Although popular myth gives Rastafarians credit for inventing the style, it is almost as old as humanity itself. Dreadlocks or similarly matted styles have been worn from Africa all the way to India, Australia, and even Papua New Guinea.
Indians call them "jata", and they are generally worn by adherents of Shiva.
Some Austro Aboriginies call them "goonut" or "goonat". It was a popular style around the area now known as Botany Bay in pre colonial times.
The term "dreadlocks" being used for this style, however, did originate with the Rastafarian movement. To them it symbolizes many things including the rejection of conventional western mainstream beauty standards, and the dread some may feel when confronted with the true natural self.
There is some debate as to whether matted locks that are "well manicured" should be called dreadlocks, since they are not natty and often require consistent maintenance and a higher degree of perceived vanity.
You shouldn't pop your dreadlockss when they're dry.
Of the vulture, grow your dreadlocks
Don't be afraid of the wolfpack
Rastaman live up, Bingyman don't give up
-Bob Marley, "Rastaman Live Up"
also referred to as simply "dread"
dreadhead: someone with dreads
"dude check out that guys fat dreads"
"did you see his heady dreads?"
The name "Dreadlocks" originated on European slave-ships during the middle passage.
The white crews would bring the enslaved Africans up on deck to wash them off. They saw that the thick Hair of the Africans, full of vomit, blood, and shit, had matted into "dreadful locks".
It is therefore offensive and incorrect to refer to the dolltails worn by ignorant white children as Dreadlocks.
"I think they're very useful as a visual indicator of your ignorance. I will now avoid you forever."
They can develop under certain circumstances even if the hair for a longer time period is not combed, cut or shaved is that entanglement is, however, usually brought about by artificial means.
Dreadlocks can occur in different shapes, thicknesses and lengths. There are also completely man-made dreadlocks of wool, as the so-called "Silky dreads" are known.
Some Dreadlock-makers (known as Dread-Heads decorate) their hair with various additional jewelry such as beads made of wood, metal or polymer clay or other materials.
Dreadlocks are in Europe and the U.S. usually worn as a fashionable hairstyle. In some cultures, such as the Rastafari, but they can also have religious or spiritual backgrounds.
The terms dreadlocks, Rastafarians or Rastas are often used synonymously with dreadlocks, but can also other hairstyles, such as braided or call Braids Cornrows. The term "part" Rasta "refers here to followers of the Rastafarian culture. Less frequently the term is used Afrolocken since it can easily be confused with the Afro.
In the English language, especially among the Rastafari, the expression of Natty Dreadlocks (is less commonly Knotty dreadlocks) common.