See more synonyms for beaver on
noun, plural bea·vers, (especially collectively) bea·ver for 1.
  1. 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.
  2. the fur of this animal.
  3. a flat, round hat made of beaver fur or a similar fabric.
  4. 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.
  5. Informal. a full beard or a man wearing one.
  6. Informal. an exceptionally active or hard-working person.
  7. Slang: Vulgar.
    1. a woman's pubic area.
    2. Offensive.a term used to refer to a woman.
  8. Textiles.
    1. a cotton cloth with a thick nap, used chiefly in the manufacture of work clothes.
    2. (formerly) a heavy, soft, woolen cloth with a thick nap, made to resemble beaver fur.
  9. (initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of Oregon, the Beaver State (used as a nickname).
verb (used without object)
  1. British. to work very hard or industriously at something (usually followed by away).

Origin of beaver

before 1000; Middle English bever, Old English beofor, befor; cognate with German Biber, Lithuanian bebrùs, Latin fiber, Sanskrit babhrús reddish brown, large ichneumon
Related formsbea·ver·like, bea·ver·ish, adjective

Usage note

Beaver as a term for a woman is perceived as insulting because it refers to the female in sexual terms. However, in the 1970s, it was CB radio slang, neutral in connotation and even used by women themselves as a term of self-reference.


noun Armor.
  1. 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).
  2. a piece of plate armor, pivoted at the sides, forming part of a close helmet below the visor or ventail.

Origin of beaver

1400–50; late Middle English bavier, bavour < Middle French baviere (Old French: bib), equivalent to bave spit, dribble + -iere < Latin -āria, feminine of -ārius -ary; alteration of vowel in the initial syllable is unexplained Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for beaver

Contemporary Examples of beaver

Historical Examples of beaver

  • But remember to touch your beaver where the hemlock boughs are low.

  • Think of living so near a beaver or a water-rat with clothes on!


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • These He said should be slaves; and He ordered them to work forever, like the beaver.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • What do you know of your own State if you are ignorant of Beaver.

  • We named the place obviously Beaver Pond, resumed our packs, and pushed on.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for beaver


  1. 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
  2. the fur of this animal
  3. mountain beaver a burrowing rodent, Aplodontia rufa, of W North America: family Aplodontidae
  4. a tall hat of beaver fur or a fabric resembling it, worn, esp by men, during the 19th century
  5. a woollen napped cloth resembling beaver fur, formerly much used for overcoats, etc
  6. a greyish- or yellowish-brown
  7. obsolete a full beard
  8. a bearded man
  9. (modifier) having the colour of beaver or made of beaver fur or some similar materiala beaver lamb coat; a beaver stole
  1. (intr usually foll by away) to work industriously or steadily

Word Origin for beaver

Old English beofor; compare Old Norse biōrr, Old High German bibar, Latin fiber, Sanskrit babhrú red-brown


  1. a movable piece on a medieval helmet used to protect the lower part of the face

Word Origin for beaver

C15: from Old French baviere, from baver to dribble


  1. a member of a Beaver Colony, the youngest group of boys (aged 6–8 years) in the Scout Association
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

Word Origin and History for beaver

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with beaver


see busy as a beaver; eager beaver; work like a beaver.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.