Dear indigenous Detective: I’ve always wondered about the word “cowlick” because that the swirl the hair. Why “cowlick” rather of some various other animal? go it have a name in various other languages? room they equally evocative? I have a an excellent mental photo of child babies being presented come cows for an inaugural hair combing — what perform non-English speaking babies get? — Lisa Wright.

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That’s an exciting question, yet your last sentence puzzled me a bit. Aren’t many newborn babies nearly devoid the hair? and I’m not certain there’s any type of such thing as a English-speaking baby exterior of those awful “Look Who’s Talking” movies and also the even an ext obnoxious E-Trade commercials. But I’m called I frequently take points too literally.

Onward. A “cowlick” is a lock or tuft the hair ~ above a person’s head the doesn’t behave choose the remainder of the hair, refusing come lie flat and also sometimes even growing in the contrary direction indigenous the rest of the hair. Y’know, having actually typed the definition, I’m currently wondering exactly how long it’s walk to it is in before huge Pharma decides the a “cowlick” is a symptom of Oppositional Follicle Disorder and starts marketing a drug to cure it. Dagnabbit, as soon as I to be a kid, we’d just slap some 10W-30 on it and be good for a month.

The first appearance the “cowlick” in print uncovered so much was method back in 1598 (“The lockes or plaine feakes of haire called cow-lickes, room made transforming vpwards”). (A “feak” is a dangling lock the hair). The cowlick is so-called because the disruptive lock is stated to look as if it had been produced by a lick from a passing cow. It’s likewise commonly referred to as a “calf-lick,” however in that situation it might be a referral to the impacts on a calf’s cloak of grooming by Momma Cow. I suppose pets other than cows can lick one’s head and also create a, say, “doglick” (yuck) or “tigerlick” (uh-oh). However cows are thought about benevolent and also safe as large animals go, for this reason cows the was.

According to the hair websites I went to in mine rigorous research, many cowlicks space a product of problem in the “whorl,” a sort of website traffic circle on top of one’s head wherein the hair meets and also decides how to grow. In some human being the whorl runs clockwise, in rather counter-clockwise, and also still others have actually two whorls which operation in the opposite directions, developing ginormous cowlicks and ruining your lives. Incidentally, it is really important to part your hair top top the appropriate side so as not to create problem atop her head. I have constantly parted mine hair ~ above the right, for instance, although many men component theirs on the left, and over the years countless men have actually told me I’m doing the wrong. But I’ve never had actually a cowlick problem and most the those guys don’t have any kind of hair left at all, so i guess i win.

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Apparently the French term because that “cowlick” is “mèche sur le front,” meaning literally “wick in the front,” despite one source I uncovered says “un épi” (“an ear the corn”) is additionally used. In German, it’s “ein Werbel” (“vortex” or “whirl” ), in Spanish, “chavito,” “mechon” (“tuft”) or “remolino” (“swirl”). In Danish, it’s “hvirvel i håret,” precise “whirl in the hair,” in Afrikaans, “kuif” (“crest”), and in polishing “kosmyk,” definition “strand.” complete disclosure: numerous of these came from dictionaries and translation sites because that languages in which i am not fluent, for this reason there’s a great chance the I’ve missed some colorful colloquial state every little as weird together our “cowlick.” but I didn’t find any kind of farm animals messing up folks’ hair in other languages.