bad-hair day OR bad hair-day?

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Jan 25 17:18:32 UTC 2000

Interesting, 'cause the pronunciation is always "bad HAIR day" (cf. "light
HOUSE keeping" = "light housekeeping") and never "BAD hair day" (cf. "LIGHT
house keeping" = "lighthouse keeping"). Compare also "bad MAN hunt" ( = "bad
manhunt," i.e., an unsuccessful manhunt) vs. "BAD man hunt" ( = "bad-man
hunt," i.e., a hunt for a bad man).

In a message dated 1/25/2000 7:49:20 AM, ADS-L at HIGHLANDS.COM writes:

<< The more frequent of the two forms I have found is _bad hair day_.   I
have looked at the most recent 100 articles in Nexis.  The majority are
not helpful in determining the possible (bad (hair day) vs. ((bad hair)
day) problem.  Most are _bad hair day_.  About 20% are _bad-hair day_;
two (2) articles had _bad-hair-day_; none had _bad hair-day_.  This
interesting ambiguity is further intensified by the appearance of
_badhair day_ (in 8 of 15 examples) and _bad hairday_ (in 7 of 15
examples).   Needless to say the spell-checker didn't like _badhair_ or

I guess it's not clear, at least from the Nexis evidence.

David K. Barnhart, Editor
The Barnhart Dictionary Companion
barnhart at >>

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