Here’s a completely random question to break the silence

Okay, so people, I'm wondering:

What do you call this hairstyle:


As opposed to this hairstyle:


See, I grew up calling the first style ponytails, and the second style pigtails. But I get the impression that many people call the first one pigtails? (So I guess Dorothy would just be wearing braids?)

Also, word to the wise: google "ponytail," and you get all kinds of elegant images (catwalks, starlets, etc.); google "braids" and you also get pretty stylish images; but google "pigtails" and it's boobs and pouts all the way. Eek. What is up with THAT?



25 thoughts on “Here’s a completely random question to break the silence

  1. Grew up calling the first style pony tails because they were low, if they were high they would have been pigtails. The second style, we just called braids.

  2. I like Cathy’s explanation of the high/low difference as that makes sense with the animal metaphor. But I grew calling the top pigtails and the bottom braids. A ponytail is singular; you can’t have two.

  3. We called the first ponytails and the second pigtails. A pigtail might also be called a ‘pleat’ (scots) or ‘plait’, but I think braid is American (unless referring to trim on certain materials).

  4. Same as you–top is ponytails, bottom is pigtails—but my mom is from Boston (though I don’t remember dissent on this in California). And of course you can have two ponytails.
    High/low irrelevant in my world.

  5. We call the top one ‘bunches’ – a pony-tail is a singular one of those and can be high or low.
    The lower style is plaits, braids or pigtails.

  6. I’d call the first ponytails and the second braids. To me, pony v. pig is a matter of size. Pigtails are tiny, like a pig’s tail. Ponytails are more substantial.

  7. I’m from New England: Both are pigtails, because there are two (no idea how that etymology works, pigs only have one tail). A ponytail is a single gathering of hair. As Notorious PhD said, you can modify the name of the style with “braids”- pigtail braids on Dorothy, a ponytail braid for a single braid if it’s pulled into a ponytail and fastened first.

  8. First is pigtails, the second is pigtails or braids or pigtail braids. Ponytail is for only one of the first, usually centred and near the nape of the neck. (You can have it elsewhere, making it a high ponytail or a side ponytail, but those are clearly described as being different from the norm, which is not higher than your ears.)

  9. Pigtails–1, braids–2, (Actually I think mom was specific enough to say “french braids” when she did my hair) and ponytail was always singluar, regardless of placement.

  10. I agree with several previous folks that the first is pigtails, the second braids. In the usage I grew up with, pigtails are not braided, and a ponytail is always singular.

  11. Like many others, a ponytail is singular, pigtails come in multiples. And braids are braids no matter how many. You could also have a braided ponytail or braided pigtails.

  12. Oh, yes, those are actually french braids. They are a completely distinct braid from normal braids — if you braided your hair, it would be surprising to see french braids.

  13. I think I call them both pigtails, but now I’m totally bugging out because I’m not totally sure. This has sent me into a complete tail(hah)spin.

  14. We always called the top ones ponytails and the bottom ones pigtails.
    In the Happy Hollister books, a series I grew up with, seven-year-old Holly had pigtails and in the pictures in the book, you can clearly see that they are braided.

  15. I grew up out west, and I grew up with your locutions (actually, we used the term “braids” more often than “pigtails,” and I agree that french braids are different, but two braids on opposite sides of the head = pig tails).
    My understanding is that bushy = ponytail, tight & thin = pigtail.

  16. First picture shows pig tails. Second are braids. A pony tail is a single collection of hair, either on top, at the back or the side of one’s head.

  17. I grew up on the west coast and my definition is exactly the same as jillheather’s! So interesting…never realized other people described them differently.

  18. I’m from Oregon, the land of “buckets” and “pop”: the top is “pigtails,” the bottom is “pigtail braids.” It wasn’t until I read your post and the comments that it even occurred to me to question the nomenclature.

  19. In New York– at least when I was growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s– the top one was called ponytails and the bottom braids.

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