The word hair kind of makes etymological sense for some people, but with others not so much. In the primordial English language, when words were so garbled you probably couldn't recognize them, it passed into our language, but the sounds changed a lot. for a while, hair was spelled alternatively as her, heer, and haer before people finally settled on a standardization. This is curious but not extraordinary; this was a very tumultuous time in the English language. When first asked about this word, I guessed based on the hard consonant ending that it was Germanic, but the soft h at the start confused me. Turns out this is rightfully so; back in Proto-Germanic from whence this term came, the word khaeran was utilized, with the current definition. This beginning was kind of guttural and faded over time. Khaeran in turn came from Proto-Indo-European and the word ghers, which meant "to stand out" or "bristle". This is also the root of today's word horror, because of the way you bristle with fear when you're scared. Next time you see someone with wavy hair, tell them they're etymologically incorrect, gosh darn it!
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.