A woman having her hair styled.
- An example of hair is the stuff you have growing from the top of your head and that you lose if you go bald.
- An example of hair is the stuff your dog sheds.
- any of the fine, threadlike outgrowths from the skin of an animal or human being
- a growth of these; esp.,
- the growth covering the human head
- the growth covering all or part of the skin of most mammals
- material woven from hair
- an extremely small space, margin, degree, etc.: to miss by a hair
- Bot. a threadlike growth on a plant; trichome
Origin of hairMiddle English here from Old English hær (akin to German haar, Frankish an unverified form harja) and from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Old French haire, hair shirt from Frankish an unverified form harja from Indo-European base an unverified form ?er(s)-, to bristle
- made of or with hair
- for the care of the hair: hair tonic
get in someone's hair
hair of the dog (that bit one)
have (or get) by the short hairs
Origin of hair< short hairs, pubic hair
let one's hair down
make someone's hair stand on end
Origin of hairin ref. to horripilation
not turn a hair
to a hair
- a. Any of the cylindrical, keratinized, often pigmented filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal.b. A growth of such filaments, as that forming the coat of an animal or covering the scalp of a human.
- A filamentous projection or bristle similar to a hair, such as a seta of an arthropod or an epidermal process of a plant.
- Fabric made from the hair of certain animals: a coat of alpaca hair.
- a. A minute distance or narrow margin: won by a hair.b. A precise or exact degree: calibrated to a hair.
Origin of hairMiddle English her from Old English hǣr
(countable and uncountable, plural hairs) (but usually in singular)
- (countable) A pigmented filament of keratin which grows from a follicle on the skin of humans and other mammals.
- I only have hair around my genitals and on my head.
- (uncountable) The collection or mass of such growths growing from the skin of humans and animals, and forming a covering for a part of the head or for any part or the whole body.
- In the western world, women usually have long hair while men usually have short hair.
- (zoology, countable) A slender outgrowth from the chitinous cuticle of insects, spiders, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Such hairs are totally unlike those of vertebrates in structure, composition, and mode of growth.
- (botany, countable) A cellular outgrowth of the epidermis, consisting of one or of several cells, whether pointed, hooked, knobbed, or stellated. Internal hairs occur in the flower stalk of the yellow frog lily (Nuphar).
- 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XV:
- I requyre you take thys hayre that was thys holy mannes and put hit nexte thy skynne, and hit shall prevayle the gretly.
- (countable) Any very small distance, or degree; a hairbreadth.
- Just a little louder please - turn that knob a hair to the right.
The word hair is usually used without article in singular number when it refers to all the hairs on one's head in general. But if it refers to more than one hair, a few hairs, then it takes the plural form without an article, and needs a plural verb.
- George has (-) brown hair, but I found a hair on the sofa and suspect he's getting some gray hairs.
- George's hair is brown, but one hair I found was grey, so I think there are probably more grey hairs on his head as well.
Adjectives often applied to "hair": long, short, curly, straight, dark, blonde, black, brown, red, blue, green, purple, coarse, fine, healthy, damaged, beautiful, perfect, natural, dyed.
From Middle English hēr, heer, hær, from Old English her, hǣr , from Proto-Germanic *hērą. Compare West Frisian hier, Dutch haar, German Haar, Swedish hår, from Proto-Indo-European *keres- (“rough hair, bristle”). Compare Middle Irish carrach (“scurfy, mangy”), Albanian qere (“hair disease, ringworm, baldness”), Lithuanian šerys (“bristle, animal hair”), Russian шерсть (šerst’, “wool”), Sanskrit कपुच्छल (kapucchala, “napehair, shorthairs”).