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Hair of the dog

Hair of the dog is the abbreviated term for the entire phrase, hair of the dog that bit you. This phrase has a quite literal origin. We’ll look at the meaning of hair of the dog, its ancient origins, and some examples of how the term is used today.

Hair of the dog is a small alcoholic drink one drinks in the morning in order to cure a hangover. Doctors tell us that this hangover cure does not work. You are better off drinking copious amounts of water, as most of the symptoms of a hangover come from dehydration. The belief behind this folk cure is that like cures like. Curiously, the term hair of the dog that bit you comes from the literal practice of treating a rabid dog bite by packing it with hair from the rabid dog who made the bite or concocting a potion to drink made with the rabid dog’s hair. This treatment is first seen in The Natural History by Pliny the Elder, who lived AD 23-79. By the late Middle Ages, the phrase hair of the dog that bit you became a cheeky way to refer to an alcoholic drink taken the morning after too much revelry.


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Examples

Specialty cocktails are listed among other alcoholic options, which is good news for those looking forward to a hair of the dog since it may be soon legal to start serving alcohol at 10 a.m. Sundays. (The Democrat and Chronicle)

She started drinking the wine she’d stashed in her purse that day as a little “hair of the dog” for a bad hangover from the previous night’s drinking. (The Independent Journal Review)

The hair of the dog may well have been called for as Charlie recovered from his weekend bender. (The Irish Examiner)

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