Come To A Head

Also: Bring (something) to a Head

Meaning of Idiom ‘Come to a Head’

To come to head means to reach a point of crisis or climax so that it becomes absolutely necessary that a decision must be made or something must be done.

Bring (something) to a Head: to cause something to reach a point of crisis or climax. 1Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.

Usage

situation or problem comes to a head and a person brings something (situation, problem, etc.) to a head.

Examples Of Use

“The food company’s quality issues came to a head when two people died from food poisoning.”

“The food poisoning deaths brought the companies quality control issues to a head.”

“The growing government scandal came to a head when thousands of citizens protested in the streets.”

“Peter has had behavioral problems at school the entire year, but his violent outburst today brought the situation to a head.”

Origin

Since the 1300s phrases have used “to a head” as apparent allusions to boils or abscesses that “come to a head” just before they burst. 3Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
2. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
3. Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.