tear one's hair


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tear (one's) hair

To be extremely anxious, worried, frustrated, or stressed out about something. We've been tearing our hair trying to figure out what's causing the server outages. The kids have been out of control all morning long—they've got me tearing my hair!
See also: hair, tear

tear one's hair

Also, tear out one's hair. Be greatly upset or distressed, as in I'm tearing my hair over these errors. This expression alludes to literally tearing out one's hair in a frenzy of grief or anger, a usage dating from a.d. 1000. Today it is generally hyperbolic.
See also: hair, tear

tear one's hair, to

To show extreme anger, frustration, or grief. In ancient times it was customary to show grief by literally pulling at one’s hair. The practice was referred to by Homer in the Iliad, with reference to Agamemnon, and appears in other ancient writings. Shakespeare used it in Troilus and Cressida (4.2), “Tear my bright hair, and scratch my praised cheeks,” and Thackeray in The Rose and the Ring (1855), “Tearing her hair, crying and bemoaning herself.” Today we are more apt to use it for anger or vexation, and entirely figuratively.
See also: tear