Hair-brained News Writing – hair or hare?

Do you know whether you should write HAIR or HARE when it comes to the expression HAIR/HARE-BRAINED?

A few moments ago I read a tweet from a Radio News service writing about a “hair brain” idea.


I won’t mention the name of the news organisation. As a journalist I understand how mistakes can occur when writing under deadline pressure or pumping out so many tweets.

I use this tweet – purely as an instructive example of word confusion.

Here’s the actual tweet:

Qld Teachers Union labels State Govt’s plan for students to give feedback on their teachers’ performance a “hair-brain” idea.

My understanding is that the correct expression is hare-brained – and the expression should be brain-ED not just brain.

The expression “a hare-brained idea or plan” comes from something being as flighty (all over the place) as a darting hare.

I found something I didn’t know – that “hair-brained” was also commonly used and has an “explanation” – but that hare-brained is the correct expression.

Here’s the link supporting the use of hare-brained 

“While hairbrained continues to be used and confused, it should be avoided in favor of harebrained which has been established as the correct spelling.” SEE:

I note that in the tweet – “hair brain” is in quotation marks. Perhaps the tweet is quoting the  actual words of the Qld Teachers Union.

If that is the case – it’s not the news service but the union that needs a lesson in how to choose the right words or expression.

Then again, maybe I am being pedantic – and I’m just spilling HARES! 😉

word nerd CU


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