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have one's head read




have one's head read

  1. (dated) To have the bumps, indentations, and shape of one's skull examined and interpreted by a phrenologist.
    • 1931 January 1, "Pain stays in head after $8,500 "cure"," Deseret News, p. 3 (retrieved 29 April 2013):
      He told the police that he went to a couple of "phrenologists" to have his head read with the idea of getting rid of the pain in his stomach.
    • 2005 January 26, William Grimes, "The Brain: False Assumptions and Cruel Operations," New York Times (retrieved 29 April 2013):
      In the summer of 1849, Walt Whitman walked into an office on Nassau Street in Manhattan to have his head read. Lorenzo Niles Fowler, a phrenologist, palpated 35 areas on both sides of the skull corresponding to emotional or intellectual capacities in the brain.
  2. (idiomatic) To have one's mental health assessed, to receive a psychiatric examination.

Usage notesEdit

  • Usually used in this passive-voice form, although passive variants do occur, such as:

See alsoEdit