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From Middle English hēden, from Old English hēdan (to heed, take care, observe, attend, guard, take charge, take possession, receive), from Proto-Germanic *hōdijaną (to heed, guard), from Proto-Indo-European *kadʰ- (to heed, protect). Cognate with West Frisian hoedje (to heed), Dutch hoeden (to heed), German hüten (to heed).



heed (uncountable)

  1. Careful attention.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      Then for a few minutes I did not pay much heed to what was said, being terribly straitened for room, and cramped with pain from lying so long in one place.

Usage notesEdit

  • Often used with give, pay or take.




heed (third-person singular simple present heeds, present participle heeding, simple past and past participle heeded)

  1. (obsolete) To guard, protect.
  2. (transitive) To mind; to regard with care; to take notice of; to attend to; to observe.
    • 1567, John Dryden translating Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1
      With pleasure Argus the musician heeds.
    • 2013 September 23, Masha Gessen, "Life in a Russian Prison," New York Times (retrieved 24 September 2013):
      Tolokonnikova not only tried to adjust to life in the penal colony but she even tried to heed the criticism levied at her by colony representatives during a parole hearing.
  3. (intransitive, archaic) To pay attention, care.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Old English hēafod, from Proto-Germanic *haubudą.


  • IPA(key): /hɛːd/, /ˈhɛvəd/, /ˈhɛːvəd/, /ˈhɛvd/, /ˈhɛːvd/


heed (plural heedes or heveden)

  1. The head (top portion of a human or animal, connected to the neck):
    • a. 1382, John Wycliffe, “Apocalips 1:14”, in Wycliffe's Bible:
      And the heed of hym and his heeris weren whijt, as whijt wolle, and as ſnow; and the iȝen of hym as flawme of fier.
      And his head and his hairs were white, as white wool, and like snow, and his eyes were like fire's flame.
    1. The place where one's head rests (on a bed or when buried)
    2. That which covers the head; headwear or hair.
    3. The head as the origin of thought; intellect or one's brain.
    4. The horns or antlers of a cervid.
  2. The chief, most renowned or most prominent thing or person in a group:
    1. A boss, leader, or executive; the highest-ranking individual in a group.
    2. A capital city; the headquarters of a realm's administration.
  3. The start or origin of something; where something begins:
    1. The topmost end of a body of water or a geographical feature.
    2. One of the lengthwise ends of a geographic feature having more length than width.
    3. A headwater; the origin of a flow of liquid.
    4. The top end or peak of something; the uppermost point of something.
    5. The outermost extremity, point or projection of something.
  4. The functional or useful end of a tool or device.
  5. A rounded or head-shaped bump, boil, or similar protrusion.
  6. One's ability to live (presumably as decapitation kills)
  7. Impetuousness, rashness, impatience; being unconsidered.
  8. (by extension) An individual; someone or somebody.
  9. (rare) A military force or troop.

Related termsEdit