Share this entry

Share this page

What is the origin of the phrase ‘hair of the dog’?

The expression the hair of the dog, for an alcoholic drink taken to cure a hangover, is a shortening of ‘a hair of the dog that bit you’. It comes from an old belief that someone bitten by a rabid dog could be cured of rabies by taking a potion containing some of the dog's hair. The correlation suggests that, although alcohol may be to blame for the hangover (as the dog is for the attack), a smaller portion of the same will, paradoxically, act as a cure. There is, it should be added, no scientific evidence that the cure for either a hangover or rabies actually works.

From Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins ©2010.

 

Back to word origins.

You may also be interested in

What's the origin of the phrase ‘to have an albatross around one’s neck’?

What is the origin of the word ‘hazard’?

What is the origin of the term ‘flea market’?

Share this entry

Share this page


Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Explore