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EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

1549, block (n.) +‎ head.

PronunciationEdit

  • (file)

NounEdit

blockhead (plural blockheads)

  1. (colloquial) A stupid person.
    • 1764, Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto:
      So I think, blockheads, said Manfred: what is it has scared you thus?
  2. A sideshow performer who hammers nails or similar items through his or her nostril into the nasal cavity; human blockhead.
    • 2005, Brian M. Wiprud, Stuffed, ISBN 0440335450, page 262:
      Waldo was sent that from an elderly blockhead named Fuzzy in Gibtown, Florida. That's the town to which most freaks retire.
    • 2014, Louis J. Parascandola & ‎John Parascandola -, A Coney Island Reader: Through Dizzy Gates of Illusion, ISBN 0231538197, page 306:
      He is a classic sideshow performer, entertaining crowds with feats such as sword swallowing, fire-eating, and chainsaw juggling. His specialty, however, is the human blockhead act, hammering six-inch nails up his nostrils.
    • 2016, M. Chemers, Staging Stigma: A Critical Examination of the American Freak Show, ISBN 023061681X:
      Burkhardt was a legendary figure in the sideshow world, a mentor and instructor to a new generation of blockheads and other working acts who now train in private classes at Coney Island USA's Sideshow School with Burkhardt's disciple Todd Robbins (Zigun 2006).

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

blockhead (third-person singular simple present blockheads, present participle blockheading, simple past and past participle blockheaded)

  1. To perform as a human blockhead.
    • 2007, Frank Cullen, ‎Florence Hackman, & ‎Donald McNeilly, Vaudeville old & new: an encyclopedia of variety performances in America, ISBN 0415938538:
      Like an old-time sideshow, the acts included lying on a bed of nails, blockheading and, of course, fire-eating.
  2. (rare) To behave in a stupid manner.
    • 1804, The Spirit of the Public Journals:
      Two years' blockading made fair Malta ours: A noble struggle! -- yet 't is thought (at Rading) That Britain's island shews superior pow'rs, To bear, and to survive, two years blockheading !
    • 1856, John Adams, The works of John Adams, second President of the United States, ISBN 1623764637:
      I have blockheading and boxing enough at Master Lovell's, I won't have it repeated here; and in a great passion, I threw the Virgil at his head, hit him in the face, and bruised his lip, and ran away.
    • 1958, The Ethical Outlook: A Journal of the American Ethical Union:
      The operation of blockheading is much the same as that of beheading, which Charles I underwent. In both the head is severed from the body. The body goes around without benefit of head. The victim becomes a Headless Horseman, or that more common figure a Headless Pedestrian. In our day the operation is often done not on an executioner's block but on Paradise Avenue in Suburbia Manor.