I’m sure this week’s idiom is one that has probably been thrown at you often enough for you to have it memorised, by now, if you’re an anxious person. We’ve all begged for a chance to let our hair down so frequently, but very few of us have actually understood where that phrase came from, and why it makes a significant mark in our daily lives when we get to use it.
“To let your hair down” means that you relax and behave freely. The origins of this phrase are buried in 17th century England, where this phrase was particularly meant for the ladies. At that point in time, women were required to keep their hair tied up, in buns and in elaborate hair-dos, for them to be socially acceptable as gracious women. Tied-up, neat hair was a sign of elegance and charm, but this also meant that women were required to constantly keep up their appearance at all costs. The only time they were allowed to relax, was when they were washing their hair or when they were alone at home. Literally, that was the only time they could let their hair down and not worry about it. This meant that in the window of time when their hair was loose, they could let go of their inhibitions, kick their feet up (go look up what this phrase means?) and not worry about what others thought. Letting their hair down, thus, became a marker of this freedom, and the phrase found its way into the English language.
Now, the idiom is used whenever one wishes to signify a lack of inhibition and is no longer just a sign of relaxing in the comfort of your own home. Letting your hair down is to let go of your insecurities and have fun, even if it is for a short period of time. When you tell a person to let their hair down, you mean that you want them to go have a good time, or that you want them to stop worrying about others and be themselves. Most of us who are familiar with the concept of Friday nights are familiar with the concept of letting our hair down, all too well. Keep in mind though, that while the fact that the phrase has made its place in language is a huge win for women all over the world, it isn’t used only for women! Men too have earned the right to be free from judgement and worry, at least when it comes to idiomatic usage, if not more.
At LearnEd, we strongly think that letting our hair down is essential every once in a while, but in doing so, if a lesson on the English language can make its way into our heads, why not jump at the opportunity? Make more such lessons a part of your everyday routine, join LearnEd, today!