hair-rais·​ing ˈher-ˌrā-ziŋ How to pronounce hair-raising (audio)
: causing terror, excitement, or astonishment
hair-raising stories
hair-raisingly adverb

Examples of hair-raising in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The drive had been hair-raising (though nothing compared to a later jaunt on Hiva Oa, where Gauguin is buried, during which our guide Heimata played a ukulele while skirting the edge of a cliff and steering with his knee). Peter Heller, Condé Nast Traveler, 2 Jan. 2024 With Arm China accounting for a quarter of Arm’s revenue, that’s a little hair-raising, particularly as the Biden administration continues to use AI chips as a cudgel in the China relationship. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, 25 Aug. 2023 At the other end of the Bible, Wright, having so neatly delineated the wars between the north, which was centered on Samaria, and the south, which was centered on Jerusalem, makes our encounter with the southern fable of the Good Samaritan suddenly hair-raising. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 Our most humane composer wrote both the world’s most elegant music and its most hair-raising. Lloyd Schwartz, WSJ, 23 June 2023 Coordination slipped forgivably in a couple of frenzied spots, but in general, the singing was impressively secure and nimble, and sometimes hair-raising. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 12 May 2023 Some of the inquiries were hair-raising. Tristan Balagtas, Peoplemag, 14 Apr. 2023 And the escape attempts of those who try to make it off the island are so brutal, hair-raising and implausible, the reader is left wondering just what makes some human beings so determined to survive. Mary Ann Gwinn, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2023 Hair raising: Butler came out at the start with a hairstyle that resembled Mickey Mouse ears and then moved on later to something a big more hair-raising. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 13 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hair-raising.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hair-raising was in 1900

Dictionary Entries Near hair-raising

Cite this Entry

“Hair-raising.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: very frightening or exciting
a hair-raising story

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