On the tram home I thought of the young waiter with a chastened respect. It came to me that to turn the other cheek, as he had done, was not simply to apply an ancient Christian precept but also to engage in a highly sophisticated psychological manoeuvre. When I got home, I picked up Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead where I’d left off and came upon a remark made by Reverend Ames, the stoical Midwestern Calvinist preacher whose character sweetens and strengthens as he approaches death: “It is worth living long enough,” he writes, in a letter to the son born to him in his old age, “to outlast whatever sense of grievance you may acquire.”
Old English heafod "top of the body," also "upper end of a slope," also "chief person, leader, ruler; capital city," from Proto-Germanic *haubudam (cf. Old Saxon hobid , Old Norse hofuð , Old Frisian haved , Middle Dutch hovet , Dutch hoofd , Old High German houbit , German Haupt , Gothic haubiþ "head"), from PIE *kaput- "head" (cf. Sanskrit kaput- , Latin caput "head").
Modern spelling is early 15c., representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat ) and remained after pronunciation shifted. Of rounded tops of plants from late 14c. Meaning "origin of a river" is mid-14c. Meaning "obverse of a coin" is from 1680s; meaning "foam on a mug of beer" is first attested 1540s; meaning "toilet" is from 1748, based on location of crew toilet in the bow (or head ) of a ship. Synechdochic use for "person" (as in head count ) is first attested late 13c.; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1510s. As a height measure of persons, from . Meaning "drug addict" (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.
To give head "perform fellatio" is from 1950s. Phrase heads will roll "people will be punished" (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. Head case "eccentric or insane person" is from 1979. Head game "mental manipulation" attested by 1972. To have (one's) head up (one's) ass is attested by 1978.