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A.Word.A.Day--piliferous

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

Hair! What a thing! People spend millions trying to grow it. Others spend even more to get rid of it. Some do both, though on different parts of their bodies.

We can get in other people's hair (to annoy). We let our hair down (relax). We split hairs (make petty distinctions). Things can make our hair stand on end (terrify), or we might be having a bad hair day (an unpleasant day). Sometimes literally. I have seen my niece in tears at a family wedding just because she felt her hair wasn't done as well as she had hoped. (I know what some of you are saying to yourselves, "Just because?")

Our hair grows. We cut it. And in between we spend countless hours on it. This week we devote five days to hair -- and on its absence.

This week's theme in AWAD: Hair today, gone tomorrow.

piliferous (py-LIF-uhr-uhs) adjective

Having or producing hair.

[From Latin pilus (hair).]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"If there's one thing that separates us from the stars, it's hair. Film-star hair, like film-star orthodontia, bears scant relation to life as we know it; it comes and goes, changes colour at will, or sprouts overnight into rolling acres of luxuriant growth. Sometimes you can see an entire range of exciting piliferous activity within a single movie." Anne Billson; It's Hairy, It's Scary, it's Bruce's Wig; The Sunday Telegraph (London, UK); Jan 11, 1998.

X-Bonus

A hair in the head is worth two in the brush. -Oliver Herford, writer and illustrator (1863-1935)

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