What is hair of the dog? Here’s the Answer


A shortening of hair of the dog that bit you, a folk remedy for rabies by placing hair from the dog that bites one into the wound.[1][2] The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates at least to the 16th century.[3]

The principle of “curing like with like” has existed in various cultures historically; see hair of the dog at Wikipedia for details; the use of the phrase “hair of the dog” for a hangover cure dates to antiquity, an early form being found in the Ugaritic text KTU[4] 1.1114 line 29, where the chief god of the pantheon, i/el, takes some for his health. The usage is in turn a borrowing from Akkadian.[5]

What is ‘hair of the dog’?

The clue is in the name… kind of. Fun fact: the phrase hair of the dog comes from the age-old belief that you could cure rabies by drinking a potion containing hair from the dog that bit you. This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Naturally, modern medicine has proven that this isnt the case for curing rabies and over the years, the meaning of the expression has shifted. Now, if you hair of the dog, you cure a hangover by drinking more of what made you feel bad in the first place. Aka, booze.


  • (idiomatic) An alcoholic drink, particularly when taken the morning after to cure a hangover.
    Ill be right back. I just need a little hair of the dog what bit me.
    • 1818, Sir Walter Scott, chapter 12, in Rob Roy:
      But with the morning cool repentance came. I felt, in the keenest manner, the violence and absurdity of my conduct, and was obliged to confess that wine and passion had lowered my intellects. . . . I descended to the breakfast hall, like a criminal to receive sentence. . . . [H]e poured out a large bumper of brandy, exhorting me to swallow “a hair of the dog that had bit me.”
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, chapter 52, in Barnaby Rudge:
      Ha ha! Put a good face upon it, and drink again. Another hair of the dog that bit you, captain!
    coffin dodger, corpse reviver, pick-me-up
  • pelt of the dog (rare, humorous)
  • Hair Of The Dog Origin