phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

"Heads up"

Posted by ESC on May 07, 2003

In Reply to: Origin of "Heads up" posted by ESC on May 07, 2003

: : : :
: : : : Anyone know where this phrase came from? or any more info on it?

: : : It's become an office "buzz word" or should I say "buzz phrase" in recent years in the U.S. meaning "warning" or "advance notice." "I wanted to give you a 'heads up' on that."

: : : I don't know the origin but it always makes me think of deer grazing in a field -- they hear/smell/sense and enemy and their heads come up and they're ready for flight.

: : I've heard it used as a form of encouragement when things are not going well. Perhaps it's derived from 'with head held high.'

: : WITH HEAD HELD HIGH: Although this has only been a cliché since the nineteenth century, the idea behind holding one's head up, rather than bowed in shame, goes back much further. In fact, two expressions seem to have become blended here. Originally, 'to hold one's head up' meant to behave arrogantly or proudly, while 'to hold up one's head' referred to keeping one's dignity or self-respect. Both these date from the sixteenth century. Penguin Dictionary of Clichés, Julia Cresswell, 2000.

: It would help if J would give us the phrase in a sentence.

I thought "heads up" as in "look out/look lively" as a U.S. term. But I found it in the glossary for BBC America's "The Office." (I've watched the show a couple of times and liked it, but it's on past my bedtime.)

heads up -- As in "Giving you a heads-up" - Forewarning someone (usually a superior) of an impending event, where they would otherwise suffer negative consequences, had it not been for your selfless vigilance and concern for their well-being. Implies they are so consumed and busy with their important work that they no doubt have their "head down, and nose to the grindstone". Definite inference that they now owe you a debt of gratitude. Also lets them know that you knew something they didn't!
submitted by Leslie Accessed May 7, 2003.