The morning after a long night out, a friend might recommend you start your day with ‘the hair of the dog.’ No, she doesn’t want you to rub your face up against her pet golden retriever. According to dictionary.com, to offer someone ‘the hair of the dog’ is to recommend that they consume a small amount of whatever caused their ailment. If you drank a lot of alcohol last night and you’re feeling hungover, the ‘hair of the dog’ might be something like a bloody mary or mimosa—a drink that has a little alcohol in it.
Where did this canine-centric phrase come from? It turns out that ‘hair of the dog’ is a shortened version of the phrase, ‘the hair of the dog that bit me.’ Back in medieval times, if someone was bitten by a rabid dog it was believed that putting some of that dog’s hair (according to some sources, burnt hair) in the wound would help heal it.
If you’re wondering about the origins of another word or phrase, let us know in the comments!