Origin of the word "bob"

Woman who is wearing her hair in a practical short bob
Q: Why is a bob haircut called a bob? Where and when did this haircut get its name?
A: The term "bob" in the context of a haircut, specifically known as a bob haircut, finds its linguistic roots in the early 20th century, a time when a cultural shift was underway, and societal norms were being redefined. This hairstyle gained prominence during the Roaring Twenties, an era marked by significant social changes and a departure from traditional conventions.
I don't think anyone can say with 100% certainty where exactly the term "bob" for the hairstyle comes from. However, there is a theory that suggests the name is based on a term used in the equestrian world. This doesn't sound too far-fetched, as the term "ponytail," a hairstyle where the hair is tied back, undoubtedly has its origins in the equestrian realm.
The name "bob" shares a connection with the equine world, particularly the bobtail horse. In the realm of horses, a bobtail horse is distinguished by its short tail, whether it's a result of genetics or human intervention. Some horse breeds have a naturally short tail, a result of their genetic makeup. However, the term "bobtail" can also refer to a horse whose tail has been intentionally docked or shortened by humans.
This parallel between the term "bobtail" in the equestrian context and the "bob" in the hairstyling domain might be rooted in the visual similarity between the neat, short tail of a bobtailed horse and the short, chic cut of the bob haircut. Both embody a sense of simplicity and practicality, with the bobtail horse's naturally short tail or intentionally docked tail finding a parallel in the short style of the bob haircut. The term "bob" in both contexts encapsulates the idea of shortening.
Bobtail horse
Over the decades, the bob has evolved into various iterations, from the classic bob to contemporary styles like the asymmetrical bob or the angled bob. The name "bob" has persisted, becoming synonymous with a hairstyle that embodies simplicity, sophistication, and a sense of individuality. Much like the bobtail horse, recognized by its distinctive tail, the bob haircut stands out as a style that is leaving a mark on the ever-evolving landscape of fashion and self-expression.
And you might be curious about where you've encountered the term "bobtail" before, don't you? Well, it might ring a bell from the classic Christmas song "Jingle Bells." In the lyrics, it goes, "Bells on bobtails ring," referring to horses with short tails.
See also: History of the bob