Russian is rich in phraseological units. Some of them are so fancy that words can be clear exclusively inventive in every sense to the Russian people. Expression "Hair on end" also belongs to such original set phrase.
"Hair on end" - it is a little from the history of emergence of a phrase
To understand semantic load of this phraseological unit, it is necessary to glance deeply during the Middle Ages era. To be exact in medieval torment which abounds with different devices for intimidation of human spirit and mockeries at his body. Such terrible tool of tortures was so-called "rack". Quite often and in modern time there were cases when the person was tortured quite so. It was suspended highly under a ceiling with the hands tied behind, and to legs hung up cargo which stretched a human body up to a rupture of muscles and joints of a humeral belt.
From it expression "also went to stand on end" that meant to stand at attention. And the phrase "hair on end" is its modern interpretation. This state at which "hair move on the head and bristle". It is promoted by different life situations. As a rule, they are non-standard, and the person often is not be ready to them.
"Hair on end" from the medical point of view
In a brain of the person there is a tonsil which represents a small congestion of gray substance. This almond-shaped body underwent a careful research scientists. But thematic study is conducted to this day as a lot more questions remained to this small human body. That information which managed to scientists to be collected allows to say that the almond-shaped body has a direct bearing on mood of the person, on his feelings and emotions. Besides, it participates in storage of the memorable events which happened to the person quite recently. This part of a brain acts as the center of regulation of human emotions. Exactly here all signals arrive and therefore the almond-shaped body is one of the main feeling centers.
In case of a stressful situation the almond-shaped body identifies the risk and signals in a hypothalamus. In turn the hypothalamus makes active sympathetic nervous system. Active production of hormone of a stress begins. It leads to heartbeat increase, breath violation. Adrenaline which was excreted much by adrenal glands reaches terms. There is a stir of hair (hormones of a stress influence the hair muscles attached to a follicle of each hair on a human body), and as a result there comes the feeling when "hair bristle", without forcing itself to expect long.
"Hair on end" is a reaction to special events
In far-far times when our ancestor was mighty and hairy, his "vegetation" on a body was a peculiar protection against severe weather conditions. But also in a situation when the person was threatened by the danger proceeding from the opponent, the hair as antennas reacted to fear, "being reared" on his body, and the ancient person became by sight grozny and massivny. Such protective mechanism can be observed at cat's breeds. They at the sight of danger begin to curve strongly a back, and their wool "rears". At the expense of it "moustached" become by sight more and more terribly, and, besides, with success frighten off even very large and dangerous opponent.
In the same way also porcupines who instead of hair have needles behave. At the moment of danger the animal straightens them and frightens off the forward. The strong fright or persuasive fear influences also the person in this way that forces his hair "to bristle". And yes quite strong surprise can be the cause of "the reared hair". Thus, it is possible to say that the set phrase is used in informal daily conversation when the strong fright, a panic or the shocking surprise is the reason of such reaction of the person.
Expressions, similar in the meaning of a phrase, "Hair on end"
Such semantic expressions are also in a look besides phraseological turns and usual words and phrases.
- "Blood runs cold in veins";
- "Soul went to heels";
- "Goosebumps creep on a back";
- "Knee tendons began to shake";
- "Heart will jump out of a breast";
- "Hands and legs began to shake";
- "Was frightened very much";
- "Fear takes molehills for mountains";
- "In a craw the breath filched";
- "Twisted a stomach";
- "Went hot";
- "Head hair began to move";
- "In a mouth dried up";
- "In sweat threw";
- "It is alive dead";
- "The jimjams tears up";
- "The sky seemed about a game";
- "Eyes on a povylezla forehead";
- "As struck with a thunder";
- "Was a bombshell";
- "As dumbfounded".
All these expressions, anyway, are connected first of all with a physical condition of the person and are easily explainable from the medical point of view. During the strongest fright in a human body there is a sharp emission of adrenaline in blood. It gives such reaction: and "knee tendons shiver", and heart is ready "to jump out" of a breast, and "goosebumps creep on a back". After such shake-up the powerlessness, apathy, drowsiness, loss of appetite can be observed.
At all and everyone response to a stressful situation miscellaneous. At someone reactions are more shown, and someone is able to constrain himself and to normalize an organism very quickly, but the fact that sensation of fear is available for any person it is an indisputable fact. It is put in all people by the nature. Besides, this feeling is directly connected with physiological functions which protects a human body from serious consequences. If the person says that he is afraid of nothing - it is a lie. Mentally healthy person is programmed on sensation of fear, and it is absolute norm.
Use of a phraseological unit in literature
As well as possible, the state when "The hair stands on end" was described in the immortal Christmas story "Terrible Night" by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. Here the writer used a phraseological unit "Hair on end" by means of which he enhanced the effect which is had because of the terrible fear felt by the main character Ivan Petrovich Panikhidin: "What a pity that the wind gust did not reach my match! Then, perhaps, I would see nothing and my hair would not become on end. I screamed, took a step to a door and, full of horror, despair, amazement, closed eyes".
Throughout all work the fear of the hero only amplifies: "Headlong I from the room ran out and, without arguing, without thinking, and, only feeling inexpressible fear, rushed down a ladder. In a corridor and on a ladder it was dark, my legs were confused in fur coat floors and as I did not fly and did not break to himself a neck – it is surprising. Having been out in the street, I leaned against a wet lamppost and began to calm myself. My heart terribly fought, breath filched".
This expression is often said with specific gestures. The surprised and scared person at such moment touches head skin by a hand whether kind of checking hair on the place, or with desire to smooth them. Telling a phrase "Hair on end", nobody thinks that it sounds practically, but not figuratively. As sometimes hair for fear on skin of hands and legs "are really reared". The human body is so sensitive. It as the thinnest device catches all fluctuations. It is very important to understand not only others, but also himself first of all. If the fear caused aggression, then it is necessary to learn to control itself. Personal reactions to a situation of everyone do society in general either wild, or civilized. And the third is not given.