the growth of hair on the face of an adult man, often including a mustache.
Zoology. a tuft, growth, or part resembling or suggesting a human beard, as the tuft of long hairs on the lower jaw of a goat or the cluster of hairlike feathers at the base of the bill in certain birds.
Botany. a tuft or growth of awns or the like, as on wheat or barley.
a barb or catch on an arrow, fishhook, knitting needle, crochet needle, etc.
Also called bevel neck. Printing.

the sloping part of a type that connects the face with the shoulder of the body.
British. the space on a type between the bottom of the face of an x-high character and the edge of the body, comprising both beard and shoulder.
the cross stroke on the stem of a capital G.

to seize, pluck, or pull the beard of:
The hoodlums bearded the old man.
to oppose boldly; defy:
It took courage for the mayor to beard the pressure groups.
to supply with a beard.
Charles Austin, 1874–1948, and his wife Mary, 1876–1958, U.S. historians.
Daniel Carter, 1850–1941, U.S. artist and naturalist: organized the Boy Scouts of America in 1910.
James Andrew, 1903–85, U.S. cooking teacher and food writer.
Contemporary Examples

But only one, so far, has spent his transition growing a beard.
Why Barack Should Grow a Beard Jamie Malanowski December 3, 2008

His first day back at the Lampoon, he showed a copy of it to beard.
Doug Kenney: The Odd Comic Genius Behind ‘Animal House’ and National Lampoon Robert Sam Anson February 28, 2014

“It seems that the different standard is (based on) the length of the beard and outwardly display of piety,” Hamdani said.
Disco Mullah Blasphemy Row Highlights Pakistan’s Hypocrisy Shaheen Pasha December 20, 2014

The prince is expected to shave his beard soon to avoid annoying granny.
Prince Harry Ordered to Shave His Polar Beard Tom Sykes January 5, 2014

But there just might be a good reason for Obama to grow a beard: foreign policy.
Why Barack Should Grow a Beard Jamie Malanowski December 3, 2008

Historical Examples

When him go he see a big he-goat, him beard was a yard long.
Jamaican Song and Story Walter Jekyll

I would not let the smallest child stroke his father’s beard roughly.
Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald

I crept to him when he slept—I was a small boy then—and I trimmed the beard down to a point.
The Garden of Eden Max Brand

Look you, Sir; a beard is something in itself; a beard is half the doctor.
The Imaginary Invalid Molire

Here he squirted his thin tobacco spittle “out owre his beard,” but added nothing further.
The Black Baronet; or, The Chronicles Of Ballytrain William Carleton

the hair growing on the lower parts of a man’s face
any similar growth in animals
a tuft of long hairs in plants such as barley and wheat; awn
the gills of an oyster
a barb, as on an arrow or fish-hook
(slang) a woman who accompanies a homosexual man to give the impression that he is heterosexual
(printing) the part of a piece of type that connects the face with the shoulder
verb (transitive)
to oppose boldly or impertinently
to pull or grasp the beard of

Old English beard “beard,” from West Germanic *barthaz (cf. Old Frisian berd, Middle Dutch baert, Old High German bart, German bart), seemingly from PIE *bhardh-a- “beard” (cf. Old Church Slavonic brada, Lithuanian barzda, and perhaps Latin barba “beard”).

The Greek and Roman Churches have long disputed about the beard. While the Romanists have at different times practised shaving, the Greeks, on the contrary, have strenuously defended the cause of long beards. Leo III. (795 AD) was the first shaved Pope. Pope Gregory IV., after the lapse of only 30 years, fulminated a Bull against bearded priests. In the 12th century the prescription of the beard was extended to the laity. Pope Honorius III. to disguise his disfigured lip, allowed his beard to grow. Henry I. of England was so much moved by a sermon directed against his beard that he resigned it to the barber. Frederick Barbarossa is said to have been equally tractable. [Tom Robinson, M.D., “Beards,” “St. James’s Magazine,” 1881]

Pubic hair sense is from 1600s (but cf. neþir berd “pubic hair,” late 14c.); in the 1811 “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,” the phrase beard-splitter is defined as, “A man much given to wenching” (see beaver).


c.1300, “to grow or have a beard,” from beard (n.). The sense of “confront boldly and directly” is from Middle English phrases such as rennen in berd “oppose openly” (c.1200), reproven in the berd “to rebuke directly and personally” (c.1400), on the same notion as modern slang get in (someone’s) face. Related: Bearded; bearding.
A tuft or group of hairs or bristles on certain plants, such as barley and wheat. The individual strands of a beard are attached to a sepal or petal.


An up-to-the-minute, alert person; hipster (1950s+ Beat & cool talk)
A person used as an agent to conceal the principal’s identity: Use him as a beard, is what Donny thought he’d do/ He’s the beard. That’s what they call the other man who pretends to be the lover (1980s+ Gambling)
A bearded man, esp someone of apparent dignity and authority: I can’t believe the sainted beards would bang me with a manufactured case (1700s+)
The pubic hair; beaver, bush (late 1600s+)


: She says Rollins was supposed to beard for him

Related Terms


The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews (Lev. 19:27; 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel’s (5:1-4) description of the “razor” i.e., the agents of an angry providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews. It was a part of a Jew’s daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil and perfume (Ps. 133:2). Beards were trimmed with the most fastidious care (2 Sam. 19:24), and their neglet was an indication of deep sorrow (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 41:5). The custom was to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isa. 50:6; Jer. 48:37; Ezra 9:3). The beards of David’s ambassadors were cut off by hanun (2 Sam. 10:4) as a mark of indignity. On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Gen. 41:14).


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