Revisited Myth # 43: “Flip your wig” is an 18th-century expression referring to a dangerously low bow.

 

 

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Speaking of wigs–and we were speaking of wigs in Myths #40 and #42–that famous phrase, “Don’t flip your wig” doesn’t seem to have been an eighteenth-century expression at all. Supposedly, it referred to bowing so low to one’s superior that one’s wig flipped off, but instead, the phrase seems to be a bit of twentieth-century American slang meaning “to go crazy.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the acknowledged authority on word origin, the first known use of the term occurred in 1952.

3 Responses to Revisited Myth # 43: “Flip your wig” is an 18th-century expression referring to a dangerously low bow.

  1. Susan Smyer says:

    I’m so glad that you are revisiting some of the myths; I love them. It’s such fun to reread them and to see what new stuff you’ve discovered. Your blog is a needed service to all those who work in the history/historic house field. Thanks for keeping it up.

  2. Melle says:

    It means when your head explodes…your wig which requires an intact skull….will flip off…duh.

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