forelock vs foretop what difference

what is difference between forelock and foretop


Etymology 1

From Middle English *forelock, *forelok, from Old English forelocc, equivalent to fore- +‎ lock.


forelock (plural forelocks)

  1. The part of a person’s hairstyle which covers the forehead.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, lines 300-303, [1]
      His fair large front and eye sublime declared / Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks / Round from his parted forelock manly hung / Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
    • 1734, The Koran: Commonly Called the Alkoran of Mohammed, translated by George Sale, Sura 96, Congealed Blood, [2]
      Doth he not know that GOD seeth? / Assuredly. Verily, if he forbear not, we will drag him by the forelock, / the lying, sinful forelock. / And let him call his council to assistance: / we also will call the infernal guards to cast him into hell.
    • 1896, A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, XXXVIII, [3]
      Warm with the blood of lads I know / Comes east the sighing air. / / It fanned their temples, filled their lungs, / Scattered their forelocks free;
    • 1978, Edmund White, Nocturnes for the King of Naples, New York: St. Martin’s Press, Chapter VIII, p. 135,
      This little boy, still flicking his head to one side between sentences though the long blond forelock that once excused the tic had been cut []
  2. The part of a horse’s (or similar animal’s) mane that lies on its forehead.
    • 1898, Ivan Turgenev, in A Lear of the Steppes and Other Stories, translated by Constance Garnett, New York: Macmillan: 1898, p. 146, [4]
      [] the gates themselves slowly parted, there appeared a large horse’s head, with a plaited forelock under a decorated yoke, and slowly there rolled into the road a small cart, like those driven by horse-dealers, and higglers.
  • (part of hairstyle): bangs (US), fringe (UK)
  • (part of horse’s mane): foretop
Derived terms
  • forelocked
  • forelocking
  • take time by the forelock
  • tug one’s forelock

Etymology 2

From Middle English forelok, equivalent to fore- +‎ lock.


forelock (plural forelocks)

  1. A wedge pushed through a hole at the end of a bolt to hold it in place.


forelock (third-person singular simple present forelocks, present participle forelocking, simple past and past participle forelocked)

  1. To fix in place with a forelock (wedge)



From Middle English fore-top, for-top, equivalent to fore- +‎ top.


foretop (plural foretops)

  1. (obsolete) The top of the head; the top of the forehead.
  2. (obsolete) The lock of hair which grows on top of the forehead; the corresponding part of a wig.
  3. (obsolete) In the phrase, to take time (or occasion or opportunity) by the foretop, meaning “to boldly seize an opportunity”.
  4. (obsolete) A fop; one who sports a foretop.
  5. (Britain dialectal) An erect tuft of hair.
  6. The forelock of a horse.
  7. (nautical) A platform at the top of the foremast, supported by the trestle trees.
    • 1903, Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, Ch 1:
      His station was in the fore-top, and often from there he looked down, with the contempt of a man destined to shine in the midst of dangers, at the peaceful multitude of roofs cut in two by the brown tide of the stream, while scattered on the outskirts of the surrounding plain the factory chimneys rose perpendicular against a grimy sky, each slender like a pencil, and belching out smoke like a volcano.
  8. The front seat at the top of a horse-drawn vehicle.

Derived terms

  • foretopman
  • foretopmast



  • John A. Simpson and Edward S. C. Weiner, editors (1989), “foretop”, in The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, →ISBN.


  • poofter

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