1. A person who uses a free ticket for admittance, accommodation, or entertainment.
2. A vehicle, such as an aircraft, that transports no passengers or freight during a trip.
3. Informal A person regarded as dull-witted or sluggish.
4. A log or trunk that is partially submerged or lying just beneath the surface.
v. dead·head·ed, dead·head·ing, dead·heads
1. To pilot or drive (a vehicle) carrying no passengers or freight.
2. To remove dead or withered flowers from (a plant), especially to promote new blooms or prevent the setting of seeds.
a. To travel as an employee of an airline or other public carrier for free, especially en route to or from one's assigned duties.
b. To make a trip without passengers or freight.
c. To pilot or drive a vehicle on such a trip: "The instruments were out, and it meant they had to deadhead back on another airplane" (Walter J. Boyne).
2. To bypass a senior employee in order to promote a more junior employee.
Without passengers or freight; empty.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.