terrifying or horrifying: We had a hair-raising brush with death.

Origin of hair-raising

First recorded in 1895–1900 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hair-raising

Contemporary Examples of hair-raising

Historical Examples of hair-raising

  • The way that Spot walked into those dogs and gave them what-for was hair-raising.

    Lost Face

    Jack London

  • No one knew where he could have possibly heard the hair-raising phrase.

  • Piercing, hair-raising, unnatural as they were, Mr. Budlong recognized them.

    The Dude Wrangler

    Caroline Lockhart

  • It was a hair-raising coast, but we made the brink without a spill.

    Down the Yellowstone

    Lewis R. Freeman

  • One fellow, I forget his name, has a most hair-raising theory.

British Dictionary definitions for hair-raising



inspiring horror; terrifyinga hair-raising drop of 600 feet
Derived Formshair-raiser, noun
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

Word Origin and History for hair-raising

"exciting," 1837, from hair + raise (v.). In 19c. works, sometimes as jocular mock-classical tricopherous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper