Last modified on 1 September 2014, at 17:33
See also: haïr

EnglishEdit

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Hair in low gravity.

EtymologyEdit

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).

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

hair (countable and uncountable, plural hairs) (but usually in singular)

  1. (countable) A pigmented filament of keratin which grows from a follicle on the skin of humans and other mammals.
  2. (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.
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars, Chapter I,
      Her abundant hair, of a dark and glossy brown, was neatly plaited and coiled above an ivory column that rose straight from a pair of gently sloping shoulders, clearly outlined beneath the light muslin frock that covered them.
  3. (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.
  4. (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).
  5. (obsolete) Haircloth; a hair shirt.
    • c. 1390, Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Second Nun's Tale", Canterbury Tales:
      She, ful devout and humble in hir corage, / Under hir robe of gold, that sat ful faire, / Hadde next hir flessh yclad hir in an haire.
    • 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.
  6. (countable) Any very small distance, or degree; a hairbreadth.
    Just a little louder please - turn that knob a hair to the right.

Usage notesEdit

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.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

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