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head-up Options
Fruity
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 12:22:50 PM

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"Heads-up" is especially American English, so what do British English speakers normally say instead?

♥ Get into the habit of considering the feelings of others before you react to circumstances around you. ♥
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 3:09:12 PM

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Hi Fruity.

I have heard "heads-up" used. It's quite a good phrase, I think.

However, 'warning' and 'shout' are fairly common. "Tip-off" sounds a little old-fashioned to me.

Give me a warning when they are going to start.
Give me a shout when they are going to start.
Give me a heads-up when they are going to start.
Give me a tip-off when they are going to start.


See the ngram graph here.
This is the American one - "heads-up" is not very common, even there ("warning" was used ten times for each time "heads-up" was used in 2000). But remember that these graphs tend to be biased toward more formal English.

"Heads-up" did not exist as a word before 1985.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
NKM
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 5:38:18 PM

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"Heads-up" may not have existed as a word before 1985, but the phrase was used as a warning ("Watch out for falling objects!") at construction sites much earlier than that.

Romany
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 5:55:55 PM
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NK - when I heard it first, it was explained to me in terms of golf: yes, indeed a warning!!

But I never actually caught on to WHY one would be exhorted to lift one's head up if a golfball - or a piece of masonry - were in danger of connecting with it? Wouldn't 'Heads Down' be better advice?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 6:06:52 PM

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Oh! Is that where it's from?

I thought it was something to do with the pilot's 'heads-up display' (which projects images of the instruments onto the windscreen - or even onto the helmet visor), so the pilot can see them with his head up, looking out. This way he/she is aware of dangers showing up on the instruments and through the windscreen at the same time.

When I worked on roofs and the building sites, the warning was always "Below!" if one dropped somethng - short for "Look out, below!"

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Eoin Riedy
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 6:33:45 PM

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Here's an example of the phrase from 1920:

"He went in Like a Lion and Came Out Like a Lamb" (Music - Harry Von Tilzer, Lyrics - Andrew B. Sterling) Recorded 1920-01-22, Camden, New Jersey.

Look out old man here comes another cup. Heads up! (about 1:42)

Appropriate for this time of year. too.
March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 6:47:54 PM

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Wow!
Well done - however, that's not using it as a noun.

'Give/send someone a heads-up'.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Eoin Riedy
Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 8:55:40 PM

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It seems to have started in the military as command or interjection to be alert. (Brown and Jones are soldiers in the "War of the Sexes".)
At some point, at least by the mid-1970s, it became a noun:

"Department of Defense appropriations for 1978", U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1977

Fruity
Posted: Thursday, March 09, 2017 12:19:11 AM

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Thanks a lot for the replies, everybody!

♥ Get into the habit of considering the feelings of others before you react to circumstances around you. ♥
Fruity
Posted: Thursday, March 09, 2017 1:45:47 AM

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Which do you use as the plural form of heads-up, "heads-up" or "heads-ups"?

♥ Get into the habit of considering the feelings of others before you react to circumstances around you. ♥
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, March 09, 2017 7:31:13 AM

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That's good to see Eoin.

That quote from 1970 uses 'heads up' as a noun with quotation marks (to show that it is a new, invented, or uncommon usage). So at that time, it seems the use of 'heads up' as a noun was not very common.

Hi Fruity!

The singular is 'heads up', so the plural should be 'heads ups' - but I've never heard it.

You can give several people a heads up - or you can give a heads up about several things, so I don't think a plural is needed.

He gave all the staff a heads up about the management inspection tomorrow and the rush job coming in next week.

You wouldn't say "He gave all the staff heads ups . . ."


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Thursday, March 09, 2017 11:40:35 AM

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If I (suddenly) tell you "Heads Up!", it means that you need to watch out for something, such as a golf ball, and you putting your head up allows you to see what is coming at you, so that you can avoid being hit.

If I give you a "heads up" in an email, then I am giving you advance warning, or a notification, of a pending event.
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