“Heads up” is an idiom that’s used as a warning to help others become more aware of something.
Example: Are you going for a walk today, Liam? If so, let me give you a heads up of something I saw on my drive home: There was a large dog walking around our neighborhood and it didn’t have a leash, so be careful.
The Origin Of “Heads Up”
The origin of this phrase is unclear. The earliest I could find the expression “heads up” in print is from the early 20th century. For example, the quote below is from the Daily Express newspaper, 1910, and it says:
“Attention! Eyes Front! Heads Up! Listen! You’ll thank us for calling your attention to these 50×163 foot lots. Every improvement: not some.”
This phrase was also a term used in sports. Its definition is given in the following example that comes from The Washington Post newspaper, 1914:
“‘Heads Up,’ a baseball and football term signifying alertness, action…”
In short, this expression is at least 110 years old.
- I called my brother and said, “Hey, heads up: There is supposed to be a powerful storm hitting sometime tomorrow, so the power to the house might go off.”
- I gave my friend a word of caution and told him not to use a vacuum hose to clean the inside of his computer; the static electricity from it could damage his PC.
Tip: Do you want to read about more expressions like this one? Well, let me give you a heads up—Know Your Phrase has hundreds of phrases to explore! To find them, all you have to do is use the menu at the top. After choosing a letter, you’ll be taken to a list of sayings that start with whatever letter you chose.