Hair of the dog

I am currently nursing an urgent after party headache and so this phrase seemed to hold a particular relevance. Meaning ‘a small measure of drink intended to cure a hangover’, it is actually short for ‘the hair of the dog that bit me’. It originates from the medieval belief that when someone was bitten by a rabid dog, a cure could be made by applying the same dog’s hair to the infected wound. The dangers of this inconvenient suggestion should be immediately apparent. As my trusted source at somewhere I’ve now lost the link for  so deftly puts it, “How many people managed to get bitten again when trying to approach the aforesaid dog to acquire the hair to achieve this completely useless remedy isn’t known.”

Enough of the writing, I’m going to find a dog of my own.



Filed under Idioms & Their Origins

7 responses to “Hair of the dog

  1. sarahjaneprosetry

    Man, I love this blog!

  2. Thanks for making me laugh! Great image of someone approaching the rabid dog to get some hair….

    Didn’t know where this expression came from, so appreciate the explanation!

  3. Who’d have thought that injecting pus from a cow’s infected utter would prevent the same pox in ourselves. It seems this same silly thinking occasionally works. Homeopathy is also based on similar ideas and your England is enamored with that nonsense. It is odd how nonsensical thinking accidentally works at times.

    See, this post is begging for a good pic. I can hear her crying.

    In emergency medicine, we give drunks alcohol drips to keep them from having withdrawal seizures while we sew together their scalp, lacerated by flying bar mugs. There is another example of the “hair of the dog” — used a bit differently, I guess.

    • Yes I am familiar with the drunks and their alcohol drips. An interesting twist.

      We love many things in England, we are a simple folk after all.

      Do you really think the post is begging for a good pic? Surely the mind paints its own image?

  4. A pic well chosen could be fun and synergistic. But you are right, a pic just for a pics sake (the habit of some bloggers) would distract and possible cheapen fine words.

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