The Idioms of Hair
An idiom is defined as an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the literal meaning of the words. An example of a popular idiom is “kick the bucket”. There are some great idioms that use the language of hair. Here are a few and what they actually mean.
1. A hair shirt – This term is used to describe something that is uncomfortable or unpleasant and stems from the time where devout religious people would wear a shirt of hair or something similar that would be itchy and uncomfortable as a sign of penance or repenting for a wrongful act. Susie is putting on a hair shirt and going on a 3-day fast after cheating on her diet yesterday.
2. A hairy situation – This refers to a situation that is scary. It may stem from another hair idiom that also refers to being in a frightening situation: “Make one’s hair stand on end”. That drive with Grandma was quite the hairy situation!
3. Bad hair day – This term is used quite commonly to describe a day where you just feel like nothing is going right. It’s only 9:00 a.m., and I’m already done with this day. Just seems like I’m having a bad hair day.
4. By a hair’s breadth – A breadth is a form of measurement used to calculate a distance from side to side. Therefore, this idiom refers to a very small measurement. It can also mean “hardly” or “barely”. You beat me in that race by a hair’s breadth.
5. Curl someone’s hair – This refers to making someone frightened or shocked. That movie we watched the other night about ghosts made my hair curl!
6. Going to give me grey hairs – This is used to describe something that is overly stressful or worrisome. Trying to meet this deadline is going to give me grey hairs!
7. Get in someone’s hair – This means to be annoying or irritating to someone. My little brother is always getting in my hair when I want to be left alone.
8. Hair of the dog – A term used to describe a method of curing a hangover by drinking some more alcohol the next day after a big night of drinking. This originates from an ancient cure for a dog bite that involved using the hair of the dog that bit you and putting it in the wound to supposedly help it heal. A little hair of the dog wouldn’t hurt, I guess.
9. Hair on fire – This idiom is used to describe a situation that is so exciting or urgent that it immediately catches your attention. That last song just set my hair on fire!
10. Hair trigger – This idiom is used to describe the trigger of a gun that is very sensitive and will go off at the slightest touch. It’s also used to describe a person with a quick temper. I wouldn’t push him too far. He’s always had a hair trigger.