Consider two women walking in a park on a cold windy evening talking with each other. As one of them talks, the other one listens intently and runs her fingers through her long hair, hair which was moving lazily in the wind.

Is there a word or phrase for such an act of moving one's fingers through one's hair? (Though actually interested in/concerned about what the other person is saying..)

  • "idle fingercombing"? That's not a set phrase, though.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 8:42
  • Thanks @Kris..but I wanted something with a bit of a poetic touch to it..what u suggested seems somewhat formal..
    – user308123
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 9:29
  • 6
    Your own phrase, "running her fingers through her (long) hair," is probably the most common way of saying this. You can add an adverb like "slowly" or "distractedly" or "sensuously" to make it more specific.
    – 1006a
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 15:26
  • 1
    "something with a bit of a poetic touch" -- See also Writing Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 6:29
  • If someone is worried they often fiddle with things, and that would seem more appropriate than play which suggests enjoyment or pleasure. I agree this isn't really on-topic.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 10:44

2 Answers 2


Depending on how specific you want the phrase to be, you could say that she was "playing" with her hair.

To toy or fiddle around with something

  • She idly played with her long hair, which was moving lazily in the wind

I recently came across the word cafuné (cah-foo-neh). It's a Portuguese word, possibly borrowed from Kimbundu, a Bantu language.

cafuné: the act of fondling someone's hair (Wiktionary)

  • 2
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    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 9:21
  • Which foreign language? And why do you think a non-English word is needed? Collins defines it: fazer cafuné em alguém “to stroke somebody's hair” Not quite the same situation described in the question.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 9:53

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