HEAD in Git

Sometme you will see the Git documentation saying something about HEAD. For example:

The branch must be fully merged in HEAD.

But what exactly is Git HEAD?


HEAD is a reference to the last commit in the currently check-out branch.

You can think of the HEAD as the "current branch". When you switch branches with git checkout, the HEAD revision changes to point to the tip of the new branch.

You can see what HEAD points to by doing:

cat .git/HEAD

For example, in my current branch it shows:

$ cat .git/HEAD
ref: refs/heads/master

It is possible for HEAD to refer to a specific revision that is not associated with a branch name. This situation is called a detached HEAD.

References & Resources

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