We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Does "Go to Your Head" Mean?

By Maggie Worth
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The phrase "go to your head" is generally used to refer to a person who is acting in a way that, for him, isn't normal. Most often, this means adopting an attitude of pride or arrogance. Things that are often said to "go to your head" include fame, money, praise and power. The phrase can also apply to an advancement in social or professional position. While the origin of the phrase is unknown, it is a commonly used English idiom.

The idea behind the phrase is that a person allows a change in circumstances, often sudden and almost inevitably positive, to change his behavior, beliefs and actions. For example, someone who is normally humble and generous might become arrogant and self-centered after winning a large sum of money or suddenly becoming famous. Behaviors characteristic of letting something go to your head might include demanding to be treated better or differently than others; expecting recognition; thinking that rules need not be followed; and ignoring the rights, needs or feelings of others. A person who has let something go to his head might also come to expect a different standard of living and might consider that old friends or family are no longer appropriate to his new lifestyle.

Often, this phrase is expressed as a directive — specifically, "don't let it go to your head." This means that the speaker is telling the person that he shouldn't become overly confident or cocky because of whatever he is being given or granted. Used thusly, it is a warning against taking on attitudes that are unbecoming.

In literature, in movies and on television, letting something go to your head is often part of a morality tale. In such plots, the person who lets something go to his head almost inevitably loses friends who will, eventually, prove to be more loyal than the new friends he has made. Usually, the character who has abandoned his friends will be made to realize his mistake. Normally, he will then repent, make amends and reunite with the original friends.

Alcohol is commonly said to go to someone's head as well. In this case, the phrase still denotes a change in behavior. Rather than meaning that the person behaved badly, however, it really just means that he got drunk very quickly.

Other related phrases include "getting a swelled head" and "getting a big head." Something that "gets in" or "gets inside" someone's head is quite different. These phrases are usually used to denote something about which the person cannot quit thinking and which causes him to fail or become overly self-conscious.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By RocketLanch8 — On Aug 21, 2014

Around here, we say someone has started believing his own press clippings. In other words, the real person will start acting like the character in all of those news briefs their publicists send to the media.

By Buster29 — On Aug 20, 2014

Sometimes I'll see a really obnoxious but talented athlete or movie star on television and I'll say the fame has really gone to his or her head. It's like they're not even from the same planet anymore. I went to school with some people who became famous, and they were already acting superior ten years after graduation. Because of my job, I meet celebrities all the time, and a lot of them are really decent people. But some of them have clearly let all that money and recognition go to their heads.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.