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[hair] /hɛər/
any of the numerous fine, usually cylindrical, keratinous filaments growing from the skin of humans and animals; a pilus.
an aggregate of such filaments, as that covering the human head or forming the coat of most mammals.
a similar fine, filamentous outgrowth from the body of insects, spiders, etc.
Botany. a filamentous outgrowth of the epidermis.
cloth made of hair from animals, as camel and alpaca.
a very small amount, degree, measure, magnitude, etc.; a fraction, as of time or space:
He lost the race by a hair.
get in someone's hair, Slang. to annoy or bother someone:
Their snobbishness gets in my hair.
hair of the dog, Informal. a drink of liquor, supposed to relieve a hangover:
Even a hair of the dog didn't help his aching head.
Also, hair of the dog that bit one.
let one's hair down, Informal.
  1. to relax; behave informally:
    He finally let his hair down and actually cracked a joke.
  2. to speak candidly or frankly; remove or reduce restraints:
    He let his hair down and told them about his anxieties.
make one's hair stand on end, to strike or fill with horror; terrify:
The tales of the jungle made our hair stand on end.
split hairs, to make unnecessarily fine or petty distinctions:
To argue about whether they arrived at two o'clock or at 2:01 is just splitting hairs.
tear one's hair, to manifest extreme anxiety, grief, or anger:
He's tearing his hair over the way he was treated by them.
Also, tear one's hair out.
to a hair, perfect to the smallest detail; exactly:
The reproduction matched the original to a hair.
without turning a hair, without showing the least excitement or emotion.
Also, not turn a hair.
Origin of hair
before 900; Middle English heer, Old English hǣr (cognate with Dutch, German haar, Old Norse hār), with vowel perhaps from Middle English haire hair shirt < Old French < Old High German hāria (cognate with Middle English here, Old English hǣre, Old Norse hǣra)
Related forms
hairlike, adjective
dehair, verb (used with object)
Can be confused
hair, hare. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hairlike
Historical Examples
  • His jaw seemed to set with a snap, and his thin lips formed a narrow, hairlike line as a second later he saw something else.

  • Its head was hunched between its shoulders, and over the whole thing was a long, scraggly, hairlike covering.

    The Secret of Casa Grande Helen Randolph
  • Each taste bud consists of a collection of spindle-shaped neurones, each cell tipped at its outer end with a hairlike projection.

    A Civic Biology George William Hunter
  • After a little while a double line of fine, hairlike projections runs around the creature.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • A fine, hairlike filament within a glass bulb is raised to incandescence by the heat of an electric current.

    General Science Bertha M. Clark
  • These minute, hairlike vessels are called capillaries (cap'-il-la-ries).

British Dictionary definitions for hairlike


any of the threadlike pigmented structures that grow from follicles beneath the skin of mammals and consist of layers of dead keratinized cells
a growth of such structures, as on the human head or animal body, which helps prevent heat loss from the body
(botany) any threadlike outgrowth from the epidermis, such as a root hair
  1. a fabric or material made from the hair of some animals
  2. (as modifier): a hair carpet, a hair shirt
another word for hair's-breadth to lose by a hair
(informal) get in someone's hair, to annoy someone persistently
hair of the dog, hair of the dog that bit one, an alcoholic drink taken as an antidote to a hangover
(Brit, informal) keep your hair on!, keep calm
let one's hair down, to behave without reserve
not turn a hair, to show no surprise, anger, fear, etc
split hairs, to make petty and unnecessary distinctions
Derived Forms
hairlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English hær; related to Old Norse hār, Old High German hār hair, Norwegian herren stiff, hard, Lettish sari bristles, Latin crescere to grow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hairlike



Old English hær "hair, a hair," from Proto-Germanic *khæran (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German har, Old Frisian her, Dutch and German haar "hair"), perhaps from PIE *ghers- "to stand out, to bristle, rise to a point" (cf. Lithuanian serys "bristle;" see horror).

Spelling influenced by Old Norse har and Old English haire "haircloth," from Old French haire, from Frankish *harja or some other Germanic source (see above). To let one's hair down "become familiar" is first recorded 1850. Phrase hair of the dog that bit you (1540s), homeopathic remedy, is in Pliny.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hairlike in Medicine

hair (hâr)

  1. Any of the cylindrical, keratinized, often pigmented filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal.

  2. A growth of such filaments, as that forming the coat of an animal or covering the scalp of a human.

  3. One of the fine hairlike processes of a sensory cell.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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hairlike in Science

  1. One of the fine strands that grow from the skin of mammals, usually providing insulation against the cold. Modified hairs sometimes serve as protective defenses, as in the quills of a porcupine or hedgehog, or as tactile organs, as in the whiskers (called vibrissae) of many nocturnal mammals. Hair filaments are a modification of the epidermis of the skin and are composed primarily of keratin. Hair also contains melanin, which determines hair color.

  2. A slender growth resembling a mammalian hair, found on insects and other animals.

  3. A fine, threadlike growth from the epidermis of plants. See more at trichome.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for hairlike



Complexity: a system with a lot of hair (1980s+ Computer)

Related Terms

curl someone's hair, fair-haired boy, get in one's hair, have a bug up one's ass, have someone by the short hairs, in someone's hair, let one's hair down, longhair, not have a hair on one's ass

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with hairlike
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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