Thursday, February 7, 2008

head-banging, vbl. n.

({sm}h{ope}d{smm}{ng}{shti}{ng}) [f. HEAD n.1 + BANGING vbl. n.2]

1. a. Psychol. The action or process of shaking or banging the head, sometimes accompanied by violent rocking of the body, which is often unremarkable in young children but in adults is usu. associated with mental disorder.

1928 Arch. Neurol. & Psychiatry (Chicago) XIX. 865 The ‘explosive’ phenomena selected were infantile convulsions, breath-holding, head-banging and a miscellaneous group of periodic attacks. 1953 HINSIE & SHATZKY Psychiatric Dict. (ed. 2) 650/2 Head-banging, one of the many typical physical exertions..observed during a temper tantrum in small children. 1977 P. LEACH Baby & Child iv. 218 Head banging is a slightly worrying habit even if the baby only does it in her cot at night.

b. transf. and fig. Esp. the vigorous head-shaking engaged in by fans of heavy metal music.

1979 in K. HUDSON Dict. Teenage Revolution (1983) 97 This is where the fans keep in trim for concerts, practising the subtle art of headbanging. 1987 Washington Post 4 June C4/2 In time came AC/DC, which begat headbanging, and Van Halen, which begat teen-age boys across the land with two-handed hammer-on and pull-off techniques.

2. The action or process of establishing discipline or collaboration between uncooperative parties by, or as if by, ‘knocking their heads together’.

1975 Economist 6 Dec. 57/3 Perhaps the Russians, who did some head-banging of their own with the rival Communist leaders in Moscow earlier this year, can lend a hand.

Also {sm}head-banger n., one who engages in head-banging, esp. as a fan of heavy metal music; also transf. and fig.

1979 Melody Maker 31 Mar. 18/4 Their fans are long-haired headbangers. 1983 Daily Tel. 13 June 1/1 A solemn commitment from anybody in the leadership stakes that they will get rid of the head-bangers in the party, and by that I mean the extremists and the Militants. 1985 M. MUNRO Patter 32 Headbanger or heidbanger,..this is a popular term for someone considered crazy, especially if dangerous... This usage predates the contemporary alternative meaning of a heavy-metal enthusiast. 1986 Telegraph (Brisbane) 21 Aug. 22/1 Brisbane headbangers will have a chance to scream and wave their fists when Dio plays at Festival Hall. 1989 Observer 19 Feb. 13/7 In the European Parliament, they sit alone with a few Spanish and Danish head-bangers, while the main conservative grouping excludes them.

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