Instances of unmodified hair-day

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Feb 14 23:35:41 UTC 2000

Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU> writes:

'Bad/good hair day' is attested first.  Indeed '[unmodified] hair day' is
rare.  This does not prove, however, that the 'bad-hair' proponents are
correct.  Consider the following early citations:

1990 _Back Stage_ 9 Feb.  A couple of the women discuss whether or not
they're having a good "hair day."

1991 Jane Pauley in _Redbook_ Sept.  I can have a bad 'hair day,' and
people will just say, 'There's Jane being herself.'

1991 _Inside Media_ 20 Nov.  "We were both having a really great hair

There seems to be a strong case, based on the evidence, for the 'hair-day'

Well, at least for the authors of the first two articles parsing the phrase that
way when they heard it. (I'm assuming that Jane Pauley is being interviewed in
the second, and that the punctuation is the writer's.) So there is evidence that
some people parsed it as [Adj [hair day]] in '90 and '91. The third quotation,
of course, is neutral on bracketing.

-- Mark A. Mandel

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