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Misunderstandings, colloquialisms, wrong words and false friends: 4


I like your new hair.


This was said to me on more than one occasion when I decided to visit the hairdresser to sort out my hair. It was just getting a little long and not very easy to manage.


I went, in fact, for a haircut.


So if you are a student who sees me after my visit to the hairdressing salon, (nice, formal term to mean a hairdresser), and you like what you see, then you should say I like your new haircut. In fact, what comes into my mind about the above example is that, perhaps, you could say that I have new hair if I had just bought a wig (not my real hair) and put it on.


But if I was somebody else - a woman, probably - who has long hair that I would like to see changed but not necessarily have too much hair cut off, changing your hair from being straight to curly, or even to create something different with your hair, then you might say I like your new hairstyle.


To finish off this entry and to perhaps even provide a good reason as to why this entry is in the misunderstandings section, what is the difference between a hairdresser and a barber?


A hairdresser is a person who cuts, washes, and arranges people's hair. They may even be called a hairstylist if that task includes arranging the hair into a particular style without necessarily cutting the hair. They work in a hairdressers, hairstylists, or even a hair salon.

barber is a person - the term is usually associated with the man - whose job is to cut men's hair and sometimes even shave them. This does not usually include styling or colouring hair. These people work in a barbers or - a term that has now become almost outdated - a barbershop, so-called because it would not only provide the service of cutting hair but also sell other personal hygiene products. This made popular the euphemism (a polite word used to replace something else that might be considered offensive or unpleasant) 'something for the weekend, sir?' meaning 'Would you like any condoms?'


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