1. alert; resourceful.
2. Chiefly Politics. a warning: sending a heads-up to the Pentagon about possible attacks.
- They promised we’d get a heads up on the new proposal tomorrow.
- Just a heads-up that the customer is likely to escalate this problem.
- Just wanted to give you a heads-up so you’ll be expecting his call.
“I just wanted to give you a heads-up on …” is now the correctly breath-wasting way to say “I just wanted to tell you about …”. Its origin, in American engineering and military circles of the early 20th century, is an exhortation for all the members of your squad or crew to pay attention because something potentially dangerous is about to happen. They should literally straighten their necks and raise their heads. So the call “Heads up!” means “Watch out!”
The 1970s saw the invention of the military technology called a heads-up display: crucial information from a fighter jet’s instruments was projected on to the cockpit windshield. So “heads-up” originated in situations where something hairy was about to happen, or where life-or-death information was being provided to an elite warrior. Naturally, neither of those things is ever true when the noun phrase “a heads-up” is used in the modern office. Time, perhaps, for a heads-down, when everyone takes a quiet snooze at their desks.
Language is alive and forever changing. Approximately 25,000 new words are introduced into English on an annual basis. In the spirit of teaching you vocabulary skills in an entertaining way and to keep you with a finger on the linguistic pulse, the language network Verbalisti brings favourite ‘new’ words and expressions to the language in our FunVOCAB. Click here and enjoy!