Hairpiece, sometimes used for fashion or entertainment, also used to hide baldness. One that only covers a bit of head is called a toupee, there are such things as pubic wigs, which cover the pubic region. Wigs can be made from real or synthetic hair, not sure about the pubic ones...

Beat slang for the mind. See also: wig out.

From around the mid-17th century to the beginning of the 19th century, it was fashionable for men in all walks of life to wear wigs. The shape of a wig was useful for setting apart different professional groups, and came to be associated with either legal, medical, or military professions.

In the English judicial tradition, wigs are worn by the judiciary and the bar in the higher courts ( District and Supreme Courts), though they are not worn by magistrates and lawyers in the lower courts. It has been suggested in some quarters that the continued attachment to the use of wigs in the higher courts is pompous, irrational, and irrelevant within the modern legal profession, but calls to revoke the wigs have been met with strong resistance by the more conservative on the grounds that the traditions of the court, and the respect they invoke, must be upheld. That's exactly what I think when I see the numerous barristers of Sydney who have been evading paying taxes for years....

The bench wig, also referred to as a judicicial tye, evolved from a shorter wig called the peruke, which was popular in the early 1700s. The bench wig differs from a barrister's wig in that it only has one (vertical) curl, positioned just over the tail of the wig. Its size and shape make it more comfortable and practical (at least as much as it can get, I suppose) for court work than the full-bottomed wig. The bench wig is worn by District and Supreme Court judges of New South Wales while they are sitting on the bench.

Wigs are an important part of costuming in theatre. Wigs are frequently necessary to achieve the correct hair style for a particular historical period, for both male and female characters. Contemporary costumes can also be enhanced with the use of a well-dressed wig.

Many theatrical-costume supply houses rent period wigs. These wigs can also be made in the shop using synthetic hair such as horsehair rayon or dynel. Wig making is not an easy task. It is a difficult craft that requires a large amount of patience and a lot of practice. Restyling of contemporary wigs can often produce excellent period wigs.

Long-haired wigs, preferably of real human hair, but synthetic also work, can be bought at local wig shops and styled to achieve most looks required for productions.

Wigs are usually made with an overabundance of hair. For a natural, less “wiggy” look the wig stylist removes about a third of the hair from a commercially made wig. This hair is used to ventilate a piece of netting attached to the front of the wig foundation. Ventilating is a method in which hair is tied to the foundation of a wig and is similar to the technique used to hook rugs. It creates a more realistic hairline.

A wig stylist generally works under the supervision of the costume designer and consults the costume designer’s sketches to determine the designer’s concept for the styling of the hair. Primary source materials, such as paintings, photos, and so on from the period, will also need to be consulted for additional information on the look and style of the hair in the period being used.

Wigs made of human-hair can be coifed with conventional curlers, electric rollers, or curling irons. Wigs made of synthetic materials can be dressed by rolling the hair on a cold curling iron, or cold rollers and gently heating the hair with the warm air from a hair dryer.

Hair pieces, or extensions, also provide another way of creating a period hair style that uses the actor’s natural hair, and hairline, as the basis of the design.

Wig dressing is an exacting craft and should only be attempted under the supervision of someone with experience in the field.

Gillette, J. Michael. Theatrical Design and Production. 4th ed. Mountain View: Mayfield, 1999.

Wig (?), n. [Abbreviation from periwig.]


A covering for the head, consisting of hair interwoven or united by a kind of network, either in imitation of the natural growth, or in abundant and flowing curls, worn to supply a deficiency of natural hair, or for ornament, or according to traditional usage, as a part of an official or professional dress, the latter especially in England by judges and barristers.


An old seal; -- so called by fishermen.

Wig tree. Bot. See Smoke tree, under Smoke.


© Webster 1913.

Wig (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Wigged (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Wigging (?).]

To censure or rebuke; to hold up to reprobation; to scold.



© Webster 1913.

Wigg (?), Wig, n. [Cf. D. wegge a sort of bread, G. weck, orig., a wedge-shaped loaf or cake. See Wedge.]

A kind of raised seedcake.

"Wiggs and ale."



© Webster 1913.

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