Head Over Heels – Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

I was immediately head over heels when I first began dating my husband. Not only is that true, but it’s also an example of how to use the idiomatic phrase “head over heels.” But what does it really mean, and where did the saying come from? I’ll explain all of that in this quick guide.

What Is the Head Over Heels Meaning?

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Well, there’s a literal meaning and a figurative meaning to consider. In a literal context, the phrase “head over heels” means to move in a forward fashion, head first, like a somersault. You’re literally going head over your heels. Make sense?

Now, in a figurative context, which is the more commonly used form of the expression, head over heels means to fall madly in love.

Head Over Heels Origin

One of the earliest uses I found dates back all the way to the 1300s when it was “heels over head,” and it meant to be upside down. People use the phrase figuratively when talking about how something or someone profoundly affected them in a positive way.

Is Head Over Heels an Idiom?

Yes, the common expression “head over heels” is a simple idiom. We usually say head over heels when we’re describing someone who is totally, utterly, deeply in love or extremely enthusiastic about something. It conveys a sense of being completely and utterly devoted, in love, or passionate, often in an intense or uncontrolled way.

Is It Head Over Heels or Heals?

The whole phrase is head over heels and definitely not head over heals. The word heal means to cure or mend an injury or sickness.

Examples of Using Head Over Heels in a Sentence

  • I fell head over heels for my husband after our first date. It was definitely love at first sight.
  • He was head over heels for our daughter and would do anything to make her happy.
  • My parents went head over heels for each other and married just a year after dating.
  • My best friend is head over heels for the new job offer and accepted it immediately.
  • He was head over heels for the newest VR technology and saved up for months to buy it.
  • Our kids were head over heels for the cute Olde English Bulldogge puppy, so we just had to have her.
  • They both fell head over heels for the beautiful beach house and decided to make it their vacation home.
  • She was head over heels with excitement when she found out she had won the lottery.
  • He was head over heels for the sport and spent every spare moment practicing and improving his skills.

Are You Head Over Heels for Anything?

It’s a simple phrase with a meaning that can be both figurative and literal, although the figurative sense is the one we use the most. The next time you fall in love or find something you adore, you can say you’re head over heels for it.