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Word of the week: Headbanger

Type: Reference material

Do you like to spend your weekends headbanging to your favourite band? Well, you could be crazy, according to Tim Bowen's explanation of this word.

The term headbanger was first applied to devoted fans of heavy metal rock bands like Iron Maiden and Motorhead in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Also known as metalheads, fans of heavy metal bands had a habit of jerking their heads backwards and forwards vigorously in time with the music, often simultaneously playing air guitar (an imaginary guitar). This head motion rapidly became known as headbanging and those who practised it as headbangers.

In British English in particular, however, the word has taken on a different meaning. It can also be used to describe someone you think is crazy or reckless, as in He's a bit of a headbanger.

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