation what she had done with the Samnite hero's person: chopped its head off, and dubbed him in perfect sincerity 'perfidus Hannibal.' Over that corpse she stood, at the end of the third century B.C., mistress of Italy and the Italian islands; with proud Carthage at her feet; and the old cultured East, that had ...
— The Crest-Wave of Evolution • Kenneth Morris

... or bullets, as Wodrow calls them, for he was not learned in the nomenclature of vain recreations. "One of the players, when the Marquess stooped down to lift the bullet, fell pale, and said to them about him, 'Bless me! what is that I see?—my Lord with the head off, and all his ...
— The Book-Hunter - A New Edition, with a Memoir of the Author • John Hill Burton

... the top-gallant-mast; it still had to bear the weight of the heavy spritsail yard, and the drag of the staysail might carry the spar overboard with the men upon it. Yet it was our best chance; the one sail most speedily released and hoisted, the one that would pay the brig's head off quickest, and the only fragment that promised ...
— The Frozen Pirate • W. Clark Russell

... been agreed, when they cracked the head off the last bottle, that the company should dine together at the Cafe Royal or Romano's, so they drove first to Drake's chambers to brush the dust off and to wash and rest. Glory was the first to be ready, and while waiting for the others ...
— The Christian - A Story • Hall Caine

... in swallowing a good-sized kangaroo rat. The tail of the rat protruded several inches from his mouth. The snake glared at us, but made no effort to escape or fight. He seemed dazed, probably half choked by his efforts to swallow the rat. We straightened him out on the ground and blew his head off with a shotgun. We then disgorged the rat, which was at least four or five inches long, and an inch and a half in diameter. The snake was then quickly skinned. He had eleven ...
— Out of Doors—California and Oregon • J. A. Graves

... the dark about the fate of his assistant. Renouard had never needed other company than his own, for there was in him something of the sensitiveness of a dreamer who is easily jarred. He had said to himself that the all-knowing one would only preach again about the evils of solitude and worry his head off in favour of some forlornly useless protege of his. Also the inquisitiveness of the Editor had irritated him and had closed ...
— Within the Tides • Joseph Conrad

... rugged. aspirar breathe, inhale, aspire. asqueroso, -a loathsome, filthy. astro m. heavenly body, orb, star. astuto, -a cunning, crafty. asunto m. affair, business. asustar frighten. atajar head off, stop, check, confound. atad m. coffin. Atenas pr. n. f. Athens. atento, -a attentive, watchful, heedful, intent. aterrador, -a frightening, terrible. tila pr. n. m. Attila. atrs adv. behind, backward. ...
— El Estudiante de Salamanca and Other Selections • George Tyler Northup

... not," he returned; "silly things, girls are. There's Dorothy, you know; we were playing at executions the other day—she was Mary Queen of Scots an' I was the headsman. I made a lovely axe with wood and silver paper, you know; and when I cut her head off she cried awfully, and I only gave her the weeniest little tap—an' they sent me to bed at six o'clock for it. I believe she cried on purpose—awfully ...
— My Lady Caprice • Jeffrey Farnol

... bearing the serious (?) name of Snickersville. Here we had the first evidence of the presence of the enemy. We were hurried through this village and up through the gap in the mountain called "Snicker's Gap" to head off the rebels. We soon came on to their scouts and pickets, who fled precipitately without firing a gun. Part of our division halted on the top of the gap, while a couple of regiments skirmished through the ...
— War from the Inside • Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock

... the top of her head off one side the river; while a muffled noise, like a bull-frog croaking, came from the ferry ...
— The Torch and Other Tales • Eden Phillpotts

... dropping large tears upon it all the time, because he was so cross, and when she had lined the dish with crust, and had cut the crust all ready to fit the top, the Captain called out: 'I see the meat in the glass!' And the bride looked up at the glass, just in time to see the Captain cutting her head off; and he chopped her in pieces, and peppered her, and salted her, and put her in the pie, and sent it to the baker's, and ate it all, and ...
— Forgotten Tales of Long Ago • E. V. Lucas

... precious twist that girl has, to be sure; even after all the ground she's been over to-night, going a topping pace the whole time too, she wasn't a bit off her feed; didn't she walk into the ham sandwiches—that's all! I'd rather keep her for a week than a fortnight, I can tell you; she'd eat her head off in a month, and no mistake. Here, waiter," he continued, "have you got anything to eat in ...
— Frank Fairlegh - Scenes From The Life Of A Private Pupil • Frank E. Smedley

... "Then I'll take Ryfe to my sulking-room," said he, "and wish you good-bye till dinner-time. Tom, you shall have the best cigar in England—I've kept them five years, and they're strong enough to blow your head off now." ...
— M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur." • G.J. Whyte-Melville

... and he'll like you. By Jove, he's got to! You mustn't mind if he snaps your head off occasionally. His life's made him savage, but even his life—he's had an awful one, Ernestine—couldn't make him vicious. He's the gruffest, snarliest, biggest man I ever knew—meaner than the devil, and ...
— The Glory Of The Conquered • Susan Glaspell

... hero reasoned within himself. It was true, old Battle was eating his head off. But the pig had made a wonderful sensation, and so crowded the house every night as to demonstrate the fact that first rate talent of every kind was highly appreciated in New York. The critics, with scarcely a dissenting voice, had declared the pig a marvel, a profound ...
— The Life and Adventures of Maj. Roger Sherman Potter • "Pheleg Van Trusedale"

... that the St. Louis Club won the championship, and for the fourth consecutive time, thus breaking the record. The Brooklyns, by a liberal expenditure of money toward the close of the season, succeeded in strengthening sufficiently to head off the Athletics for second place, and the latter had to be content with third position. The Cincinnatis did good work toward the close, despite the sale of several valuable players, and almost succeeded in closing the gap between fourth and ...
— Spalding's Baseball Guide and Official League Book for 1889 • edited by Henry Chadwick

... replied Righty. "Lefty and I didn't wait to find out, and we have never been back there since. I don't believe he did eat him, for two reasons. One is that after trying to bite my head off Skihigh hadn't teeth enough left to eat anything with, and the other reason is that I saw Ebenezer two years afterwards on his way to school one beautiful spring morning. I noticed him particularly because, although it was a lovely clear morning, he had his umbrella ...
— Andiron Tales • John Kendrick Bangs

... been in his son's service) being well received and supplied with food, pretending a desire to buy something and whilst the old man was taking from the chest the cloth the Indian wanted the latter took up an ax and cut his head off, further plundering the house, and ran away. This outrage obliged the Director to demand satisfaction from the sachem, who refused it, saying that he was sorry that twenty Christians had not been murdered and ...
— Narrative of New Netherland • J. F. Jameson, Editor

... way to do it," I answered. "You could not hitch a bear behind a wagon—the horse would run away and jerk his head off. The only way to take a bear about the country is to lead him, and I do not mind it in the least. As I have got to go without my bicycle I would like to have some sort of company. Anyway, the bear must go, and as I am ...
— A Bicycle of Cathay • Frank R. Stockton

... half-Irish, whether you like it or not," he said. "Is not she, colleen? Bless me, what a day it has turned out! We are getting summer weather at last. What do you say to going for a drive, Eileen—Ellen, I mean? Black Bess is eating her head off in the stables. I want to go as far as Murphy's place, and you might ...
— Light O' The Morning • L. T. Meade

... brigadier, sinking down on the bundle. Then he turned and glared at me savagely. "Idiot!" he cried, labouring for his breath. "Espece d'imbecile. Ah! Nom d'un petit bonhomme. You were on the end. Why did you not head off those ...
— A Village of Vagabonds • F. Berkeley Smith

... "If its tail strikes you, it might do you an injury. It is harmless, otherwise. I have cut its head off." ...
— On the Irrawaddy - A Story of the First Burmese War • G. A. Henty

... don't always hold your head off to one side like somebody was going to hit you. I hate it. It makes me feel ...
— Star-Dust • Fannie Hurst

... you'd be down on me. I wouldn't have said a word if I'd known that you were here," said Cashel, dejectedly. "Lie down and be walked over; that's what you think I'm fit for. Another man would have twisted his head off." ...
— Cashel Byron's Profession • George Bernard Shaw

... any rate, she wasn't dignified, or reserved, or proper, or anything of the kind, for she just hid her pretty head on his square shoulder, and said, "Oh, John!"—"slowly, and nothing more,"—as Mr. Tennyson remarks about cutting Iphigenia's head off with ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, Issue 17, March, 1859 • Various

... or die in the attempt. A Cook's guide was watching our indecision with hungry eyes. We have since named him Barabbas, for reasons known to every unfortunate who ever fell into his hands. But he was clever. He said that we might cut his head off if he did not get us back to the boat in time. We assured him that we would gladly avail ourselves of his permission if that ship sailed without us. Then we scuttled down the heaving stairway at the ship's side, and away we went over (or mostly through) the waves to the Piraeus. There we took a carriage, ...
— As Seen By Me • Lilian Bell

... replied, His nutrient feature showing wide The gleam of arches dental: "To cut my head off wouldn't pay, I find it useful every ...
— The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Complete • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... as he put up his hand to his cap. "Faith, I thought a round shot had taken my head off. Catch it, Jack, or it ...
— The Three Lieutenants • W.H.G. Kingston

... grandfather's old servant, who had been his own care-taker for many years. Here, however, Carteret could see where Tom's own desperate position operated to furnish a probable motive for the crime. The surest way to head off suspicion from himself was to direct it strongly toward some particular person, and this he had been able to do conclusively by his access to Sandy's clothes, his skill in making up to resemble him, and by the episode of the silk purse. By ...
— The Marrow of Tradition • Charles W. Chesnutt

... Yas, I's seen dat foot befoh! (Gives foot a yank) Dat's her ol' trick, Mars Edgah. She jes foolin' yo'! Don' yo' be so soft hearted next time. Yo' jes take her by de back ob de neck and wring her head off! ...
— Semiramis and Other Plays - Semiramis, Carlotta And The Poet • Olive Tilford Dargan

... of these childish follies When I am dead? who shall put to his power To draw those vertues out of a flood of humors, When they are drown'd, and make'em shine again? No, cut my head off: Then you may talk, and be believed, and grow worse, And have your too self-glorious temper rot Into a deep sleep, and the Kingdom with you, Till forraign swords be in your throats, and slaughter Be every where about you like your ...
— A King, and No King • Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

... had fallen into the place, but the harm done was insignificant. The most picturesque and melancholy sight was along the river front, where to head off the enemy's approach the French had been obliged to blow up those ancient bridges, landmarks of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, for, like the Ponte Vecchio at Florence, they were lined with houses and mills, whose pointed roofs and apparent beams had weathered nearly five ...
— My Home In The Field of Honor • Frances Wilson Huard

... and said, "You are a dandy hunter! you didn't shoot at all until after the elk were gone, and the way you held your gun it is a wonder it didn't knock your head off, instead ...
— Letters on an Elk Hunt • Elinore Pruitt Stewart

... nearly the whole world, Uncle Sam with the rest, it's a long wait before you can expect an answer to a letter going abroad, even if the German submarines allow it to reach there. And if I don't find out the truth now, just think of the days and weeks I'll be worrying my head off about that letter! Oh! it makes me just sick to even think of it. I could kick myself ...
— Jack Winters' Gridiron Chums • Mark Overton

... not see what made it, so finally ran in and told father. He came out and lifted up a wide board over two stones. He jumped back and called to me to run in the house, then grabbed an ax and cut the head off a huge rattlesnake. It had ten rattles. We never saw ...
— Old Rail Fence Corners - The A. B. C's. of Minnesota History • Various

... I had a ranch like this, and cattle, and horses, and a father and mother and uncle like you've got,—I never would look a camera in the eye again as long as I live. That's straight, old-timer. Why, I'm working my head off trying to get enough ahead so that I can have a ranch of my own! So I can slap a saddle on a horse that carries my brand, and ride out after my cattle, and haze them into my corral; so I can have a home that is mine. ...
— The Phantom Herd • B. M. Bower

... knows how to cook, anyway. Jackson's about the best o' the lot above ground, though I don't know as I know very much against the old man, either. But that boy! I declare I 'most feel like takin' the top of his head off when he gets at his tricks. ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... concerned, if he was the instrument of an overruling Power; for God chooses such instruments as he pleases. Even in human governments it is sometimes expedient to employ rogues in order to catch rogues, or to head off some peculiar evil that honest people do not know how to manage. But because a bad man is selected by a higher power to do some peculiar work, it does not follow that this bad man should be praised for doing it, especially if the work is good only so far as it is overruled. Both human consciousness ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume IV • John Lord

... his head off. "The United—Bah! Ees the most unfree country what is. Every man, every woman, is slave—slave to law, slave to custom, slave to everysing. You get up such time; eat such time," his hands went out in Latin frenzy. "Every day you ...
— The Bad Man • Charles Hanson Towne

... despising their low estate, and of the general opinion that there is no punishable sin in the ill-treatment of animals designed for our use; that, therefore, the woman did not bestow so much thought on him as to cut his head off first, and that she would have laughed at any considerate person who should have desired such a thing; with what fearful indignation might he inveigh against the unfeeling metaphysician that, like a cruel spirit alarmed at the appearance of a dawning of mercy upon animals, ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume 2 • Charles Lamb

... said the old rat, "do stop! You will make me cry too;" and he put his paw to his eye. "I will go and see what I can get you for your tea e-e-e-e. Come, give me a hug, and kiss me for good-by, for that big cat I told you of may get hold of me, and bite my head off. If she does so, this is the last you will see ...
— The First Little Pet Book with Ten Short Stories in Words of Three and Four Letters • Frances Elizabeth Barrow

... take my head off! I haven't got any other and can't spare it!" answered Mrs. Gratacap, not in the least abashed. "I don't want to go bothering hotel help; I always keep out of their way, for they have a holy horror of us nurses, and the fuss most of us make; though I am not one of that sort. I leave the help alone ...
— Fairy Fingers - A Novel • Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie

... might have caused him to imagine for a moment that his sleep had been death, and he had wakened in heaven, yet he must needs awake to find that the look and manner of earth had returned. Her sensitive pride made her guarded even in expressing her gratitude, and she purposed to slip his head off upon her shawl whenever he showed signs of awakening, so that he might believe that the earth ...
— Barriers Burned Away • E. P. Roe

... happen" events are genuinely infrequent in production code, programmers wise enough to check for them habitually are often surprised at how often they are triggered during development and how many headaches checking for them turns out to head off. ...
— THE JARGON FILE, VERSION 2.9.10

... "I beat you to it. I suppose it makes you feel jealous to see me resting once in a while, instead of slaving my head off as usual. If you Indians had your way I'd be worn to ...
— The Radio Boys' First Wireless - Or Winning the Ferberton Prize • Allen Chapman

... so high that it has been impossible to take the waggons over, and I am obliged to have others impressed on the southern side of the Susquehannah. Your Excellency mentions the propriety of remaining at the head off Elk until shoes can be collected, but the prospect I have from the board of war are not flattering enough to encourage this measure. On the other side General Green is pressing in his advices, and will soon be so in his orders ...
— Memoirs, Correspondence and Manuscripts of General Lafayette • Lafayette

... observed Ardan, "all I've got to say is, you might chop the head off my body, beginning with my feet, before you could make me go through such ...
— All Around the Moon • Jules Verne

... much for your own peace of mind," he said. "But Mackay is as inscrutable as the Sphinx. One could see he was anxious, because he was ready to snap one's head off on the least provocation; but beyond that I know no more than you do. We can only do our poor utmost for him every hour, you and I, and leave the ...
— Captain Desmond, V.C. • Maud Diver

... said a second voice; "well find 'em easy enough in the morning. They're both hobbled, and won't be far away. Now come on, Pinky, and show us your nigger with the top of his head off. You're a great gasser, I know. Strike a match, Barney, and I'll get a bit of dry ti-tree bark to ...
— Tom Gerrard - 1904 • Louis Becke

... miraculous escape. The day before yesterday he saw the smoke from an embrasure on his left and heard a shell coming, but did not see it. It struck the ground five yards in front of him, and burst, not touching him. If it had not burst, it would have taken his head off." ...
— The Story of General Gordon • Jeanie Lang

... Omoroca in two (Chokanipok destroyed Ataentsic), and out of Omoroca Bel made the world and the things in it. We have already seen that in savage myth many things are fashioned out of a dead member of the extra-natural race. Lastly, Bel cut his own head off, and with the blood the gods mixed clay and made men. The Chaldeans ...
— Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1 • Andrew Lang

... about that bunch of nifty lads I see cavorting around the store occasionally—and especially about the polysyllabic gentleman who seems to hang out at the Peaceful Hart ranch. I'm terribly taken with him. He—excuse me, chicken. There's a fellow down the line hollering his head off. Wait till ...
— Good Indian • B. M. Bower

... so good," Alhamid said. "For the past week, Mr. Peter Danley has been working his head off, under the tutelage of two of the toughest, smartest anchor men in the business. But you should have seen the looks on their faces when I told them they were going to have an Earthman for ...
— Anchorite • Randall Garrett

... left-hand road at the end of town," replied the man, more calmly. "Ten miles down you'll come to a fork. There's where the I.W.W.'s will turn off to go up into the foot-hills. Anderson just 'phoned. You can head off his car if it's on the hill road. But you'll have to drive.... Do you know Anderson's car? Don't you want ...
— The Desert of Wheat • Zane Grey

... mean. I was feard of 'er. She run us down and ketch us and whoop us. She was tall slender woman. She was mean as she could be. She'd cut a cat's head off fer no cause er tall. Grandpa was kind. He'd bring me candy back if he went off. I cried after him. I played with his girl. We was about the same size. Her name was Annie Mathis. He was a Mathis. He was a blacksmith too at Monticello and later he bought a farm ...
— Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves: Volume II, Arkansas Narratives, Part 2 • Works Projects Administration

... with the heiress did present itself to my mind. According to what my wife had said, Jack would have jumped at the girl with just what she stood up in; and had sworn to his mother, when he had been told that morning about the kiss behind the door, that he would knock that brute's head off his shoulders before many days were gone by. Looking at the matter merely on behalf of Jack, it appeared to me that Little Christchurch would, in that case, be quite safe, let Crasweller be deposited,—or ...
— The Fixed Period • Anthony Trollope

... anxious to stand out to sea, so as to lose sight of land. This, however, was too dangerous an amusement to allow him. Sir Harry's plan was to put the ship's head off-shore, and to make all sail. This satisfied the King, who was then easily persuaded to go below to luncheon, dinner, or tea, or to indulge in his favourite game. Sail was soon again quietly shortened, and the ship headed in for the shore. Sometimes the King seemed rather surprised ...
— Tales of the Sea - And of our Jack Tars • W.H.G. Kingston

... December 10th 1805 Tusday A Cloudey rainy morning those people was Some what astonished, at three Shot I made with my little riffle to day, a gangu of Brant Set in the little river, I Killd. 2 of them as they Set, and on my return Saw a Duck which I took the head off of, the men plunged into the water like Spaniards Dogs after those fowls, after eateing a brackfast which was Similar to my Suppar, I attempted to purchase Some fiew roots which I offered red beeds for, they would give Scercely ...
— The Journals of Lewis and Clark • Meriwether Lewis et al

... Inger had got it over—another boy—and was lying down. That Inger! Only that very morning she had tried to get him to go down to the village again: "'Tis time the horse had something to do," says she. "Eating his head off all day." ...
— Growth of the Soil • Knut Hamsun

... capering and dancing with her, while Mas'r George snapped at her with his pocket-handkerchief, and Mose and Pete, now returned again, roared after her like bears, till Aunt Chloe declared that they "fairly took her head off" with their noise. As, according to her own statement, this surgical operation was a matter of daily occurrence in the cabin, the declaration no whit abated the merriment, till every one had roared and tumbled and danced themselves down to ...
— Uncle Tom's Cabin • Harriet Beecher Stowe

... while ago I was worrying my poor old head off for fear the boat would sink with me," he went on to say, with a dismal smile; "and now it's just the other way, and I'm feelin' bad ...
— The, Boy Scouts on Sturgeon Island - or Marooned Among the Game-fish Poachers • Herbert Carter

... sittin'-room lounge, but I hadn't much more'n got in here when the pesky thing went out. You ought to have seen me hurryin' along that hall to get down before you woke up, Emily. No, come to think of it, you couldn't have seen me—'twas too dark to see anything. . . . Well," she added, quickly, in order to head off troublesome questioning, "we've looked around here pretty well. What else ...
— Thankful's Inheritance • Joseph C. Lincoln

... "No historical authority nowadays doubts that they were paid by the great monopolies to wave the red flag and talk about burning, sacking, and blowing people up, in order, by alarming the timid, to head off any real reforms. What astonishes me most is that you should have fallen into the ...
— Looking Backward - 2000-1887 • Edward Bellamy

... without Verona walls, But purgatory, torture, hell itself. Hence-banished is banish'd from the world, And world's exile is death,—then banished Is death mis-term'd: calling death banishment, Thou cutt'st my head off with a golden axe, And smil'st upon the stroke that ...
— Romeo and Juliet • William Shakespeare [Collins edition]

... Son stepped over the body and went towards the fifth gate. Then he remembered what the Glashan had said, "His life is in his head." He went back to where the King of the Land of Mist had fallen. With a clean sweep of his sword he cut the head off the body. ...
— The King of Ireland's Son • Padraic Colum

... vanes, one dozen medium-sized mills, one dozen small mills, three sailors, etc., etc., as set forth upon that order. One of the crows fell to the floor and he accidently stepped upon it and snapped its head off. He was gazing solemnly down at the wreck when the door behind him opened and a strong blast of damp, cold wind blew in. He turned and found that Mrs. Armstrong had opened the door. She entered ...
— Shavings • Joseph C. Lincoln

... only its head was seen above the leaves. This was a matter of little moment, however, for by aiming a little lower he knew that he must hit the body; but Dick had driven the nail too often to aim at its body; he aimed at the bird's eye and cut its head off. ...
— The Dog Crusoe and his Master • R.M. Ballantyne

... Paula, "you Britishers are the limit, for stolid, unemotional people. Here am I shouting my head off like a baseball fan, to get this thing put through, and you quietly walk up and announce that everything's fixed ...
— The Sky Pilot in No Man's Land • Ralph Connor

... had ripped the cavity open nearly to the bottom. For all that, early the following May bluebirds were occupying the cavity again. It held three eggs when I arrived. I looked over the situation and resolved to try to head off the owl this time, even at the risk of driving the bluebirds away. I took a strip of tin several inches wide and covered the slit with it and wired it fast. Then I obtained a broad strip of dry birch-bark, wrapped ...
— Under the Maples • John Burroughs

... appearin' chap he can liven up a lot. Must have been goin' into the details deep with her; for they don't come back—and they don't come back. I'd read the evenin' papers, and poked up the log fire half a dozen times, and stood around watchin' the bridge game until I nearly yawned my head off; but ...
— Shorty McCabe on the Job • Sewell Ford

... she said, witheringly. "Mr. Craydock shot its head off to begin with, over at the orange-grove this morning, and I've killed it four different times on our way home. He gave it to me to take to Norman for his collection. But Miss Scudder is so scared of it that she makes me get out every half-mile ...
— The Little Colonel: Maid of Honor • Annie Fellows Johnston

... opens: and yet, You would have done that fifteen-years-hard willingly? Some folk can only thrive in gaol—no nerve To face the risks outside; and never happy Till lagged for life: meals punctual and no cares: And the king for landlord. While I've eaten my head off, You've been a galled jade, fretting for the stable. Tastes differ: but it's just that you're not my sort Puzzles me why ...
— Krindlesyke • Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

... the boy said to Sunny, as he set him carefully down. "Now you take my advice and trot along home and get on dry shoes and stockings. You'll be sneezing your head off to-morrow, if you ...
— Sunny Boy and His Playmates • Ramy Allison White

... details of what she calls the plot that resulted in the liberation of Martin Druce?" he demanded. "She says she will give the whole thing to the newspapers later. They are calling it in the streets below my study window now. Can't something be done to head off that statement?" ...
— Little Lost Sister • Virginia Brooks



Words linked to "Head off" :   prevent, forestall, preclude, forbid, foreclose



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