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make one's hair stand on end

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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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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