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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The human head.
A cheetah's head.

In anatomy, the head of an animal is the rostral part (from anatomical position) that usually comprises the brain, eyes, ears, nose and mouth (all of which aid in various sensory functions, such as sight, hearing, smell, and taste). Some very simple animals may not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do.


Cultural importance

For humans, the head and particularly the face are the main distinguishing feature between different people, due to their easily discernible features such as hair and eye color, nose, eye and mouth shapes, wrinkles, etc. Human faces are easily differentiable to us due to our brains' predispositions toward discriminating human facial forms. When observing a relatively unfamiliar species, all faces seem to be nearly identical, and human infants are biologically programmed to recognize subtle differences in anthropic facial features.

People who are more intelligent than normal are sometimes depicted in cartoons as having bigger heads, as a way of indicating that they have a larger brain; in science fiction, an extraterrestrial having a big head is often symbolic of high intelligence. Outside of this symbolic depiction, however, advances in neurobiology have shown that the functional diversity of the brain means that a difference in overall brain size is not a reliable indicator of how much, if any, difference in overall intelligence exists between two humans.[1]

The head is a source for many metaphors and metonymies in human language, including referring to things which are often located near the human head ( "the head of the bed"), things which are physically similar to the way an animal's (or human's) head is arranged spatially vis-a-vis its body ("the head of the table"), even if this is so metaphorically ("the head of the class/FBI"), and things which represent some characteristic we associate with the head, such as intelligence ("there are a lot of good heads in this company"). These examples are all from English, but only some are possible expressions in other languages (depending on the language). (See Lakoff and Johnson 1980, 1999)

The ancient Greeks had a method for evaluating sexual attractiveness based on the Golden Ratio, part of which included measurements of the head.


In many cultures, covering the head is seen as a sign of respect. Often, some or all of the head must be covered and veiled when entering holy places, or places of prayer. For many centuries, women in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia have covered their hair as a sign of modesty. This trend has changed drastically in Europe in the 20th century, although is still observed in other parts of the world. In addition, a number of religious paths require men to wear specific head clothing—such as the Jewish yarmulke, or the Sikh turban; or Muslim women, who cover their hair, ears, and neck with a scarf.

Different headpieces can also signify status, origin, religious/spiritual beliefs, social grouping, occupation, and fashion choices.


Static adult human physical characteristics of the head.

See also



  • Campbell, Bernard Grant. Human Evolution: An Introduction to Man's Adaptations (4th edition), ISBN 0-202-02042-8

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HEAD (in O. Eng. heafod; the word is common to Teutonic languages; cf. Dutch hoofd, Ger. Haupt, generally taken to be in origin connected with Lat. caput, Gr. xeCbaXrt), the upper portion of the body in man, consisting of the skull with its integuments and contents, &c., connected with the trunk by the neck (see Anatomy, Skull and Brain); also the anterior or fore part of other animals. The word is used in a large number of transferred and figurative senses, generally with reference to the position of the head as the uppermost part, hence the leading, chief portion of anything.

<< Sir Francis Bond, Bart Head

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also head


Proper noun




  1. A surname, from residence near a hilltop or the head of a river, or a byname for someone with an odd-looking head.



Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Jason Head article)

From Wikispecies

Jason Head, American paleontologist living in Canada

Simple English

The head is the part of the body where the brain is. It is also where the face is. Different things may be worn on the head, for example a headband, a headdress, or a hat.

Some people get pains in their head occasionally, known as headaches. Also, some people have worse pains in their head called migraines.

A head in English can also mean a person in charge of something, such as the head of a company.

Also, the word head can also mean the front of something. An example of this is the word "Headline", meaning large words on the front page of a newspaper.

The word head is also slang word for fellatio, when a man's penis is in another person's mouth. This is because the tip of the penis is sometimes called the head.

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