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An NFL player with dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks are a particular hairstyle that is achieved naturally by allowing the hair to mat together as it grows. Hair will tangle together as it grows if it is not combed, brushed, or cut. Eventually, hair will form into twisted, matted ropes known as dreadlocks. Dreadlocks have been used in recent history by the Rastafarians of Jamaica, but they are believed to have also been worn in Biblical times. Ancient beliefs developed in some areas that cutting the of hair was unholy (See Samson). The actual name “dreadlocks” is thought to have come from either the belief that the ancient holy men who prominently wore dreadlocks were to be feared or dreaded. Dreadlocks have made their way into popular mainstream culture largely due to legendary reggae singer Bob Marley. Though many people consider dreadlocks a natural style, defining an individual rather than conforming to a fashion statement, others consider the style to be a rebellious statement. Some people do, in fact, grow dreadlocks for political, cultural, or religious beliefs, but mostly it's a matter of individual expression. While some individuals who happen to have dreadlocks may have poor personal hygiene, dirtiness is a negative and false connotation associated with dreadlocks because people mistakenly think they're grown from unwashed hair.

Certain dog breeds, such as the Komondor and the Puli, naturally grow dreadlocked coats.

Dreadlocks are often associated with with certain ethnic groups, mainly the African American, Caribbean (including both Afro and Latino-Caribbean), Mediterranean, Eastern European, Latino, Jewish, and Middle Eastern communities.