make one's hair stand on end

make (one's) hair stand on end

To scare or horrify someone. The screams coming from the old, dark house made my hair stand on end. When we go camping, every little noise outside my tent makes my hair stand on end. It could be a bear, after all!
See also: end, hair, make, on, stand

make one's hair stand on end

Also, make one's hair curl. Terrify one, as in The very thought of an earthquake makes my hair stand on end, or Diving off a high board is enough to make my hair curl. The first term, first recorded in 1534, alludes to goose pimples prompted by fear, which cause the hairs around them to stand up. The variant dates from the mid-1900s.
See also: end, hair, make, on, stand

make one's hair stand on end, to

To terrify. The Book of Job (4:14–15) states, “Fear came upon me . . . and the hair of my flesh stood up.” The allusion here is to the goose pimples aroused by fear (or cold), the raised bumps on the skin that cause the hairs around them to stand up. Centuries later this gave rise to the adjective hair-raising, a synonym for terrifying.
See also: hair, make, on, stand