1. A head of real or synthetic hair worn on the head to disguise baldness, for cultural or religious reasons, for fashion, or by actors to help them better resemble the character they are portraying.
  2. (dated, among fishermen) An old seal.

“In Michel de Certeau’s seminal book The Practice of Everyday Life from 1984, he pinpoints behavioral strategies of contemporary man as a way to make us, the reader and ultimately the subject, become more self-reflexive about our procedures for social engagement, leisure and personal economy. One key concept is la perruque or “the wig,” a French expression that references the way people figuratively wear an outfit or disguise to make viewers believe that what they are seeing is what they think it is. Forms of posturing or “imposturing” create a slippage between real, projected and now televised selves in an attempt to maintain expectations from daily behaviours for the experience of the viewer.”

(Aaron Moulton, curator of “Videodrome” exhibition at AUTOCENTER, 04-18.06.2010)

From Proto-Germanic *wīgą, from Proto-Indo-European *weyk-.


wīġ n

war, battle

Oft ic wig seo, frecne feohtan: often I see war, brave men fighting. (AS Riddles)

No Whig

There is no h in wig, or age in Whig, as “whiggamore” or “cattle driver”. In Great Britain the Whig Party slowly evolved during the 18th century; its “tendency” supported the great aristocratic families, generally the continued disenfranchisement of Catholics and toleration of nonconformist Protestants (the dissenters, such as Presbyterians), while Tories favoured the relative smallholders (whether narrowly) or minor gentry with “High Tories” preferring high churchelements or even the exiled Stuarts’ claim to the throne (Jacobitism) and virtually all maintained the legitimacy of a strongly established Church of England. Later, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial reformists and mercantile class, while the Tories drew support from farmers, landowners, imperial military spending and, relatedly, royalists.

However, by the first half of the 19th century the Whig programme came to encompass the supremacy of Parliament and free trade and acceleration of the completion of Catholic equal rights, the abolition of slavery and expansion of the franchise (suffrage). The 19th century Whig support for Catholic emancipation was a complete reversal of the party’s historic sharply anti-Catholic position in the late 17th century.

A wig is a wig is a wig.