Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-04-2005, 10:56 PM
drnick99 drnick99 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1
Why are bangs (the hair covering the forehead) called bangs?

I have always wondered this. Does anyone know?
  #2  
Old 04-04-2005, 11:29 PM
samclem samclem is offline
Graphite is a great
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 25,692
It may come from the term "bangtail" for a horse. Late 1800's, US in origin.

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/inde...?date=19990112
  #3  
Old 04-05-2005, 12:01 AM
samclem samclem is offline
Graphite is a great
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 25,692
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
It may come from the term "bangtail" for a horse. Late 1800's, US in origin.

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/inde...?date=19990112
I just antedated the term "bangtail" to 1812. Found it in a Scottish newspaper, as the name of a specific horse. So, it's been around that long. The slang useage to mean a horse in general only seems to appear in the late 1800's.
  #4  
Old 04-05-2005, 12:12 AM
Khampelf Khampelf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Republic of Anoxia
Posts: 2,048
I've no cites, but I remember the explanation that cutting a horses tail evenly was known as 'banging off' the tail. That seems to go along with Samclem's cite. When human female hair began to be worn cut straight across the brow, the term carried over. I'd be willing to entertain the notion that the term began derisively.
  #5  
Old 04-05-2005, 03:01 AM
MelCthefirst MelCthefirst is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,574
We call it 'a fringe' - easier to explain why. Do Americans ever use the term 'fringe' instead of bangs?
  #6  
Old 04-05-2005, 03:11 AM
GilaB GilaB is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York, New York!
Posts: 2,461
The only time I've ever heard the term is in a scene in one of the later Little House on the Prairie books, in which Laura cuts her own hair into bangs, which were newly trendy. Her father refers to the new style as 'the lunatic fringe.' (I've spent most of my time in New York and New Jersey, FWIW.)
  #7  
Old 04-05-2005, 07:33 AM
dangermom dangermom is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 9,154
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelCthefirst
We call it 'a fringe' - easier to explain why. Do Americans ever use the term 'fringe' instead of bangs?
Nope, it sounds weird to an American. Makes perfect sense, though. I've always thought 'bangs' is rather an unattractive term...

IIRC. back when Laura Ingalls cut her hair, it was called a bang, singular. I'm pretty sure it's in the books, and L.M. Montgomery used it too. I've always wondered why and how it changed to the plural.
  #8  
Old 04-05-2005, 07:58 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 22,412
Interestingly, in Hebrew bangs are known as a "pony." There's obviously an equistarian theme here.
  #9  
Old 04-05-2005, 08:20 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Flavortown
Posts: 34,324
Maybe it is because it looks like you combed your hair with a firecracker-- BANG!!!
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:24 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017