Example of a full, untrimmed beard and moustache.
The first Sikh Officer in the US Army, Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan

A beard is the collection of hair that grows on the chin, cheeks and neck of human beings. Usually, only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. However, women with hirsutism may develop a beard. When differentiating between upper and lower facial hair, a beard specifically includes the moustache, which refers to hair above the upper lip and around it.

Over the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom, sexual virility, masculinity, or a higher status; although beards may also be perceived to be associated with a lack of general cleanliness and a loss of refinement.



The beard develops during puberty. Beard growth is linked to stimulation of hair follicles in the area by dihydrotestosterone, which continues to affect beard growth after puberty. Hair follicles from different areas vary in what hormones they are stimulated or inhibited by; dihydrotestostorone also promotes balding. Dihydrotestosterone is produced from testosterone, the levels of which vary with season; thus beards grow faster in summer.

Difficulties in measuring beard growth have led to controversies concerning the effects of hormonal activity on short term pogonotrophy. For example, a physicist had to spend periods of several weeks on a remote island in comparative isolation. He noticed that his beard growth diminished, but the day before he was due to leave the island it increased again, to reach unusually high rates during the first day or two on the mainland. He studied the effect and concluded that the stimulus for increased beard growth was related to the resumption of sexual activity.[1] However, at that time professional pogonologists reacted vigorously and almost dismissively.[2]

How fast the beard grows is also genetic.[3]


Biologists characterize beards as secondary sexual characteristics because they are unique to one gender, yet do not play a direct role in reproduction. Charles Darwin first noted a possible evolutionary explanation of beards in his work The Descent of Man, which hypothesized that the process of sexual selection may have led to beards.[4] Modern biologists have reaffirmed the role of sexual selection in the evolution of beards, concluding that there is evidence that a preponderance of females in the past found mates with beards more attractive than mates without beards.[5]

Evolutionary psychology explanations for the existence of beards include signaling sexual maturity and signaling dominance by increasing perceived size of jaws, and clean-shaved faces are rated less dominant than bearded.[6] Some scholars assert that it is not yet established whether the sexual selection leading to beards is rooted in attractiveness (inter-sexual selection) or dominance (intra-sexual selection).[7] A beard can be explained as an indicator of a male's overall condition.[8] Amount of facial hairiness appears to influence male attractiveness.[9] Presence of a beard makes the owner vulnerable in fights, which is costly, so biologists have speculated that there must be other evolutionary benefits that outweigh that drawback.[10] Excess testosterone evidenced by the beard may indicate mild immunosuppression, which may support spermatogenesis.[11]


Ancient and classical world

Moche ceramic vessels representing bearded men. Larco Museum Collection. Lima, Peru.

The highest ranking Ancient Egyptians grew hair on their chins which was often dyed or hennaed (reddish brown) and sometimes plaited with interwoven gold thread. A metal false beard, or postiche, which was a sign of sovereignty, was worn by queens, kings and sometimes cows. This was held in place by a ribbon tied over the head and attached to a gold chin strap, a fashion existing from about 3000 to 1580 BC.

Mesopotamian civilizations (Sumerian, Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans and Medians) devoted great care to oiling and dressing their beards, using tongs and curling irons to create elaborate ringlets and tiered patterns.

The Persians were fond of long beards. In Travels by Adam Olearius, a King of Persia commands his steward's head to be cut off, and on its being brought to him, remarks, "what a pity it was, that a man possessing such fine mustachios, should have been executed."[citation needed]

Ancient India

In ancient India, the beard was allowed to grow long, a symbol of dignity and of wisdom (cf. sadhu). The nations in the east generally treated their beards with great care and veneration, and the punishment for licentiousness and adultery was to have the beard of the offending parties publicly cut off. They had such a sacred regard for the preservation of their beards that a man might pledge it for the payment of a debt.

Ancient Greece

A coin depicting a cleanly-shaven Alexander the Great.

The ancient Greeks regarded the beard as a badge or sign of virility; in the Homeric epics it had almost sanctified significance, so that a common form of entreaty was to touch the beard of the person addressed.[12] It was only shaven as a sign of mourning, though in this case it was instead often left untrimmed. A smooth face was regarded as a sign of effeminacy.[13] The Spartans punished cowards by shaving off a portion of their beards. From the earliest times, however, the shaving of the upper lip was not uncommon. Greek beards were also frequently curled with tongs.

Ancient Macedon

In the time of Alexander the Great the custom of smooth shaving was introduced.[14] Reportedly, Alexander ordered his soldiers to be clean shaven, fearing that their beards would serve as handles for their enemies to grab and to hold the soldier as he was killed. The practice of shaving spread from the Macedonians, whose kings are represented on coins, etc. with smooth faces, throughout the whole known world of the Macedonian Empire. Laws were passed against it, without effect, at Rhodes and Byzantium; and even Aristotle conformed to the new custom,[15] unlike the other philosophers, who retained the beard as a badge of their profession. A man with a beard after the Macedonian period implied a philosopher,[16] and there are many allusions to this custom of the later philosophers in such proverbs as: "The beard does not make the sage."[17]

Ancient Rome

Shaving seems to have not been known to the Romans during their early history (under the Kings of Rome and the early Republic). Pliny tells us that P. Ticinius was the first who brought a barber to Rome, which was in the 454th year from the founding of the city (that is, around 299 BC). Scipio Africanus was apparently the first among the Romans who shaved his beard. However, after that point, shaving seems to have caught on very quickly, and soon almost all Roman men were clean-shaven; being clean-shaven became a sign of being Roman and not Greek. Only in the later times of the Republic did the Roman youth begin shaving their beards only partially, trimming it into an ornamental form; prepubescent boys oiled their chins in hopes of forcing premature growth of a beard.[18]

Still, beards remained rare among the Romans throughout the Late Republic and the early Principate. In a general way, in Rome at this time, a long beard was considered a mark of slovenliness and squalor. The censors L. Veturius and P. Licinius compelled M. Livius, who had been banished, on his restoration to the city, to be shaved, and to lay aside his dirty appearance, and then, but not until then, to come into the Senate.[19] The first occasion of shaving was regarded as the beginning of manhood, and the day on which this took place was celebrated as a festival.[20] Usually, this was done when the young Roman assumed the toga virilis. Augustus did it in his twenty-fourth year, Caligula in his twentieth. The hair cut off on such occasions was consecrated to a god. Thus Nero put his into a golden box set with pearls, and dedicated it to Jupiter Capitolinus.[21] The Romans, unlike the Greeks, let their beards grow in time of mourning; so did Augustus for the death of Julius Caesar.[22] Other occasions of mourning on which the beard was allowed to grow were, appearance as a reus, condemnation, or some public calamity. On the other hand, men of the country areas around Rome in the time of Varro seem not to have shaved except when they came to market every eighth day, so that their usual appearance was most likely a short stubble.[23]

In the second century AD the Emperor Hadrian, according to Dion Cassius, was the first of all the Caesars to grow a beard; Plutarch says that he did it to hide scars on his face. This was a period in Rome of widespread imitation of Greek culture, and many other men grew beards in imitation of Hadrian and the Greek fashion. Until the time of Constantine the Great the emperors appear in busts and coins with beards; but Constantine and his successors until the reign of Phocas, with the exception of Julian the Apostate, are represented as beardless.

Celts and Germanic tribes

Late Hellenistic sculptures of Celts[24] portray them with long hair and mustaches but beardless.

Among the Celts of Scotland and Ireland men typically let their facial hair grow into a full circle of beard, and it was often seen as dishonourable for a Gaelic man to have no facial hair.[25][26][27]

Tacitus states that among the Catti, a Germanic tribe (perhaps the Chatten), a young man was not allowed to shave or cut his hair until he had slain an enemy. The Lombards derived their fame from the great length of their beards (Longobards – Long Beards – Langbärte). When Otto the Great said anything serious, he swore by his beard, which covered his breast.

Middle ages

In the Middle Ages, a beard displayed a knight's virility and honour. The Castilian knight El Cid is described in The Lay of the Cid as "the one with the flowery beard". Holding somebody else's beard was a serious offence that had to be righted in a duel.

From the Renaissance to the present day

Friedrich Engels exhibiting a full moustache and beard that was a common style among Europeans of the nineteenth century.
Johann Strauss II with a large beard, moustache, and sideburns.
Maryland Governor Thomas Swann with a long goatee. Such beards were common around the time of the American Civil War.
Emperor Meiji of Japan wore a full beard and moustache during most of his reign.
Johannes Brahms with large beard and moustache.

In the 15th century, most European men were clean-shaven. Sixteenth-century beards were allowed to grow to an amazing length (see the portraits of John Knox, Bishop Gardiner and Thomas Cranmer). Some beards of this time were the Spanish spade beard, the English square cut beard, the forked beard, and the stiletto beard. In 1587 Francis Drake claimed, in a figure of speech, to have singed the King of Spain's beard.

Strangely, this trend was especially marked during Queen Mary's reign, a time of reaction against Protestant reform (Cardinal Pole's beard is a good example).

In urban circles of Western Europe and the Americas, beards were out of fashion after the early 17th century; to such an extent that, in 1698, Peter the Great of Russia ordered men to shave off their beards, and in 1705 levied a tax on beards in order to bring Russian society more in line with contemporary Western Europe.[28]

The popularity of the beard declined in western society, and during the early eighteenth century most men, particularly amongst the nobility and upper classes, went clean shaven. There was, however, a dramatic shift in the beard's popularity during the 1850s, with it becoming markedly more popular.[29] Consequently, beards were adopted by many leaders, such as Alexander III of Russia, Napoleon III of France, Frederick III of Germany), as well as many leading statesmen and cultural figures, such as Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Dickens, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Karl Marx, and Giuseppe Verdi. This trend can be recognised in the United States of America, where the shift can be seen amongst the post-Civil War presidents. Before Abraham Lincoln, no President had a beard; after Lincoln until William Howard Taft, every President except Andrew Johnson and William McKinley had either a beard or a moustache.

The beard became linked in this period with notions of masculinity and male courage.[29] The resulting popularity has contributed to the stereotypical Victorian male figure in the popular mind, the stern figure clothed in black whose gravitas is added to by a heavy beard.

By the early twentieth century beards began a slow decline in popularity. Although retained by some prominent figures who were young men in the Victorian period (like Sigmund Freud), most men who retained facial hair during the 1920s and 1930s limited themselves to a moustache or a goatee (such as with Marcel Proust, Albert Einstein, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin). In America, meanwhile, popular movies portrayed heroes with clean shaven faces and "crew cuts". Concurrently, the psychological mass marketing of Madison Avenue was becoming prevalent. The Gillette Safety Razor Company was one of these marketers' early clients. These events conspired to popularize short hair and clean shaven faces as the only acceptable style for decades to come. The few men who wore the beard or portions of the beard during this period were frequently either old, Central Europeans; members of a religious sect that required it; or in academia.

The beard was reintroduced to mainstream society by the counterculture, firstly with the "beatniks" in the 1950s, and then with the hippie movement of the mid 1960s. Following the Vietnam War, beards exploded in popularity. In the mid-late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, beards were worn by hippies and businessmen alike. Popular rock, soul and folk musicians like The Beatles, Barry White and the male members of Peter, Paul, and Mary wore full beards. The trend of seemingly ubiquitous beards in American culture subsided in the mid 1980s.

From the 1990s onward, the fashion in the United States has generally trended toward either a goatee, Van Dyke, or a closely cropped full beard undercut on the throat. By 2010, the fashionable length approached a "two-day shadow".[30] By the end of the 20th century, the closely clipped Verdi beard, often with a matching integrated moustache, had become relatively common.

One stratum of American society where facial hair is virtually nonexistent is in government and politics. The last President of the United States to wear any type of facial hair was William Howard Taft, who was in office from 1909 till 1913. The last Vice President of the United States to wear any facial hair was Charles Curtis, who was in office from 1929 till 1933.

Beards in religion

Beards also play an important role in some religions.

In Greek mythology and art Zeus and Poseidon are always portrayed with beards, but Apollo never is. A bearded Hermes was replaced with the more familiar beardless youth in the 5th century BC. Zoroaster, the 11th/10th century BC era founder of Zoroastrianism is almost always depicted with a beard.


Basilios Bessarion's beard contributed to his defeat in the papal conclave, 1455.
10-th century Georgian hagiographer and monk, Giorgi Merchule.

Jesus is almost always portrayed with a beard in iconography and art dating from the 4th century onward. In paintings and statues most of the Old Testament Biblical characters such as Moses and Abraham and Jesus' New Testament disciples such as St Peter are with beard, as was John the Baptist. John the Apostle is generally depicted as clean-shaven in Western European art, however, to emphasize his relative youth. Eight of the figures portrayed in the painting entitled The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci are bearded. Mainstream Christianity holds Isaiah Chapter 50: Verse 6 as a prophecy of Christ's crucifixion, and as so, as a description of Christ having his beard plucked by his tormentors.

In Eastern Christianity, beards are often worn by members of the priesthood and by monastics, and at times have been recommended for all believers. Amish and Hutterite men shave until they are married, then grow a beard and are never thereafter without one, although it is a particular form of a beard (see Visual markers of marital status). Many Syrian Christians from Kerala in India wore long beards.

In the 1160s, Burchardus, abbot of the cistercien monastery of Bellevaux in the Franche-Comté, wrote a treatise on beards.[31] In his opinion beards were appropriate for lay brothers, but not for the priests among the monks.

Nowadays, members of many Catholic religious communities, mainly those of Franciscan origin, use a beard as a sign of their vocation. At various times in its history and depending on various circumstances the Catholic Church permitted and prohibited facial hair ("barbae nutritio") for clergy.[32] The vast majority of Roman or Latin-rite clergy are clean-shaven.

Although most Protestant Christians today follow the prevailing fashion of their culture, some historically have taken the lead in fashion by openly encouraging the growth of the beard as "a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial" (C. H. Spurgeon),[33] or by banning shaving altogether, as in the case of some Presbyterian Churches.[34] Some Messianic Jews also wear beards to show their observance of the Old Testament.

Diarmaid MacCulloch writes:[35] "There is no doubt that Cranmer mourned the dead king (Henry VIII)", and it was said that he showed his grief by growing a beard. But "it was a break from the past for a clergyman to abandon his clean-shaven appearance which was the norm for late medieval priesthood; with Luther providing a precedent [during his exile period], virtually all the continental reformers had deliberately grown beards as a mark of their rejection of the old church, and the significance of clerical beards as an aggressive anti-Catholic gesture was well recognised in mid-Tudor England."

Modern Mormon men are strongly encouraged to be clean shaven.[36] Formal prohibitions against facial hair are given to young men entering their two-year missionary service.[37] Students and staff of the church-sponsored Brigham Young University are asked to adhere to the Church Educational System Honor Code, which states in part: "Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable."[38]


An Indian Hindu sadhu with full beard

The ancient text followed regarding beards depends on the Deva and other teachings, varying according to whom the devotee worships or follows. Many Sadhus, Yogis, or Yoga practitioners keep beards, and represent all situations of life. Shaivite ascetics generally have beards, as they are not permitted to own anything, which would include a razor. The beard is also a sign of a nomadic and ascetic lifestyle.

Vaishnava men, typically of the ISKCON sect, are encouraged to be clean-shaven as a sign of cleanliness. Vaishnavas of the Gaudiya tradition on the other hand generally keep beards and a shaven head (except a small tail called a shikha).


The Prophet Muhammad viewed growing a beard as sunnah. Trimming the mustaches is one of the fitra.[39][40][41][42][43][44][45] There are those who view it as a sunnah and they may argue that it has an equivalent status to the nine other acts of fitrah, of the saḥīḥ aḥādīth about the ten acts of fitrah, but this argument is considered weak by many at best.

In the Islamic tradition, God commanded Abraham to keep his beard, shorten his moustache, clip his nails, shave the hair around his genitals, and pluck his armpit hair.[46]


Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem with an unshaved beard and peyos (sidelocks)

The Bible states in Leviticus 19:27 that "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard." Talmudic tradition explains this to mean that a man may not shave his beard with a razor with a single blade, since the cutting action of the blade against the skin "mars" the beard. Because scissors have two blades, some opinions in halakha (Jewish law) permit their use to trim the beard, as the cutting action comes from contact of the two blades and not the blade against the skin. For this reason, most poskim (Jewish legal deciders) rule that Orthodox Jews may use electric razors to remain cleanshaven, as such shavers cut by trapping the hair between the blades and the metal grating, halakhically a scissor-like action. Some prominent contemporary poskim[who?] maintain that electric shavers constitute a razor-like action and consequently prohibit their use.

The Zohar, one of the primary sources of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), attributes holiness to the beard, specifying that hairs of the beard symbolize channels of subconscious holy energy that flows from above to the human soul. Therefore, most Hasidic Jews, for whom Kabbalah plays an important role in their religious practice, traditionally do not remove or even trim their beards.

Also, some Jews refrain from shaving during the 30-day mourning period after the death of a close relative, known in Hebrew as the Shloshim (thirty) as well as during periods of the Counting of the Omer and the Three Weeks.


Guru Har Gobind and his disciples with full beards

Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, ordained and established the keeping of unshorn hair as part of the identity and one of the insignia of Sikhs. Sikhs consider the beard to be part of the nobility and dignity of their manhood. Sikhs also refrain from cutting their hair and beards out of respect for the God-given form. Kesh, uncut hair, is one of the Five Ks, five compulsory articles of faith for a baptized Sikh. As such, a Sikh man is easily identified by his turban and uncut beard.

Rastafari Movement

A male Rastafarian's beard is a sign of his pact with God (Jah or Jehovah), and his Bible is his source of knowledge. Leviticus 21:5 ("They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh.") Likewise, it is not uncommon for a Rastafarian beard to grow uncombed, like dreadlocks.

The "Philosopher's beard"

In Greco-Roman antiquity the beard was "seen as the defining characteristic of the philosopher; philosophers had to have beards, and anyone with a beard was assumed to be a philosopher."[47] While one may be tempted to think that Socrates and Plato sported "philosopher's beards", such is not the case. Shaving was not widespread in Athens during fifth & fourth-century BCE and so they would not be distinguished from the general populace for having a beard. The popularity of shaving did not rise in the region until the example of Alexander the Great near the end of the fourth century BCE. The popularity of shaving did not spread to Rome until the end of the third century BCE following its acceptance by Scipio Africanus. In Rome shaving's popularity grew to the point that for a respectable Roman citizen it was seen almost as compulsory.

The idea of the philosopher's beard gained traction when in 155 BCE three philosophers arrived in Rome as Greek diplomats: Carneades, head of the Platonic Academy; Critolaus of Aristotle's Lyceum; and the head of the Stoics Diogenes of Babylon. "In contrast to their beautifully clean-shaven Italian audience, these three intellectuals all sported magnificent beards."[48] Thus the connection of beards and philosophy caught hold of the Roman public imagination.

Epictetus stated he would embrace death before shaving.

The importance of the beard to Roman philosophers is best seen by the extreme value that the Stoic philosopher Epictetus placed on it. As historian John Sellars puts it, Epictetus "affirmed the philosopher's beard as something almost express the idea that philosophy is no mere intellectual hobby but rather a way of life that, by definition, transforms every aspect of one's behavior, including one's shaving habits. If someone continues to shave in order to look the part of a respectable Roman citizen, it is clear that they have not yet embraced philosophy conceived as a way of life and have not yet escaped the social customs of the majority...the true philosopher will only act according to reason or according to nature, rejecting the arbitrary conventions that guide the behavior of everyone else."[48]

Epictetus saw his beard as an integral part of his identity and held that he would rather be executed than submit to any force demanding he remove it. In his Discourses 1.2.29, he puts forward such a hypothetical confrontation: "'Come now, Epictetus, shave your beard'. If I am a philosopher, I answer, I will not shave it off. 'Then I will have you beheaded'. If it will do you any good, behead me."[48] The act of shaving "would be to compromise his philosophical ideal of living in accordance with nature and it would be to submit to the unjustified authority of another."[48]

This was not a theoretical in the age of Epictetus, for the Emperor Domitian had the hair and beard forcibly shaven off of the philosopher Apollonius of Tyana "as punishment for anti-State activities."[48] This disgraced Apollonius while avoiding making him a martyr like Socrates. Well before his declaration of "death before shaving" Epictetus had been forced to flee Rome when Domitian banished all philosophers from Italy under threat of execution.

Roman philosophers sported different styles of beards to distinguish which school they belonged to. Cynics with long dirty beards to indicate their "strict indifference to all external goods and social customs"[48]; Stoics occasionally trimming and washing their beards in accord with their view "that it is acceptable to prefer certain external goods so long as they are never valued above virtue"[48]; Peripatetics took great care of their beards believing in accord with Aristotle that "external goods and social status were necessary for the good life together with virtue"[48]. To a Roman philosopher in this era, having a beard and its condition indicated their commitment to live in accord with their philosophy.

Modern prohibition of beards

Civilian prohibitions

Professional airline pilots are required to be clean shaven to facilitate a tight seal with auxiliary oxygen masks[citation needed]. Similarly, fire fighters may also be prohibited from full beards to obtain a proper seal with SCBA equipment.[citation needed]

Isezaki city in Gunma prefecture, Japan, decided to ban beards for male municipal employees on May 19, 2010.[49]

Brigham Young University generally requires its students and employees to be clean-shaven. Brigham Young himself was often seen with beard, however.[50]

The Eighth Circuit Court has found requiring shaving to be discriminatory.[51]


The International Boxing Association prohibits the wearing of beards by amateur boxers, although the Amateur Boxing Association of England allows exceptions for Sikh men, on condition that the beard be covered with a fine net.[52] As a safety precaution, high school wrestlers must be clean-shaven before each match, though neatly trimmed moustaches are often allowed.[citation needed]

The Cincinnati Reds had a longstanding enforced policy where all players had to be completely clean shaven (no beards, long sideburns or moustaches). However, this policy was abolished following the sale of the team by Marge Schott in 1999.

Brian Wilson's beard in 2011

Under owner George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees baseball team had a strict dress code that prohibited long hair and facial hair below the lip; the practice has been continued under Hank and Hal Steinbrenner when control of the Yankees was transferred to them after the 2008 season. More recently, Willie Randolph and Joe Girardi, both former Yankee assistant coaches, adopted a similar clean-shaven policy for their ballclubs: the New York Mets and Florida Marlins, respectively. Fredi Gonzalez, who replaced Girardi as the Marlins' manager, dropped that policy when he took over after the 2006 season. Girardi is now the manager of the Yankees.

Playoff beard is a tradition common on teams in the National Hockey League and now in other leagues where players allow their beards to grow from the beginning of the playoff season until the playoffs are over for their team.

San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who claims not to have shaved since the 2010 All-Star Game, has grown a very dark black beard that has become popular in the MLB and with its fans. MLB Fan Cave presented a "Journey Inside Brian Wilson's Beard", which was an interactive screenshot of Wilson's beard, where one can click on different sections to see various fictional activities performed by small "residents" of the beard. The hosts on sports shows sometimes wear replica beards, and the Giants gave them away to fans as a promo.[citation needed]

Armed forces

Depending on the country and period, facial hair was either prohibited in the army or an integral part of the uniform.


Silas Kitto Hocking, bearded

Beard hair is most commonly removed by shaving. If only the area above the upper lip is left unshaven, the resulting facial hairstyle is known as a moustache; if hair is left only on the chin, the style is a chin beard.

  • Full – downward flowing beard with either styled or integrated moustache
  • Sideburns – hair grown from the temples down the cheeks toward the jawline.
  • Chinstrap – a beard with long sideburns that comes forward and ends under the chin.
  • Donegal – similar to the chinstrap beard but covers the entire chin.
  • Garibaldi – wide, full beard with rounded bottom and integrated moustache
  • Goatee – A tuft of hair grown on the chin, sometimes resembling a billy goat's.
  • Junco – A goatee which extends upward and connects to the corners of the mouth.
  • Hollywoodian- A beard with integrated mustache that is worn on the lower part of the chin and jaw area, without connecting sideburns.
  • Reed – A beard with integrated mustache that is worn on the lower part of the chin and jaw area that tapers towards the ears without connecting sideburns.
  • Royale – is a narrow pointed beard extending from the chin. The style was popular in France during the period of the Second Empire, from which it gets its alternative name, the imperial or impériale.
  • Stubble – a very short beard of only one to a few days growth. This became fashionable during the heyday of Miami Vice. During this time, a modified electric razor called the Miami Device became popular, which would trim stubble to a preset length.
  • Van Dyke – A goatee accompanied by a moustache.
  • Verdi – short beard with rounded bottom and slightly shaven cheeks with prominent moustache
  • Neckbeard (Neard) – Similar to the Chinstrap, but with the chin and jawline shaven, leaving hair to grow only on the neck. While never as popular as other beard styles, a few noted historical figures have worn this type of beard, such as Nero and Horace Greeley.
  • Soul patch – a small beard just below the lower lip and above the chin
  • Friendly Mutton Chops – long muttonchop type sideburns connected to a mustache, but with a shaved chin
  • Stashburns or the Lemmy – Sideburns that drop down the jaw but jut upwards across the mustache, leaving the chin exposed. Similar to "Friendly Mutton Chops", but often found in southern and southwestern American culture.
  • Monkey Tail – a Van Dyke as viewed from one side, and a Donegal + moustache as viewed from the other, giving the impression that a monkey's tail stretches from an ear down to the chin and around one's mouth.

Quotations regarding beards

  • "The beard is the handsomeness of the face, and a wife is the joy in a man's heart." – R' Akiva, Eicha Rabbah
  • Leonato: You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
    Beatrice: What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him... -William Shakespeare – Excerpt from Much Ado About Nothing – Act 2, Scene I
  • "You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so" – Banquo, to the witches, in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Early Christian attitudes

  • St Clement of Alexandria
    • "The hair of the chin showed him to be a man." St Clement of Alexandria (c.195, E), 2.271
    • "How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at the mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them!...For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest—a sign of strength and rule." St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.275
    • "This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature....It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness." St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.276
    • "It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man's natural and noble adornment." St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.277
  • St Cyprian
    • "In their manners, there was no discipline. In men, their beards were defaced." St Cyprian (c. 250, W), 5.438
    • "The beard must not be plucked. 'You will not deface the figure of your beard'." (Leviticus 19:27) St. Cyprian, 5.553
  • Lactantius
    • "The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to distinguish the sex, or to contribute to the beauty of manliness and strength." Lactantius (c. 304–314, W), 7.288
  • Apostolic Constitutions
    • "Men may not destroy the hair of their beards and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the Law says, "You will not deface your beards." For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men." Apostolic Constitutions (compiled c.390, E) 7.392. (1)
  • Augustine of Hippo
    • "There are some details of the body which are there for simply aesthetic reasons, and for no practical purpose—for instance, the nipples on a man's chest, and the beard on his face, the latter being clearly for a masculine ornament, not for protection. This is shown by the fact that women's faces are hairless, and since women are the weaker sex, it would surely be more appropriate for them to be given such a protection." City of God (c. 410) book 22, chapter 24

See also


  1. ^ "Effects of Sexual Activity on Beard Growth in Man". Nature 226 (5248): 869. 1970. doi:10.1038/226869a0. PMID 5444635. 
  2. ^ Hardisty, R. M. (1970). "Shaving to Impress". Nature 226 (5252): 1277. doi:10.1038/2261277a0. 
  3. ^ Randall VA (2008). "Androgens and hair growth". Dermatol Ther 21 (5): 314–28. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8019.2008.00214.x. PMID 18844710. 
  4. ^ Darwin, Charles, The Descent Of Man And Selection In Relation To Sex, Kessinger Publishing, 2004, p 554
  5. ^
    • Dixson, A, "Sexual selection and the evolution of visually conspicuous sexually dimorphic traits in male monkeys, apes, and human beings.", Annu Rev Sex Res. 2005;16:1-19.
    • Miller, Geoffry F, "How Mate Choice Shaped Human Nature: A Review of Sexual Selection and Human Evolution", in Handbook of evolutionary psychology: ideas, issues, and applications, (Crawford, Charles B. Ed), Psychology Press, 1998, pp 106, 111, 113.
    • Skamel, Uta, "Beauty and Sex Appeal: Sexual Selection of Aesthetic Preferences", in Evolutionary aesthetics, Eckhard Voland (Ed). Springer, 2003, pp 173-183.
  6. ^ Puts, D. A. (2010). "Beauty and the beast: Mechanisms of sexual selection in humans". Evolution and Human Behavior 31 (3): 157–175. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.02.005.  edit
  7. ^ Dixson, A.F. Sexual selection and the origins of human mating systems, Oxford University Press US, 2009, p 178
  8. ^ Randy Thornhill and Steven W. Gangestad, "Human facial beauty: Averageness, symmetry, and parasite resistance", in Human Nature, Volume 4, Number 3, 237-269
  9. ^
    • Barber, N. "The Evolutionary psychology of physical attractiveness: Sexual selection and human morphology", in Ethol Sociobiol, 16:395-525.
    • Etcoff, N. Survivial of the Prettiest - the science of beauty, Doubleday, 1999.
  10. ^ Zahavi, A. and Zahavi, A. 1997. The Handicap Principle. Oxford University Press, p 213
  11. ^
    • Folstad, I, Skarstein, F, "Is male germ line control creating avenues for female choice?", Behavioral Ecology, [BEHAV. ECOL.]. Vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 109-112. Feb 1997.
    • Folstad and Skarsein cited by Skamel, Uta, "Beauty and Sex Appeal: Sexual Selection of Aesthetic Preferences", in Evolutionary aesthetics, Eckhard Voland (Ed). Springer, 2003, pp 173-183.
  12. ^ See, for example, Homer Iliad 1:500-1
  13. ^ Athen. xiii. 565 a (cited by Peck)
  14. ^ Chrysippus ap. Athen. xiii. 565 a (cited by Peck)
  15. ^ Diog. Laert.v. 1 (cited by Peck)
  16. ^ cf. Pers.iv. 1, magister barbatus of Socrates (cited by Peck)
  17. ^ Ancient Greek: πωγωνοτροφία φιλόσοφον οὐ ποιεῖ. De Is. et Osir. 3 (cited by Peck)
  18. ^ Petron. 75, 10 (cited by Peck)
  19. ^ Liv.xxvii. 34 (cited by Peck)
  20. ^ Juv.iii. 186 (cited by Peck)
  21. ^ Suet. Ner.12 (cited by Peck)
  22. ^ Dio Cass. xlviii. 34 (cited by Peck)
  23. ^ Varro asked rhetorically how often the tradesmen of the country shaved between market days, implying (in chronologist E. J. Bickerman's opinion) that this did not happen at all: "quoties priscus homo ac rusticus Romanus inter nundinum barbam radebat?",Varr. ap. Non. 214, 30; 32: see also E J Bickerman, Chronology of the Ancient World, London (Thames & Hudson) 1968, at p.59.
  24. ^ Examples (both in Roman copies): Dying Gaul, Ludovisi Gaul
  25. ^ Connolly, Sean J (2007). "Prologue". Contested island: Ireland 1460-1630. Oxford University Press. p. 7. 
  26. ^ The Topography of Ireland by Giraldus Cambrensis (English translation)
  27. ^ Macleod, John, Highlanders: A History of the Gaels (Hodder and Stoughton, 1997) p43
  28. ^ Beard Tax: Information from. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  29. ^ a b Jacob Middleton, 'Bearded Patriarchs', History Today, Volume: 56 Issue: 2 (February 2006), 26–27.
  30. ^ Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia (2010-03-28). "Latest in facial hair: The two-day shadow". The Los Angeles Times.,0,457729.story. 
  31. ^ Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis LXII, Apologiae duae: Gozechini epistola ad Walcherum; Burchardi, ut videtur, Abbatis Bellevallis Apologia de Barbis. Edited by R.B.C. Huygens, with an introduction on beards in the Middle Ages by Giles Constable. Turnholti 1985
  32. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia entry
  33. ^ Spurgeon, C. H., Lectures to My Students, First Series, Lecture 8 (Baker Book House, 1981) p134.
  34. ^ Minutes of Orange Presbytery, 1830, p45: Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History by Guion Griffis Johnson
  35. ^ [Diarmaid MacCulloch (1996), Thomas Cranmer: A Life, Yale University Press, p. 361]
  36. ^ Oaks, Dallin H. (December 1971). "Standards of Dress and Grooming". New Era (LDS Church). 
  37. ^ "FYI: For Your Information". New Era: 48–51. June 1989. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  38. ^ "Church Educational System Honor Code". Undergraduate Catalog | 2010 - 2011. Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  39. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Book 72, Hadith #780
  40. ^ CRCC: Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Resources: Religious Texts. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  41. ^ CRCC: Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Resources: Religious Texts. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  42. ^ CRCC: Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Resources: Religious Texts. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  43. ^ CRCC: Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Resources: Religious Texts. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  44. ^ CRCC: Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Resources: Religious Texts. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  45. ^ CRCC: Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Resources: Religious Texts. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  46. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Book 72, Hadith #779
  47. ^ Citing Lucian's Demonax 13, Cynicus 1 - John Sellars (1988). The art of living: the Stoics on the nature and function of philosophy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Limited. 
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h John Sellars (1988). The art of living: the Stoics on the nature and function of philosophy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Limited. 
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ "The Rules of Amateur Boxing". Amateur Boxing Association of England. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 

Further reading

  • Reginald Reynolds: Beards: Their Social Standing, Religious Involvements, Decorative Possibilities, and Value in Offence and Defence Through the Ages (Doubleday, 1949) (ISBN 0-15-610845-3)
  • Helen Bunkin, Randall Williams: Beards, Beards, Beards (Hunter & Cyr, 2000) (ISBN 1-58838-001-7)
  • Allan Peterkin: One Thousand Beards. A Cultural History of Facial Hair (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2001) (ISBN 1-55152-107-5)
  • A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, David W. Bercot, Editor, pg 66–67.

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  • Beard — (b[=e]rd), n. [OE. berd, AS. beard; akin to Fries. berd, D. baard, G. bart, Lith. barzda, OSlav. brada, Pol. broda, Russ. boroda, L. barba, W. barf. Cf. 1st {Barb}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The hair that grows on the chin, lips, and adjacent parts of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Beard — (b[=e]rd), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Bearded}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Bearding}.] 1. To take by the beard; to seize, pluck, or pull the beard of (a man), in anger or contempt. [1913 Webster] 2. To oppose to the face; to set at defiance. [1913 Webster] No… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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