heads will roll


heads will roll


  • people will be fired or forced to resign
  • be dismissed from service after a disaster
  • promise to be held accountable for failure
  • prediction of persons responsible for being punished

Example Sentences

  1. Heads are going to roll when the boss finds out about the missing stock.
  2. The editor and the reporter both knew that heads were going to roll in the banking world as soon as tomorrow’s edition hit the stands.
  3. The new CEO is making a lot of tough decisions to cut the company’s losses. Heads are rolling all over the place.
  4. If the soldiers are not standing to attention when he arrives, heads will roll.
  5. The President warned that ‘heads will roll‘ if the findings indicate abuse of funds.
  6. The judges said any laxity on the part of the officials hereafter would result in the guillotine falling on their necks, and heads would start rolling.
  7. The ministerial orders come with deadlines, and heads will roll if the requirements are not met.


This hyperbolic phrase alludes to being punished for some wrongdoing by decapitation with sword, axe, or guillotine and the head rolling on the floor. There is an example from the mid-1800s in a US newspaper (referring possibly to King Charles 1 and Stuart monarchs of England) ‘Your friends in office will be led to the block. Let them go! Their official heads will roll on the ground’.

This century (1930), Adolf Hitler was quoted as saying:

“A revolutionary tribunal will punish the crimes of November 1918. The decapitated heads will roll.”

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