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a large, amphibious rodent of the genus Castor, having sharp incisors, webbed hind feet, and a flattened tail, noted for its ability to dam streams with trees, branches, etc.
the fur of this animal.
a flat, round hat made of beaver fur or a similar fabric.
a tall, cylindrical hat for men, formerly made of beaver and now of a fabric simulating this fur.
Compare opera hat, silk hat, top hat.
Informal. a full beard or a man wearing one.
Informal. an exceptionally active or hard-working person.
Slang: Vulgar.

a woman’s pubic area.
Offensive. a term used to refer to a woman.


a cotton cloth with a thick nap, used chiefly in the manufacture of work clothes.
(formerly) a heavy, soft, woolen cloth with a thick nap, made to resemble beaver fur.

(initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of Oregon, the Beaver State (used as a nickname).
British. to work very hard or industriously at something (usually followed by away).
a piece of plate armor for covering the lower part of the face and throat, worn especially with an open helmet, as a sallet or basinet.
Compare buffe, wrapper (def 7).
a piece of plate armor, pivoted at the sides, forming part of a close helmet below the visor or ventail.
Contemporary Examples

Sure, Mitt Romney seems ripe for parody, what with his Leave It to beaver vibe and eye-popping wealth.
Is Mitt Romney Beyond Satire? Comedy Writers Underwhelmed by Candidate Michelle Cottle August 9, 2012

Commenting on his vanilla—some might even say “hokey”—demeanor, my wife said he reminded her of the father on Leave It to beaver.
Face It, Republicans, ‘Bazooka Joe’ Biden Won the VP Debate Matt Latimer October 11, 2012

The 106,572 seats at beaver Stadium are just the start of it.
Penn State’s Economic Fallout: Will the Sandusky Scandal Sink a Whole City? Matthew Zeitlin July 16, 2012

The Daily Beast tracked Killen down to talk to him about The beaver and what could have been.
Mel’s Multimillion-Dollar Victim Kara Cutruzzula July 13, 2010

But the rants, of course, kept coming, making The beaver a marketing nightmare.
Mel’s Multimillion-Dollar Victim Kara Cutruzzula July 13, 2010

Historical Examples

Our beaver hunt was spoilt for that night, so we moved back on the trail and camped.
Canadian Wilds Martin Hunter

But remember to touch your beaver where the hemlock boughs are low.
Punchinello, Vol. 1. No. 20, August 13, 1870 Various

He directed his course across the low ground to the plain on the right, leaving the beaver’s-head about two miles to the left.
History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, Vol. I. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

The hostages all run away, and not a beaver skin was ever paid.
King Philip John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

Then he invited the chiefs of the animal tribes to contribute their knowledge to the beaver Medicine, which many of them did.
The Myths of the North American Indians Lewis Spence

a large amphibious rodent, Castor fiber, of Europe, Asia, and North America: family Castoridae. It has soft brown fur, a broad flat hairless tail, and webbed hind feet, and constructs complex dams and houses (lodges) in rivers
the fur of this animal
mountain beaver, a burrowing rodent, Aplodontia rufa, of W North America: family Aplodontidae
a tall hat of beaver fur or a fabric resembling it, worn, esp by men, during the 19th century
a woollen napped cloth resembling beaver fur, formerly much used for overcoats, etc
a greyish- or yellowish-brown
(obsolete) a full beard
a bearded man
(modifier) having the colour of beaver or made of beaver fur or some similar material: a beaver lamb coat, a beaver stole
(intransitive) usually foll by away. to work industriously or steadily
a movable piece on a medieval helmet used to protect the lower part of the face
a member of a Beaver Colony, the youngest group of boys (aged 6–8 years) in the Scout Association

Old English beofor, befer (earlier bebr), from Proto-Germanic *bebruz (cf. Old Saxon bibar, Old Norse bjorr, Middle Dutch and Dutch bever, Low German bever, Old High German bibar, German Biber), from PIE *bhebhrus, reduplication of root *bher- (3) “brown, bright” (cf. Lithuanian bebrus, Czech bobr, Welsh befer; see bear (n.) for the likely reason for this). Gynecological sense (“female genitals, especially with a display of pubic hair”) is 1927 British slang, transferred from earlier meaning “a bearded man” (1910), from the appearance of split beaver pelts.


A bearded man (1900s+ British)
A full beard (1900s+ British)
The female genitals, esp with a display of pubic hair •First attested when the cry Beaver!, usually uttered at the sight of a bearded man, was uttered at the sight of a woman’s pubic hair, seen through a keyhole (1920s+ British)
Pornography: The editor lovingly runs his beaver one column over from his furious tirade (1960s+)
(also beaver movie or beaver flick) A pornographic film; skin flick (1960s+)
A woman (1970s+ Citizens band)
A person who works hard and diligently (mid-1800s+)

Related Terms

split beaver

busy as a beaver
eager beaver
work like a beaver


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