Bad hair day


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Bad hair day'?

A ‘bad hair day’ originally had a literal meaning – a day on which one’s hair seems unmanageable. The expression’s meaning has been extended to mean a day when everything seems to go wrong.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Bad hair day'?

‘Bad hair day’ came into prominence in the language following its use in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy (Kristy Swanson) to the one-armed vampire Amilyn (Paul Reubens):
“I’m fine but you’re obviously having a bad hair day.”.

The phrase was already well known by that date but not very widely used. In February 1970: the Michigan newspaper the Lansing State Journal printed:

When your hair gets too expressive it usually results in a condition called “a bad hair day” …the only fitting end to a bad hair day is a trip to the Barbers.

Whether that’s where the term was coined isn’t certain, although it is a strong contender. There are many hearsay reports that it is much earlier, but no hard evidence has emerged to support them.

See other phrases that were coined in the USA.

Trend of bad hair day in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.