Hairs stand on end

make (one’s)/the hair stand up on the back of (one’s) neck

  • make the best of it, to
  • make the best of something
  • make the best of something bad job
  • make the best of something/things/a bad job
  • make the best of things bad job
  • Make the Connection
  • make the cut
  • Make the Difference
  • Make the Difference Network
  • make the dust fly
  • make the dust fly
  • make the dust fly
  • make the dust fly
  • make the dust fly
  • make the feathers
  • make the feathers fly
  • make the feathers/fur fly
  • make the feathers/fur fly, to
  • make the first move
  • make the fur fly
  • make the grade
  • make the grade
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  • make the grade
  • make the grade
  • make the grade, to
  • make the hair stand up on the back of her neck
  • make the hair stand up on the back of his neck
  • make the hair stand up on the back of my neck
  • make the hair stand up on the back of neck
  • make the hair stand up on the back of one’s neck
  • make the hair stand up on the back of our neck
  • make the hair stand up on the back of our necks
  • make the hair stand up on the back of their neck
  • make the hair stand up on the back of their necks
  • make the hair stand up on the back of your neck
  • make the hard yard
  • make the hard yards
  • make the headlines
  • make the land
  • make the most of
  • make the most of
  • make the most of
  • make the most of
  • make the most of
  • make the most of
  • make the most of (oneself)
  • make the most of (something)
  • make the most of herself
  • make the most of himself
  • make the most of oneself
  • make the most of ourselves
  • make the most of something
  • make the most of themselves
  • make the most of yourself
  • make the most of yourself, himself, etc.
  • make the papers
  • make the plunge
  • make the right noises

How to Shave the Back of Your Own Neck

  1. Remove your shirt and stand with your back to the bathroom mirror. Hold your hand mirror (or place your swing arm mirror) in front of your face and position it so you can see the back of your head in the bathroom mirror. I highly recommend using a swing-arm mirror as it allows you to have both hands free. I really love the Jerdon 8″ Wall Mount Mirror for this purpose. It looks great and works really well.
  2. Hold the trimmer with the teeth of the blade facing the back of your neck and parallel to the floor (the clipper should be held with blade side up) and shave a straight guideline horizontally across the back of your neck. Keep this line as close to the bottom of the natural hairline as possible. You should be able to follow the outline left from your last haircut.
  3. Flip the clipper over so the teeth of the blade are facing upward. Start at the bottom of your neck and shave upward in vertical sections until you come to the horizontal guideline you shaved in step two.
  4. If you desire a more rounded look, shave off the corners at each side of the neck. If needed, you may also remove any stray hairs behind the ears.
  5. For those who would like a closer shave than a trimmer can provide, you may shave the area with a razor. The Gillette Fusion Power Razor works well for this because of the detail blade on the back of the razor’s head. Use a very thin layer of shaving cream (so you can see the hairline) and shave the neck in the direction the hair grows. Use your trimmer lines as a guide.

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Here is what you know now that you didn’t know eight hours ago:

When you are on the beach, collecting shells with your kids in the rain, and thunder rolls, you should run.

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Or better:

When you are on the beach with your kids in the rain, and thunder rolls, and their hair (and yours) stands on end, you should not laugh and take photos.

Here’s what it means when your hair stands on end during a thunderstorm:

You are most likely about to be hit by lightning.

In the past two weeks, lightning has come up again and again in conversation. It’s your birthday dinner. Your nephew shows up unexpectedly. Rowing practice was cancelled due to threat of thunderstorms.

Why? The kids want to know. Why?

Because of lightning, he says. He explains how the lightning would seek him on the water, in his metal boat. Granddad explains about conduction.

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The Bun worries. What if? What if? WHAT IF?

“It’s not going to happen,” you say. “It’s like winning the lottery. Your odds are so remote.”

Then the weather makes you a liar.

Every year, the middle weekend of June means a holiday. The same hotel and routine. Day one: checking in, swimming in the pool, a walk on the beach. The second is mini golf, bumper boats, the park. The third is the water park, building the island and waiting for the tide to come up. On the fourth: check-out, Smitty’s, the arcade, the other beach.

This year, everything went wrong.

The hotel pool was closed for health reasons. The hotel’s movie network was down.

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The hotel elevator was out of service.

The Bun’s foot was sliced open on a broken shell. He fell and sprained his other ankle. The Birdy coughed and coughed.

The tides worked in reverse, coming in when you wanted them out, going out when you needed them to come in.

You ate ice cream. The crows ate the French fries in vinegar. You stayed up too late. You found sand dollars, shells and things that were funny.

The big beach is the last big adventure. You take donuts and frozen drinks. The sun skitters behind a black cloud. It starts to rain.

The thunder claps and The Birdy says, “We are brave, aren’t we, Mummy? We don’t care if we get WET.”

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Yes, we are, my darling girl. We are the bravest. “Sure,” you say. “We’ll dry off in the car.”

When The Birdy’s hair started to rise, you all laughed. You took a picture. Her hair pulled free of her braid and reached up toward the thunderhead.

“Look at her HAIR!” The Bun said. “LOOK at it.”

They bent over, laughing. “Look at MUMMY!”

You could feel it waving over your head. Flowing up. You made a face. They howled with laughter.

Static, you thought, from the playground slide. But you weren’t on the playground slide.

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Then something electrical snaked up your legs, a feeling, like dread approaching the wrong way. The hair on your arms prickled sharply.

“Get back to the car,” you said. You willed yourself to not throw up. What you felt like doing was screaming. What you knew you should do was …

Well, you had no idea.

“NOW,” you said. “MY CAMERA IS GETTING WET.”

Why didn’t you say “RUN”?

You will sit on the couch much later, asking yourself this. You knew it wasn’t right, what was happening. But you weren’t sure. Not 100 per cent.

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All you knew was that your hair should not be doing this and neither should theirs.

“HURRY,” you said in your

mad voice. “RIGHT NOW OR SO HELP ME.”

“Right now?” they said, mid-laugh, their hands hovering in the cloud of hair above them.

“RIGHT NOW,” you said. “OR I’LL TAKE EVERYTHING AWAY.”

It took forever or 10 minutes.

You made it to the car. The thunder crashed so intensely, you could feel it in your jaw.

You texted your ex. “What does it mean,” you type, “when your hair stands up in a thunderstorm?”

“GET INSIDE,” he texted back. “NOW.”

You stepped on the gas like you were making a getaway. Which of course you were.

Several miles down the road, you call your mom. “Well, maybe you should buy a lottery ticket,” she says.

“I think I just used up all the luck,” you say, your heart hammering on your sternum like it’s a door that may open.

“Who was the goddess of lightning?” your mom asks.

“I don’t know,” you say. “I have no idea. Why?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “It just seemed important.”

When you get home, finally, hours later, you Google it. And now you are on the Internet, and even though you don’t really want to, you type: Hair standing up thunderstorm.

That’s when you find the picture of the two boys, laughing, their hair standing up, minutes before the lightning struck them and killed them.

Going through your own pictures, you find the one of The Birdy, laughing, hair everywhere. And you feel sick. Your knees are still buzzing strangely, from adrenalin or electricity.

The things you now know about lightning:

The goddess of lightning is Astrape.

If your hair stands on end, get inside. FAST.

If you can’t get inside, crouch down on the balls of your feet. Head down. Touching the ground as little as possible.

And sometimes – sometimes – lightning lets you get away.

Skin, Hair, and Nails

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What Does Skin Do?

Skin, our largest organ, has many jobs. It:

  • protects the network of muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, and everything else inside our bodies
  • forms a barrier that prevents harmful substances and germs from entering the body
  • protects body tissues against injury
  • helps control body temperature through sweating when we’re hot and by helping keep heat in the body when we’re cold

Without the nerve cells in skin, people couldn’t feel warmth, cold, or other sensations.

Every square inch of skin contains thousands of cells and hundreds of sweat glands, oil glands, nerve endings, and blood vessels.

What Are the Parts of Skin?

The epidermis is the upper layer of skin. This tough, protective outer layer is thin in some areas and thick in others. The epidermis has layers of cells that constantly flake off and are renewed. In these layers are three special types of cells:

  • Melanocytes (pronounced: meh-LAH-nuh-sites) make melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. All people have roughly the same number of melanocytes; the more melanin made, the darker the skin. Exposure to sunlight increases the production of melanin, which is why people get suntanned or freckled.
  • Keratinocytes (pronounced: ker-uh-TIH-no-sites) make keratin, a type of protein that’s a basic component of hair, skin, and nails. Keratin in the skin’s outer layer helps create a protective barrier.
  • Langerhans (pronounced: LAHNG-ur-hanz) cells help protect the body against infection.

Because the cells in the epidermis are completely replaced about every 28 days, cuts and scrapes heal quickly.

Below the epidermis is the dermis. This is where our blood vessels, nerve endings, sweat glands, and hair follicles are. The dermis nourishes the epidermis. Two types of fibers in the dermis — collagen and elastin — help skin stretch and stay firm.

The dermis also contains a person’s sebaceous (pronounced: sih-BAY-shiss) glands. These glands make the oil sebum (pronounced: SEE-bum), which softens the skin and makes it waterproof.

The bottom layer of skin is the subcutaneous (pronounced: sub-kyuh-TAY-nee-iss) tissue. It’s made of

, blood vessels, and cells that store fat. This layer helps protect the body from blows and other injuries and helps hold in body heat.

What Does Hair Do?

The hair on our heads doesn’t just look nice. It keeps us warm by preserving heat.

Hair in the nose, ears, and around the eyes protects these sensitive areas from dust and other small particles. Eyebrows and eyelashes protect eyes by decreasing the amount of light and particles that go into them.

The fine hair that covers the body provides warmth and protects the skin.

What Are the Parts of Hair?

Human hair consists of:

  • the hair shaft, the part that sticks out from the skin’s surface
  • the root, a soft thickened bulb at the base of the hair
  • the follicle (pronounced: FAHL-ih-kul), a sac-like pit in the skin from which the hair grows

At the bottom of the follicle is the papilla (pronounced: puh-PILL-uh), where the actual hair growth happens. The papilla contains an artery that nourishes the root of the hair. As cells multiply and make keratin to harden the structure, they’re pushed up the follicle and through the skin’s surface as a shaft of hair.

Each hair has three layers:

  1. the medulla (pronounced: meh-DULL-uh) at the center, which is soft
  2. the cortex, which surrounds the medulla and is the main part of the hair
  3. the cuticle (pronounced: KYOO-tuh-kull), the hard outer layer that protects the shaft

Hair grows by forming new cells at the base of the root. These cells multiply to form a rod of tissue in the skin. The rods of cells move upward through the skin as new cells form beneath them. As they move up, they’re cut off from their supply of nourishment and start to form a hard protein called keratin. This process is called keratinization (pronounced: ker-uh-tuh-nuh-ZAY-shun). As this happens, the hair cells die. The dead cells and keratin form the shaft of the hair.

Hair grows all over the human body except the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and lips. Hair grows faster in summer than winter, and slower at night than during the day.

What Do Nails Do?

Nails protect the sensitive tips of fingers and toes. We don’t need our nails to survive, but they do support the tips of our fingers and toes, protect them from injury, and help us pick up small objects. Without them, we’d have a hard time scratching an itch or untying a knot.

Nails can be an indicator of a person’s general health, and illness often affects their growth.

What Are the Parts of Nails?

Nails grow out of deep folds in the skin of the fingers and toes. As epidermal cells below the nail root move up to the surface of the skin, they increase in number. Those closest to the nail root get flat and pressed tightly together. Each cell becomes a thin plate; these plates pile into layers to form the nail.

As with hair, nails form by keratinization. When the nail cells accumulate, the nail pushes forward.

The skin below the nail is the matrix. The larger part of the nail, the nail plate, looks pink because of the network of tiny blood vessels in the underlying dermis. The whitish crescent-shaped area at the base of the nail is the lunula (pronounced: LOON-yuh-luh).

Fingernails grow faster than toenails. Like hair, nails grow faster in summer than in winter. A nail that’s torn off will regrow if the matrix isn’t severely injured.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD Date reviewed: October 2019

The human body has a few unneeded parts. We no longer rely on these organs or structures for any serious function, or they have atrophied or degenerated to the point that they don’t serve the function they used to.

Charles Darwin pointed to these vestiges of anatomy in humans and other animals as evidence for evolution. Eventually, by noting how the vestigial organs in one species were similar to functioning organs in other species, biologists concluded two otherwise dissimilar creatures must have shared a common ancestor. Here are five of the most notable vestigial organs in humans:

The Appendix: This small pouch attached to your large intestine, at the junction of the small intestine, no longer aids in digestion, and none of the 1 in 20 people who have one removed seems to miss it. In plant-eating vertebrates, it remains part of the digestive system. And a study in 2009 found that the human appendix might be useful, serving as an important storehouse for beneficial bacteria, which can’t wait for a chance a case of diarrhea so they can rush to the gut and save you.

The Tailbone: Grandpa didn’t have a tail, but if you go back far enough in the family tree, your ancestors did. Other mammals find their tails useful for balance, but when humans learned to walk, the tail because useless and evolution converted it to just some fused vertebrae we call a coccyx.

Male Nipples: This one might surprise you. Men have nipples because early on in the womb, the gender of a fetus could go either way. Essentially, every fetus starts out female. Eventually, testosterone causes a fetus to veer toward male or female. It’s worth noting that some men have been known to lactate, and men can get breast cancer.

Erector Pili and Body Hair: Goose bumps aren’t just to alert you of cold. And in many creatures, fear and confrontation cause muscle fibers called erector pili to activate, forcing hairs to stand up and make the animal appear larger and more threatening. That would’ve been useful to your distant ancestors, those hairy beasts!

Wisdom Teeth: Little more than a pain for many people, wisdom teeth probably once served a function, scientists figure. But the human jaw has become smaller over time and the wisdom teeth just have nowhere to grow. It’s also possible that dental hygiene is partly to blame. Before tooth brushing, a young adult would have lost many or most of his teeth, and the incoming wisdom teeth would have been timely.

Read More: 10 Useless Limbs & Organs.

The Darwinian theory of evolution, though initially ridiculed, did go on to become accepted as the truth about how we came to be. Survival of the fittest is the basic soul of this theory, and that everything unnecessary is eventually disposed off. Evolution takes its own sweet time to do that though; so eventually we are still left over with some souvenir of our ancestors; so here is a list of the top ten vestigial body parts.

10. Vomeronasal Organ

Also called the Jacobson’s organ, the main function of the Vomeronasal Organ is to function as an olfactory organ in amphibians, mammals and reptiles. It detects pheromones which are chemical messengers to exchange information between animals belonging to the same species. In reptiles however the sense of smell has been shifted from the nose to the tongue, which helps them sense their environment by gathering particles in the air. In humans however, it is believed that these organs, present on either sides of the septum behind the nose, has become vestigial; though not completely non functional, according to recent researches. The effect of pheromones in humans is not as pronounced or sufficiently established, since the sense of smell is not really required to attract members of the opposite sex, no matter what the deodorant advertisements tell you!

9. Erector Pili and Body Hair

Remember those goose bumps that you got when you saw ‘Conjuring’? They are caused by the erector pili which are muscle fibers. When these muscles contract, which is usually caused due to fear or cold, it forces the hair follicles to stand on end. Used as a defense mechanism by animals and our very hairy ancestors, the hair standing up makes them look bigger and more threatening to intimidate a predator or opponent in response confrontation; and when the weather was cold, the raised fur used to insulation by trapping warm air close to the skin. The amount of body hair we possess is way too less and short to be of any importance! You cannot really hope to threaten anyone with your hair standing on end; and neither can it provide any insulation, making it useless. Moreover, for all the women (and men) who strive so hard to remove their hair through waxing and electrolysis; it is a terrible curse!

8. Fifth Toe

Have you often been injured by furniture, especially on that all too useless pinky toe? You are not the only one then who has been exposed to it being more of a disadvantage! Used primarily by primates and our tree hugging ancestors for clinging and swinging off branches, they have greatly reduced in size now and have become entirely obsolete. Not required for balance, or mobility in any way; the fifth toe is a body part we don’t really need. Several mammals have already lost their digits thanks to evolution such as cows, horses, pigs and camels and if man were to follow, it wouldn’t make much difference except maybe much better fitting shoes!

7. Extrinsic Ear Muscles

We have all attempted to do Funny things with our faces as children. If you were the talented group star who could wiggle his/her years, you have your extrinsic ear muscles, also called the auricular muscles to thank. They are a group of three muscles surrounding the outer ear that allows movement of your ears independent of your head. Common in almost all animals, you must have noticed your pets perking up their ears when startled, these extrinsic ear muscles are used to perk up their ears as a sign of alertness or to move them around according to motion of predators or prey. So as far as function goes, this ability is particularly useless in humans now, making these muscles inherently ineffectual.

6. Plica Semilunaris

In simple terms, the plica semilunari is called the third eyelid. You may not know it but apart from our two very prominent eyelids we do possess a small nonetheless third eyelid. If you look closely in the corner of your eye beside the ear duct you will find a small fold of tissue which is nothing more than an accessory eye organ in humans. Shrunken during evolution, this remainder of the once present nictitating membrane is still present in birds, reptiles and few mammals to keep the eyes moist and offer protection, but in humans it has barely any function.

5. Tail bone

As one of the rare (and lucky) mammals to not have a tail, there is still a remainder of this part that once existed, in the form of a coccyx. The coccyx normally consists of 3 to 5 rudimentary vertebrae fused into a single bone which now performs the function of an anchor point for the muscles to support the anus in place and also attaches many important ligaments together. It is the end segment of the vertebra hence also referred to as the tailbone. There have been cases where people have been born with tails which usually occurs if the signal that stops the elongation of the vertebrae is not given at the right time. its major function was as a support to the limbs while swinging over branches among our ancestors which slowly disappeared with time. As good as they looked on avatar, I am sure none of you will like to have tails- forget wearing pants, sitting down would become a task!

4. Male Nipples

It is known why women have nipples- logically for breastfeeding babies but this organ, strangely is present in males as well! During the early pregnancy all embryos have similar tissues and develop nipples during the third and fourth week along with mammary ridges called the milk lines. When the pituitary glands begin to develop, testosterone is produced around the seventh week to develop male sex glands to differentiate the genders. The milk lines recede leaving behind a pair of nipples and lobules which are milk producing glands. Bizarrely the male nipples are not completely vestigial since it is possible for them to lactate though due to presence of milk ducts; if stimulated by the female hormone oestrogen! In a fairly strange condition called witches’ milk’, some babies have known to lactate at the moment of birth when born with enough of his mother’s oestrogen.

3. Appendix

A narrow tube with a diameter between 7 and 8 mm, connected to a pouch like structure of the colon called cecum, the appendix is located near the junction of the large and the small intestine. Used to digest tough foods like tree barks for our ancestors, it has become a vestigial organ with little or no major function in digestion for our present food choices, though recently it has been discovered that the appendix does produce certain hormones and compounds that help in biological functions in fetuses as well as immune functions in young adults.Uses aside, it has been a source of much discomfort due to a very common condition called appendicitis, the appendix has needed surgical removal. It is characterized by inflammation causing pain, fever and nausea due to blockage.

2. Tonsils

One of the most removed organs, tonsils are basically collections of lymphoid tissue one on each side of the back of the throat. They do function as a part of your immune system fighting infections as the first in line for defence in the throat. The major problem with its bacteria fighting effect is its tendency to get sore and inflamed and recurring infections. If the infection is virus initiated, antibiotics don’t help and doctors almost always recommend getting tonsil removal surgery called tonsillectomy which makes it more profitable to not have them in the first place.

1. Wisdom Teeth

Our tooth development follows a timely order, and these teeth at the extreme back of our jaw begin to form around the age of 10, and finally erupt at the age of 18-22. They are dubbed wisdom teeth since this is the age in which we are said to become wise. It is believed that our third set of molars, or wisdom teeth as they are commonly called, were present to help chew coarse and rough food items such as nuts, roots and raw meats which formed the diet of our early ancestors. But in recent times with softer, cooked food these wisdom teeth have become practically obsolete in utility. Some people are born without any wisdom teeth, while there are a good number who need to get one or more extracted due to lack of room in the mouth, misalignment or partial eruption through the gum, which could cause infection and decay. As a result these vestigial organs are more a source of pain and late offerings to the tooth fairy.

What Makes Hair Stand on End When You’re Scared?

It’s a dark and stormy night.

You’re home alone, maybe watching an old Hitchcock film or reading a new Stephen King thriller. Suddenly, you hear a faint howling sound outside your window, and then a tap, tap, tap on the glass. You know it’s probably just the wind blowing through the tree branches, but even so, a chill runs down your spine. A minute later, the power goes out, and your entire body — including the hair on your arms and the back of your neck — bristles as if called to attention.

Is there a ghost beside you? Probably not, scientists say. Your body is likely reacting to an emotion, not an apparition.

The Science of Being Scared

It may feel like there’s something supernatural at work when the hair on your neck stands up and goose bumps cover your body, but researchers say it’s actually quite the opposite. Our response to fear goes back centuries and centuries to when our ancestors had to fend for themselves in the wild against predators and other threats.

What happens is something experts call the “fight-or-flight response,” in which strong emotions trigger a physical reaction in your nervous system. The phenomenon was first described in 1915 by Walter B. Cannon, MD, chairman of the department of physiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr. Cannon theorized that perceived dangers activate an animal’s stress response, which may include an accelerated heartbeat, dilated pupils, and piloerection — the scientific name for the sensation of your hair standing on end. (It is also referred to as horripilation and cutis anserina.)

Modern scientists say that Cannon’s explanation was a little too simplistic, but he was definitely onto something. Fear stimulates your brain and triggers a release of adrenaline and other stress hormones throughout your body. This so-called adrenaline rush is what causes your heart to race and your palms to sweat. It’s also responsible for goose bumps, which are what make your hair stand on end.

Goose bumps are the result of a reflex that makes the muscles attached to the base of each hair follicle contract. “Each contracting muscle creates a shallow depression on the skin surface, which causes the surrounding area to protrude,” explains George A. Bubenik, MD, a physiologist and professor of zoology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, in an article for Scientific American. These contractions force the hair up.

An Evolutionary Quirk

It turns out that this mechanism actually serves some biological purpose — or it did in our animal ancestors, at least. One is for warmth: In wintery climates, piloerection expands the amount of air between a creature’s flesh and the cold, offering a thicker layer of insulation. You can’t see their skin because of the fur, but if you could, it would look a lot like human skin does whenever there’s a chill (e.g., covered in goose bumps).

Another, Dr. Bubenik says, is protection against potential predators. “The hair will stand up in many animals when they feel threatened — in a cat being attacked by a dog, for example,” he writes. “The elevated hair, together with the arched back and the sideward position the animal often assumes, makes the cat appear bigger in an attempt to make the dog back off.”

Another example of this is in porcupines. At rest, a porcupine’s quills lay almost flat against its body, but when the animal’s defense mechanism kicks in, the spines stick straight out. This response is useless for humans — we don’t have enough hair on our arms and legs to suddenly make us appear larger, and we’re also not likely to be in many situations where such a reaction is necessary — but it’s one of the many things we inherited from our ancestors.

What Goose Bumps Say About Your Personality

It’s not just fear that triggers goose bumps, though. Research shows that piloerection can also be brought on by a number of other strong emotions — such as awe or excitement — or even just by listening to music.

“People tend to experience goose bumps during emotional situations, such as walking down the aisle during their wedding, standing on a podium and listening to a national anthem after winning in sports, or even just watching horror movies on television,” Bubenik writes. “Quite often a person may get goose bumps many years after a significant event, just by thinking about the emotions she once experienced, perhaps while listening to the romantic song to which she danced many years ago with the love of her life.”

Scientists at the University of North Carolina have actually studied this phenomenon. In a report published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, researchers examined the relationship between music-induced goose bumps and personality types. They postulated that beautiful music stimulates your brain’s hypothalamus, which controls primal drives such as hunger, rage, and sexual arousal. They found that people who experienced the most “chills” also had the most “open” personalities — they were receptive to new experiences, creative, curious, and had active imaginations.

Remember that the next time you get goose bumps. It might make you feel better while you’re hiding under your covers waiting for the ghost to leave.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Emotional Health Center.

Do you have a health head-scratcher? Submit it here, and we may answer your question in a future column!

Makes your hair stand on end

Other phrases about:

  • Parts of the body

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘Make your hair stand on end’?

Something that makes your hair stand on end is something alarming or frightening.

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘Make your hair stand on end’?

The phrase ‘make your hair stand on end’ is first found in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 1602:

“I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, thy knotted and combined locks to part and each particular hair to stand an end, like quills upon the fretful porpentine.”

Shakespeare conjured up many images in his works; few though have been more vivid than the mental picture of a fretful porcupine.

The allusion of makes your hair stand on end is to the actual sensation of hairs, especially those on the neck, standing upright when the skin contracts due to cold or to fear. This is otherwise known as ‘goose-flesh’ and the condition is, or rather was, known by the entirely splendid word horripilation. This was defined by Thomas Blount in his equally splendidly named book Glossographia, or a dictionary interpreting such hard words as are now used, 1656:

“Horripilation, the standing up of the hair for fear… a sudden quaking, shuddering or shivering.”

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

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