Hair styled in pig tails
Q: How did pigtails get their name?
A: Pigtails, that hairstyle in which the hair of the head is parted into two even halves usually on the vertical axis and collected into a “tail” on each side, get their name where one might expect, although the term’s use to refer to a hair style is not direct. Allow me to explain:
The term “pigtail” has been dated in its use as far back as the early 1600s to describe a twist of chewing tobacco. One of the steps in preparing the tobacco was to twist several leaves together into a compact bunch that was then cured. The bunch was referred to as a “pigtail” because of its resemblence to the curly tail of the animal from which the name comes.
The term became used in referrence to a way of styling the hair in the later 1600s (and on through the 1800s) and was applied to any braided (or plaited) hairstyle. Pigtails have been worn by many different people throughout history, and to this day British barristers wear wigs with pigtails to signify their position.
Modern pigtail hairstyles are generally worn by young girls and women who want to present an adolescent image.
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See also: Advice for hairstyles