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the area that is the first objective of a military force landing on an enemy shore.
a secure initial position that has been gained and can be used for further advancement; foothold:
The company has won a beachhead in the personal computer market.
Contemporary Examples

Now, having secured the beachhead, he has to hold it and even advance.
Michael Tomasky: Obama’s High-Stakes Gamble on Gay Marriage Michael Tomasky May 9, 2012

Limp and trembling, she clung to my neck as we sprinted past the beachhead fray.
The Extinction Parade: An Original Zombie Story by Max Brooks Max Brooks January 13, 2011

Newt was there at the beachhead at the beginning of all of this [in the 1980] Reagan Revolution.
Florida Gets Ugly Lois Romano January 29, 2012

Nor are attempts at establishing a Randian beachhead in the curriculum entirely new.
Make Them Read Rand! A Scheme in Idaho to Put Objectivism in Schools Michael Moynihan February 7, 2013

Rather, he argued, “this is a case where it ought to be easy to establish a beachhead [and] say that coercion matters.”
Supreme Court Finishes Hearing Health-Care Law Arguments Ben Jacobs March 27, 2012

Historical Examples

“But, it was only a beachhead, and had been only intended as such—” The pictures broke off; the unspoken words resumed.
A Gift For Terra Fox B. Holden

And when they were over, the new masters had established their first beachhead in the new System.
A Gift For Terra Fox B. Holden

As long as the beachhead of the underground invasion remained small, its blocking would not impair the functions of The Brain.
The Brain Alexander Blade

It is only a small town, that beachhead; but still, being a sea-coast town, there is a good deal of stir about it.
Karl Krinken, His Christmas Stocking Susan Warner

Dont you think it is a great deal pleasanter than it would be if beachhead was away off in the country, out of sight of the water?
Karl Krinken, His Christmas Stocking Susan Warner

noun (military)
an area on a beach that has been captured from the enemy and on which troops and equipment are landed
the object of an amphibious operation

1940, in reference to German military tactics in World War II, from beach (n.) + head (n.), on the model of bridgehead, but the image doesn’t quite work.


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  • Beachmaster

    a bull fur seal having its own territory in the breeding grounds. Historical Examples Commander Powell, of the Vesuvius, as beachmaster was indefatigable in his exertions. The British Expedition to the Crimea William Howard Russell

  • Beach pea

    either of two plants of the legume family, Lathyrus japonicus, of seashores of the North Temperate Zone, or L. littoralis, of the temperate western coast of North America, both having oblong leaves and clusters of pealike flowers. Historical Examples He liked the beach pea, (Lathyrus maritimus,) cooked green, as well as the cultivated. Atlantic Monthly, […]

  • Beach plum

    a shrub, Prunus maritima, of the rose family, of the seashores of northeastern North America, having sharply toothed leaves and white flowers. the purple or blackish edible fruit of this shrub. Historical Examples The wind whined among the pines which grew along the ridge of beach plum Point. Ruth Fielding Down East Alice B. Emerson […]

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