Skip to main content

When do we give a 'heads up' to someone? Why?


When we wish to inform someone about the details of a particular theme, topic, item or person - I'll give you the heads up about the new policy. The idiom appears to have a military origin - a heads up indicating that an important announcement was pending.
An early citation for the contemporary use of 'heads up from 1977
Early use in the late 1970s stressed the importance of the information supplied:
"In a message characterized as a 'heads up alert', intelligence officials warned ... that Arab diplomats had suggested that Ambassador Andrew Young meet with a Palestine Liberation Organization official." The Washington Post, August 1979
In recent years, however, 'to give a heads-up' has become synonymous with the less glamorous 'inform'

English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack  only £1.99 using discount code CQDWKF0

Comments

  1. Hi! Thanks for the heads up! :) Seriously, thanks for giving the military background for this idiom. I've been hearing this used a lot. Now I know how it should be properly used.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Which countries do not have an official language?

According to Henry Hitchings Language Wars (2011) these nations do not currently have an official primary language:

Why is English not the official language of England?

58 countries list English as an official language - but not the UK. 

What is 'concept creep'?

Concept creep a term coined to describe 'psychology's expanding concepts of harm and pathology'. 
by applying concepts of abuse, bullying, and trauma to less severe and clearly defined actions and events, and by increasingly including subjective elements into them, concept creep may release a flood of unjustified accusations and litigation, as well as excessive and disproportionate enforcement regimes.   The concepts of abuse, bullying, trauma, mental disorder, addiction, and prejudice ... {have been subjected to historical changes}. In each case, the concept's boundary has stretched and its meaning has dilated. SourceThis trend towards a very broad definition of what constitutes 'harm' has been particularly pronounced on university campuses in the USA and - to a lesser extent - in the UK.



See Conor Friedersdorf's Atlantic essay, 'How Americans Became So Sensitive to Harm'

Download English FAQ Teaching Pack for only £1.99