What Does At Loggerheads Mean?

At Loggerheads Meaning

Definition: In disagreement.

People often use this expression to describe people having an argument, especially when neither side is willing to compromise.

Origin of At Loggerheads

This expression first appeared around the 1670s. The exact origin is unclear. However, loggerhead, on its own, can mean stupid person. It is also the name of a type of turtle. It may also come from logs, in the sense of wood from trees.

However, most sources believe that a fourth meaning is the most likely, which is that of an iron tool. It is possible that two people at loggerheads conjured an image of two people fighting with these iron tools.

Examples of At Loggerheads

define at loggerheads Here is an example of a teacher using the expression in a math class.

Teacher: Okay, I know some of you cheated on the last test. I also have noticed that many of you are upset at my punishment, to fail the whole class if no one admits to cheating.

Student: It’s not fair for you to punish the non-cheaters along with the cheaters!

Teacher: Well, you got lucky because the principal and I were at loggerheads over this issue for a long time, but he finally convinced me not to punish the whole class.

what does loggerheads meanIn this example, two friends are coming back home from a party and are arguing about something that happened while there.

Monica: I want you to be honest with me.

Janice: Of course! What’s wrong?

Monica: I think you spilled your wine on me on purpose in order to embarrass me, so that you would look better than me.

Janice: How rude! I would never do that!

Monica: Listen, I don’t want us to be at loggerheads over this. In other words, I don’t want to fight about who started this. I just want you to apologize so we can move on.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about the Pope’s visit to Colombia.

  • “The solitude of always being at loggerheads has been familiar for decades, and its smell has lingered for a hundred years,” he said, alluding to the most famous work of Colombia’s Nobel laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. “We do not want any type of violence whatsoever to restrict or destroy one more life.” –Houston Chronicle

The second excerpt is from an article about the governor signing bills on guns.

  • Newsom’s initiative has put a spotlight on the lieutenant governor as he campaigns for governor in the 2018 election. He’s been at loggerheads with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, who tried unsuccessfully to convince Newsom to drop the ballot measures in favor of legislative action. –OC Register


The phrase at loggerheads is an old expression that means having an argument, especially an argument in which both sides are convinced they are right and are each unwilling to bend.