General English

  • noun the hair growing on a man’s chin and cheeks


  • The gills of an oyster or the fibrous threads by which mussels attach themselves to rocks


  • noun the bevel and shoulder, the space from the edge of the face of a metal character to the edge of the body of the type
  • noun a dirty mark on a typeset character


  • noun a male escort posing as a boyfriend, lover, husband, etc. The term (heard from the mid-1970s in showbiz and ‘society’ circles) may refer to a lesbian’s ‘official’ partner, with whom she is seen in public

Origin & History of “beard”

Old English beard came from west Germanic *bartha, which was also the source of German bart and Dutch baard. A close relative of this was Latin barba ‘beard’, which gave English barb (14th c.) (via Old French barbe), barber (13th c.) (ultimately from medieval Latin barbātor, originally a ‘beard-trimmer’), and barbel (14th c.), a fish with sensitive whisker-like projections round its mouth (from late Latin barbellus, a diminutive form of barbus ‘barbel’, which was derived from barba).