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"Heads up"

Posted by ESC on May 08, 2003

In Reply to: "Heads up" posted by bella on May 07, 2003

: : : At sandlot baseball games spectators may be
: : : near the foul lines, and not always paying attention to what is
: : : happening on the field. Then if a batter hits a pop foul, someone
: : : will yell, "heads up!" to get everyone's attention
: : : so no-one will get beaned by it.

: : : It has to be something short that everyone will understand immediately.

: :
: : Interesting...sounds logical. I wonder if thats how it started, in baseball.

: There is actually also a Biblical principle, in the Old Testament book Judges, chapter 7, verses 5 & 6, when Gideon was leading the people, and the Lord told Gideon that everyone who drinks with their heads down, "like a dog", these shall be set aside, but those who drink by pulling their hands from the water to their mouths (with their heads up, eyes watchful), these numbered only 300 and were the ones to be given authority over the others.

Peter wins the prize.

HEADS UP - "Watch out; pay attention. This interjection, now used in numerous situations where the speaker is calling for alertness, is always stated in the plural, whether it is addressed to one person or several. It originated in sports and is most often shouted out to baseball spectators to keep them from getting beaned by a foul ball. In other sports it may be uttered by a coach exhorting his or her charges to be alert for a particular move by the opponents (s). It also is heard on the tennis court, when a player is alerting his or her doubles partner that the opponent may be preparing for a smash or hitting down the alley or some similar maneuver." From "Southpaws & Sunday Punches and other Sporting Expressions" by Christine Ammer (Penguin Books, New York, 1993).

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.

See also: the meaning and origin of 'Heads up'.