loggerhead


loggerhead
[16] Loggerhead originally meant much the same as blockhead – a stupid person with a block of wood for a head (in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (1588), Berowne calls Costard a ‘whoreson loggerhead’). The first part of it probably represents logger ‘block for hobbling a horse’, which in turn was based on log, but how it came to be used in the phrase at loggerheads, meaning ‘in conflict’ and first recorded in 1831, is unclear. Perhaps the underlying image is of two stupid people having an in-your-face argument, but loggerhead was also used over the centuries for various bulbous-ended objects, including a long-handled tool for melting pitch, and it could be that a fight is being invoked in which these fearsome articles are being used as weapons.

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Synonyms:

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  • Loggerhead — may refer to:* Loggerhead Sea Turtle, the most common sea turtle to nest in the United States * Loggerhead Shrike, a passerine bird, the only member of the shrike family endemic to North America * USS Loggerhead (SS 374), a Balao class submarine …   Wikipedia

  • loggerhead — [lôg′ər hed΄, läg′ər hed΄] n. [dial. logger, heavy block of wood (< LOG1) + HEAD] 1. a long handled tool with a ball, or bulb, at the end, used when heated to melt tar, heat liquids, etc. 2. any of a genus (Caretta, family Cheloniidae) of sea… …   English World dictionary

  • Loggerhead — Log ger*head , n. [Log + head.] 1. A blockhead; a dunce; a numskull. Shak. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. A spherical mass of iron, with a long handle, used to heat tar. [1913 Webster] 3. (Naut.) An upright piece of round timber, in a whaleboat, over… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • loggerhead — 1580s, stupid person, blockhead, perhaps from dialectal logger heavy block of wood + head (n.). Later it meant a thick headed iron tool (1680s), a type of cannon shot, a type of turtle (1650s). Loggerheads fighting, fisticuffs is from 1670s, but… …   Etymology dictionary

  • loggerhead — [16] Loggerhead originally meant much the same as blockhead – a stupid person with a block of wood for a head (in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (1588), Berowne calls Costard a ‘whoreson loggerhead’). The first part of it probably represents… …   Word origins

  • loggerhead — loggerheaded, adj. /law geuhr hed , log euhr /, n. 1. a thick headed or stupid person; blockhead. 2. See loggerhead turtle. 3. See loggerhead shrike. 4. a ball or bulb of iron with a long handle, used, after being heated, to melt tar, heat… …   Universalium

  • loggerhead — noun 1》 (also loggerhead turtle) a large headed reddish brown turtle of warm seas. [Caretta caretta.] 2》 archaic a foolish person. Phrases at loggerheads in violent dispute or disagreement. [perh. a use of loggerhead in the 17th cent. sense long… …   English new terms dictionary

  • loggerhead — log•ger•head [[t]ˈlɔ gərˌhɛd, ˈlɒg ər [/t]] n. 1) a thick headed or stupid person; blockhead 2) ram loggerhead turtle 3) orn loggerhead shrike 4) mel a ball or bulb of iron with a long handle, used, after being heated, to melt tar, heat liquids,… …   From formal English to slang

  • loggerhead — /ˈlɒgəhɛd / (say loguhhed) noun 1. → loghead. 2. Also, loggerhead turtle. a large headed marine turtle, Caretta caretta, of all oceans. 3. Also, loggerhead shrike. a common North American butcherbird, Lanius ludovicianus, grey above, white below …   Australian English dictionary

  • loggerhead — Steamer Steam er ( [ e]r), n. 1. A vessel propelled by steam; a steamship or steamboat. [1913 Webster] 2. A steam fire engine. See under {Steam}. [1913 Webster] 3. A road locomotive for use on common roads, as in agricultural operations. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English