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[beerd] /bɪərd/
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.
  1. the sloping part of a type that connects the face with the shoulder of the body.
  2. 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.
  3. the cross stroke on the stem of a capital G.
verb (used with object)
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.
Origin of beard
before 900; Middle English berd, Old English beard; cognate with German Bart, Dutch baard, Late Latin Langobardi Long-beards, name of the Lombards, Crimean Gothic bars, Latin barba (> Welsh barf), Lithuanian barzdà, OCS brada, Russian borodá; European Indo-European *bHaer-dhā, perhaps akin to barley1
Related forms
beardlike, adjective
unbeard, verb (used with object)
7. confront, brave, dare, face, challenge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bearding
Historical Examples
  • It was the most squalid of Gretnas, bearding the decency and common-sense of a whole metropolis.

    The Town Leigh Hunt
  • But, my Cid, better to think of bearding the lion than of celebrating the hunting.

    God Wills It! William Stearns Davis
  • He had no notion of bearding any of the Confederate lionesses in their dens.

    Gabriel Tolliver Joel Chandler Harris
  • But an hour or two, as it seemed, and he had been bearding Mr. Chattaway at the mine.

    Trevlyn Hold Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Even if I did, I should be prepared to pay the penalty of bearding an editor in his den.'

  • She had more to say, and yet hesitated about bearding the lion.

    The Man From Brodney's

    George Barr McCutcheon
  • Could he not best serve the administration by bearding disunionism in its den?

    Stephen A. Douglas Allen Johnson
  • Ask her Aunt Priscilla—and I certainly wasn't going to run the risk—like bearding a tigress in her den with impertinent questions!

    A Likely Story William De Morgan
  • It would be like bearding a pack of hungry wolves; in fact, flinging away his life.

    The Vee-Boers Mayne Reid
  • He had done his part, he asserted, by warning them of their danger; let somebody else have the privilege of bearding Calamity.

    Captain Calamity

    Rolf Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for bearding


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
Derived Forms
bearded, adjective
Word Origin
Old English beard; related to Old Norse barth, Old High German bart, Latin barba
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bearding



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.



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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bearding in Science
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for bearding



  1. An up-to-the-minute, alert person; hipster (1950s+ Beat & cool talk)
  2. 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)
  3. 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+)
  4. The pubic hair; beaver, bush (late 1600s+)


: She says Rollins was supposed to beard for him

Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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