Bring Something to a Head Meaning
Definition: To reach the point where a new action must be taken.
When you have brought something to a head, you have increased pressure or expectations to the point at which something new must be done. When you bring something to a head, you have made it reach its turning point or climax.
In some cases, to bring something to a head means that something has been pushed into a state of crisis.
Origin of Bring Something to a Head
There are several theories as to the meaning of this idiom. Grossly, and most commonly, the phrase is believed to come from medicine. When a pimple is brought to a head, a white point of it shows, and it is near to exploding. In medicine, the “head” of something is a tip that is about to burst open, just like with pimples.
Some other people believe that perhaps the phrase comes from growing a head of lettuce. In this case, when something is brought to a head, it has been grown from a seedling and has now reached a completely new state.
Examples of Bring Something to a Head
When two countries are at odds with each other, an event like a shooting may bring their frustrations to a head. This may cause them to start a war with each other.
When dealing with many frustrations at once, someone’s irritation may be brought to a head by a small event like forgetting a phone.
Bringing something to a head may not necessarily always be bad. For example, if someone has been working hard on applications to colleges, his or her work may be brought to a head when receiving acceptance letters from those colleges. For the applicant, everything has changed in a positive sense.
- Three pending pieces of City Council legislation could bring to a head a looming battle in City Hall –Wall Street Journal
- The legal action would bring to a head one of the more bizarre moments in corporate America this year. –New York Post
The phrase to bring something to a head is to bring it to a turning point.