What does this phrase mean?

hold on to your hair

2 Answers 2


"Hold on to your hat" and "keep your hair on" are common English phrases that mean "ready yourself for a rough / exciting experience" and "don't get too excited" respectively. The first is obvious enough, the second is a reference to wigs (more fashionable in previous times, and could come off when the wearer was agitated). Never heard of "hold on to your hair", but it sounds like a conflation of the two.

Google NGram for the three phrases here

  • 1
    I hadn't previously known that 'keep your hair on' referred to wigs. It used to be thought that excessive stress and worry made men go bald. I always thought it was connected to that.
    – WS2
    Sep 23, 2014 at 16:30

I'm almost sure that this is not the sense that the OP is asking about, but: "holding your hair" is a somewhat common phrase in popular culture (certainly American, and some British - think of Bridget Jones' Diary, for example).

When a group of friends or coworkers go out to a bar, it is unfortunately rather common for one or more of them to drink until they vomit. A true friend is said to be one who will hold your hair out of the way, so that it doesn't either trail in the toilet or get splashed with vomitus.

Taken literally, it only applies to drinkers with very long hair - usually, but not always, young women - but it's also used as a figure of speech when one friend is suggesting some risky or unwise behavior: "My roommate and I are going out on the town tonight. Why don't you come along and hold my hair?"

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