- to relax; behave informally: He finally let his hair down and actually cracked a joke.
- to speak candidly or frankly; remove or reduce restraints: He let his hair down and told them about his anxieties.
Origin of hair
Related Words for make one's hair stand on endperturb, appall, unnerve, astound, agitate, horrify, bulldoze, petrify, terrify, disquiet, startle, daunt, panic, demoralize, dismay, disconcert, affright, spook, awe, deter
- a fabric or material made from the hair of some animals
- (as modifier)a hair carpet; a hair shirt
Word Origin for hair
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.
make one's hair stand on end
Also, make one's hair curl. Terrify one, as in The very thought of an earthquake makes my hair stand on end, or Diving off a high board is enough to make my hair curl. The first term, first recorded in 1534, alludes to goose pimples prompted by fear, which cause the hairs around them to stand up. The variant dates from the mid-1900s.
In addition to the idioms beginning with hair
- hair of the dog that bit you
- hair shirt
- bad hair day
- by a hair
- by the short hairs
- fair-haired boy
- get gray hair from
- hang by a thread (hair)
- hide or hair
- in someone's hair
- let one's hair down
- make one's hair stand on end
- put lead in one's pencil (hair on one's chest)
- split hairs
- tear one's hair
- turn a hair