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Hair of the dog

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 08, 2009 at 17:06

In Reply to: Hair of the dog posted by ESC on August 08, 2009 at 14:15:

: : My husband used the expression "hair of the dog, fur of the cur." The first half is commonly used, however I can't find any reference to the second half. Did he make this up?

: It doesn't look like the phrase originated in that form. The expression appeared in John Heywood's Proverbs as "I pray thee let me and my fellow have a haire of the dog that bit us last night." The saying alludes to the even older folk remedy of treating a dog bite by placing the burnt hair of a dog on the wound." "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985). Page 186.

: Does "hair of the dog" work? Taking a drink only prolongs the recovery. "Alcohol in drinks comes in two sorts, ethanol and methanol, which the liver tackles in that order. When it starts on the methanol it begins to produce its dire effects, releasing formic acid into the system. Having another drink puts the liver back into ethanol-processing mode, delaying the methanol effect." This reference lists old cures including fried canaries used by ancient Romans and a paste made of eels and almonds on bread used in the 16th century. A better idea: "Anything that raises the blood sugar levels and adds water." "Wise Words and Country Ways: Traditional Advice and Whether It Works Today" by Ruth Binney (David & Charles, 2004). Page 169-170.

As regards "fur of the cur": while it's possible your husband made it up, it's also possible that someone with whom he hung around during his youth (or at his place of employment) invented or repeated this phrase. It's catchy, but I've never heard it. I suspect that it's not widely known.