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Hair stand on End

Indicative of intense mental distress and astonishment. Dr. Andrews, of Beresford chapel, Walworth, who attended Probert under sentence of death, says: “When the executioner put the cords on his wrists, his hair, though long and lanky, of a weak iron-grey, rose gradually and stood perfectly upright, and so remained for some time, and then fell gradually down again.”

“Fear came upon me and trembling, ... [and] the hair of my flesh stood up.” —Job iv. 14, 15.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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