Translations for “pony tail” and pig tail”
November 19, 2008 12:16 PM   Subscribe

What do other cultures call the "pony tail” and "pig tail" hair styles?

My 11 year old daughter and her 6 year old sister have recently had a discussion on hair styles and their names. This led to them musing about what other cultures have called these styles - are they named after the same animals and parts? What do non-English speaking cultures call these styles?
posted by dangerousdan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Chinese queue
posted by BoscosMom at 12:27 PM on November 19, 2008


Bunches is what they're called in the UK and Ireland. There's another Irish term (in English, I mean) for it that I can't recall right now, as well.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:35 PM on November 19, 2008


The Chinese queue is a bit more specific. The front of the head would be shaved, while the back half is made into a braid.

As far as I know, the Chinese call pig tails "braids". At least, that's how I translate. Ponytails are simply called "pony tails", although personally I rarely use it; instead, when talking to Mom, she often refers it as just simply "tying the hair".

Just thinking of what a literal translation of "pig tail" would sound like. Not really polite, I can say ^_^.
posted by curagea at 12:39 PM on November 19, 2008


In danish we have "hestehæle" for pony tail, it translates literally as "horse tail" in english. Don't know the translation for "pig tail" though.
posted by alchemist at 12:49 PM on November 19, 2008


In France we call it queue de cheval "horse tail"
and couettes for the pigtails
posted by Jaloux Saboteur at 12:56 PM on November 19, 2008


In Bulgarian, we call the hairstyle конска опашка, literally "horse tail".

If you go to the Wikipedia page for Ponytail, you will see a few other languages listed on the left:
  • Pferdeschwanz in German
  • Coleta in Spanish
  • Queue de cheval in French
  • Coda di cavallo in Italian
  • Paardenstaart in Dutch
  • ポニーテール in Japanese
  • Poninhäntä in Finnish
  • Hästsvans in Swedish

    According to Google Translate, the Spanish version is the only one that does not literally translate to "horse tail" or "ponytail" but to "pigtail" instead.

  • posted by halogen at 1:04 PM on November 19, 2008


    Just to clarify DarlingBri's point, I would say that in the UK:

    1) Bunches are the same as pig tails, which are normally when all the hair is divided into two tied-off sections. They're normally at the back or sides of the head.

    2) A pony tail is when all the hair is gathered into one.. clump. (This is really hard to describe!) You wouldn't ever say that someone had two pony tails. It's normally at the back of the head, but occasionally on the top or on one side. You also wouldn't ever call it 'bunches' or a 'bunch'.

    This is probably the same where you are, but I thought I'd clarify the difference in case.
    posted by badmoonrising at 1:06 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


    The Wikipedia page on Pigtail has a section on the origin of the name which might be of interest to your daughters.
    posted by halogen at 1:08 PM on November 19, 2008


    Horse-Tail in Argentinean Spanish... we wouldn't use "Coleta", but the diminutive form: "colita" as in a small horse's tail ("colita de caballo").
    posted by Manouk at 1:15 PM on November 19, 2008


    Brazilian Portuguese, São Paulo:

    Ponytail: Rabo de Cavalo — "horse tail"
    Pigtail: Tranças — "braids"
    Bunches: Maria-Chiquinha — a girl's nickname, dunno the reason.
    posted by Tom-B at 1:17 PM on November 19, 2008


    In Spanish "cola de caballo" or as Manouk says "colita de caballo" is literally (little) horse's tail.

    Unfortunately "colita" (little tail) is also children's slang for penis.
    posted by rokusan at 1:37 PM on November 19, 2008


    In Russian 'pony tail' is хвостик [khvóstik], literally 'little tail'; 'pigtail' is косичка [kosíchka] 'little braid/plait.'
    posted by languagehat at 1:42 PM on November 19, 2008


    To clarify, the Japanese given above is just a phonetic pronunciation of pony-tail (the Katakana are read Po-Ni-Te-Ru...which, since there's no L sound, is a pretty good approximation) so I doubt there's a Japanese-origin word for it.
    posted by SputnikSweetheart at 1:43 PM on November 19, 2008


    Another UK/US hair difference is saying plaits or plaited instead of braids or braided.

    So a straight ponytail is a ponytail.
    A braided ponytail is a plait.
    Unbraided pigtails are bunches.
    Braided pigtails are plaits.

    Bonus question...

    The type of braid that starts out small near the front of the head and incorporates extra handfuls of hair from each side as you go along is called a French Plait in Britain and a French Braid in America. (Pic)

    So what do the French call it?
    posted by the latin mouse at 1:56 PM on November 19, 2008


    just to echo badmoonrising in Ireland we definitely do not use bunches. It's just ponytails or pigtails.
    posted by Wilder at 2:03 PM on November 19, 2008


    The type of braid that starts out small near the front of the head and incorporates extra handfuls of hair from each side as you go along is called a French Plait in Britain and a French Braid in America. (Pic)

    So what do the French call it?


    We call it : "une natte".
    posted by Jaloux Saboteur at 2:09 PM on November 19, 2008


    I was recently discussing this with a girlfriend. Where did "pigtail" come from, anyway? Pigs don't have dual tails, and there's nothing necessarily curly about that hair style on humans. I'm voting for replacing the term with "pipi", in honor of Miss Longstocking. "We're going to work in the garden this afternoon; you might want to put your hair in a pipi."
    posted by browse at 2:10 PM on November 19, 2008


    Growing up in India all my friends called them pony tails. Never heard pig tails. Growing up among many palm trees, we called two pony tails, one on each side of the head, coconut trees.
    posted by peacheater at 2:25 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


    "Pig Tails" seems completely self-obvious to me: put a little girl's longish hair into two "bunches" and they will hang and curl slightly, exactly like actual pig tails. My sister wore them all the time.
    posted by Aquaman at 2:43 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Some people have come to refer to pig tails as "twin-tails" instead. More descriptive and less pejorative.
    posted by Class Goat at 2:55 PM on November 19, 2008


    Bunches is what they're called in the UK and Ireland.

    Nah, bunches are different to both a ponytail (one bit of hair on the back of the head) and pigtails (two plaited bits of hair on either side of the head). I suppose you could think of bunches as two side-mounted ponytails or a pair of unplaited pigtails.
    posted by jack_mo at 3:50 PM on November 19, 2008


    Wikipedia suggests that I was being a bit UK-centric with my definitions above, and offers a Japanese term for pigtails, in the UK sense.
    posted by jack_mo at 3:54 PM on November 19, 2008


    I always understood pigtails to be SHORT. I currently wear my hair in two...well I would call them two ponytails. Since they are a foot and a half long. My hair is also thick and extremely straight.

    Sometimes I braid them. Then I call them braids.
    posted by Hildegarde at 4:21 PM on November 19, 2008


    As far as I know, there is no specific term for ponytail or pigtail in Korean. This is corroborated by my English-Korean dictionary, which gives a description of what the hairdo looks like in the case of the ponytail, and provides the literal translation of a pig's tail in the case of the pigtail.

    Instead, people typically take the word 머리 muh-ri 'hair' (sorry, can't figure out how to type IPA on here) and modify it in various ways, i.e.:

    Ponytail: 묶은 머리 mu-kun muh-ri 'tied-up hair'; 묶은 meaning 'tied', from 묶다 'to tie'
    By default, it is understood that any kind of tied-up hair refers to the regular ponytail.

    If you wanted to be more descriptive, you would say the following: 뒤로 묶은 머리 'hair tied to the back' or 한 갈래로 묶은 머리 'hair tied in a single bundle.'

    Pigtail: 양 갈래로 묶은 머리 'hair tied in two bundles'
    Braided pigtail: 양 갈래로 딴 머리 'hair braided in two bundles'; 딴 meaning 'braided', from 땋다 'to braid'

    One final note: quick googling indicates that the ponytail can simply be referred to as 포니테일 po-ni-teh-il -- just the transliteration of the actual English sound. I'm not too sure of how widely spread this usage is... I don't really recall hearing it said this way when I was young.
    posted by tickingclock at 12:26 AM on November 20, 2008


    In Finnish, poninhäntä (pony tail) and saparot (pigtails).
    posted by keijo at 1:53 AM on November 20, 2008


    Italian: Though I've heard coda di cavallo occasionally, I hear & use codino/codini (ponytail/pigtails) more often. Trecce or treccine are braids.
    posted by romakimmy at 2:09 AM on November 20, 2008


    « Older goodbye first friend   |   Help save my wood floor's finish! Newer »
    This thread is closed to new comments.