Beard: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Example of a full, untrimmed beard and moustache
Example of a full but trimmed beard and moustache

A beard is the hair that grows on a person's chin, cheeks, neck, and the area above the upper lip. Typically, only males going through puberty or post-pubescent 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 refers to the facial hair on the lower part of a man's chin (excluding the moustache, which refers to hair above the upper lip and around it). The study of beards is called pogonology.

In the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom and knowledge, sexual virility, masculinity, or high social status; and, conversely, filthiness, crudeness, or an eccentric disposition, such as in the case of a bum, hobo, hippie or vagrant. In many cultures beards are associated with nature and outdoorsmen.[citation needed]



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.[1]


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 as well as kings. 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 Olearius' Travels, 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", but he adds, "Ah! it was your own fault."

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 which it was a disgrace to be without; and in the Homeric time it even had a sanctity as among the Jews, so that a common form of entreaty was to touch the beard of the person addressed. 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.[2] 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.

In the time of Alexander the Great the custom of smooth shaving was introduced.[3] 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 Greek world. Laws were passed against it, without effect, at Rhodes and Byzantium; and even Aristotle, we are told, conformed to the new custom,[4] 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,[5] and we have many allusions to this custom of the later philosophers in such proverbs as: "The beard does not make the sage."[6]

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 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 many youths shave the beard only partially, and trimmed it so as to give it an ornamental form; other young men oiled their chins to force a premature growth of beard.[7]

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.[8] The first time of shaving was regarded as the beginning of manhood, and the day on which this took place was celebrated as a festival.[9] 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.[10] The Romans, unlike the Greeks, let their beards grow in time of mourning; so did Augustus for the death of Julius Caesar.[11] 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.[12]

In the second century A.D. the Emperor Hadrian, according to Dion, 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 to the end of the sixth century, with the exception of Julian, are represented as beardless.

Germanic tribes

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 - Langbarten). When Otho the Great said anything serious, he swore by his beard, which covered his breast.

Middle ages

In the Middle Ages, the beard was one of the sites of 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.

In the 15th century, most European men were clean-shaven. Sixteenth century beards were suffered 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.[13]

Throughout the 18th century beards were unknown among most parts of Western society, especially the nobility and upper classes.

Beards returned strongly to fashion during the Napoleonic Era. Veterans of the French Emperor's Army were known as "Vieilles Moustaches" (Old Moustaches), while greener conscripts were forbidden to grow them, thus making them especially coveted and prestigious. Throughout the nineteenth century facial hair (beards, along with long sideburns and moustaches) was more common than not. Many male European monarchs were bearded (e.g. Alexander III of Russia, Napoleon III of France, Frederick III of Germany), as were many of the leading statesmen and cultural figures (e.g. Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Dickens, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Karl Marx, and Giuseppe Verdi). The stereotypical Victorian male figure in the popular mind remains a stern figure clothed in black whose gravitas is added to by a heavy beard (or long sideburns). However, in the early twentieth century beards started a slow decline in popularity, while some prominent figures retained them (like Sigmund Freud, albeit severely shortened from the fashion of prior decades) most men which in the 20s and 30s still retained facial hair limited it to the moustache or a goatee (Marcel Proust, Albert Einstein, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin)

Beards, together with long hair, were reintroduced to mainstream society in Western Europe and the Americas by the hippie movement of the mid 1960s. By the end of the 20th century, the closely clipped Verdi beard, often with a matching integrated moustache, had become relatively common.

In the United States

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, beards were rare in the United States. However, they had become prevalent by the mid-nineteenth century. Up to and following the American Civil War, many famous heroes and General officers had significant beards. A sign of the shift was to be observed in occupants of the Presidency: 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's loss of popularity since its nineteenth century heyday is shown by the fact that after this brief "golden age", no President has worn a full beard since Benjamin Harrison, and no President has worn any facial hair at all since William H. Taft.

Following World War I, beards fell out of vogue. There are several theories as to why the military began shaving beards. When World War I broke out in the 1910s, the use of chemical weapons necessitated that soldiers shave their beards so that gas masks could seal over their faces. The enlistment of military recruits for World War I in 1914 precipitated a major migration of men from rural to urban locales. This was the largest such migration that had ever occurred in the United States up to that time. The sudden concentration of recruits in crowded army induction centers brought with it disease, including head lice. Remedial action was taken by immediately shaving the faces and cutting the hair of all inductees upon their arrival.

When the war concluded in 1918 the "Doughboys" returned to a hero's welcome. During this time period the Film Industry was coming into its own and "going to the movies" became a popular pastime. Due to the recent Armistice many of the films had themes related to World War I. These popular films featured actors who portrayed soldiers with their 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.

From the 1920s to the early 1960s, beards were virtually nonexistent in mainstream America. 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; in academia; or part of the counterculture, such as the "beatniks".

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 beards has generally trended toward either a goatee, Van Dyke, or a closely cropped full beard undercut on the throat.

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 B.C.


Sri Guru Har Gobind ji with full beard

The Sikhs consider the beard to be an integral part of the male human body as created by God and believe that it should be preserved, maintained, and respected as such. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, ordained and established the keeping of the 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. Kesh is also one of the Five Ks for a baptised Sikh.


An Indian Hindu sadhu with full beard

Hindus keep beards depending on which Dharma they follow. Many Hindu priests are unshaven as a sign of purity. The ancient text followed regarding beards depends on the Deva and other teachings, varying according to whom the devotee worships or follows. Most original idols lack moustaches, except for the Rakshasa and Asuras, who are considered to be bad or power-seeking. 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).


Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem with a 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 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.


Basilios Bessarion's beard contributed to his defeat in the papal conclave, 1455.

Jesus is almost always portrayed with a beard in iconography and art dating from the fourth 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 required for all believers; see Old 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.

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 the Catholic Church permitted and prohibited facial hair.[14] Some Messianic Jews also wear beards to show their observance of the Old Testament.

Diarmaid MacCulloch writes:[15] "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, 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."


A Muslim male with a preferable Muslim beard (the requirement being that it be one fist long)

Muhammad encouraged growing a beard and it is said by those that promote it strongly that all the prophets have had one. Trimming the mustaches is one of the fitra.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22] Among those that view it as a sunnah, they may argue that it has an equivalent status to the 9 other acts of fitrah, of the saheeeh hadiths about the ten acts of fitrah, which are recognized to be sunnah among many scholars. They might also say that late Shafi scholars came to the position that the beard is a sunnah, which would have had a precedent among the classical scholars within the Shafi Madhab, such as Ghazali as well as Shafi himself in his earlier work of fiqh, as noted in al-Risala. Shafi however changed his position later in is life, as noted in his work al-Umm. All Muslim scholars view keeping a beard as being at least commendable for men as it follows the example of the Prophet Muhammad, and some consider it obligatory.[23][24] Regardless of either view, Muslim men who shave are still allowed to do things such as being an imam and leading prayer, as there is nothing recorded in the primary texts of Islamic jurisprudence (Qur'an and hadith) which prohibits this.[24] According to the minority view that keeping a beard is compulsory, a man who shaves is considered sinful, but being sinful does not exclude one from actions such as leading the prayer.[24][25]

In the Islamic tradition, Allah commanded Abraham to keep his beard, shorten his moustaches, clip his nails, shave the hair around his genitals, and pluck his armpit hair.[26]

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.


Mystics and priests in Taoist practices also grow their beards and hair, but always have the latter tied in a knot or tail.

Modern prohibition of beards

Civilian prohibitions

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


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Modern Mormon men are strongly encouraged to be clean shaven. Formal prohibitions against facial hair are given to young men entering their two-year mission service. Those entering the church-sponsored universities 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."


Today, for practical reasons (with some exceptions), it is illegal[citation needed] for amateur boxers to have beards. As a safety precaution, high school wrestlers must be clean-shaven before each match, though neatly trimmed moustaches are often allowed.

The Cincinnati Reds, the oldest existing team in Major League Baseball, 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.

Under owner George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees baseball team has had a strict dress code that forbids long hair and facial hair below the lip. 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.

Armed forces



In the armed forces (and police) of India, only Sikhs are allowed to wear beards as their religion expressly requires followers to do so. And they are required to keep it neatly tied in a hairnet or keep it trimmed. In fact, in Sikh-only units there are instances of personnel transferred out by the unit Commander for their refusal to wear beard and hair as required by Sikh religion, although no official regulation exists on this.

Exceptions for other religions are made in case of under-cover special forces operatives like army commandos(Para SF) and navy commandos (MARCOS) who are allowed to grow beards.[27]

Navy personnel are allowed to grow beards subject to the permission of the respective Commanding Officer.[28]

Regular army on active duty are sometimes exempt from the facial-hair regulations for the duration of their 'tour' if their task makes access to such facilities difficult.


Beards are permitted in most branches and units of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Takavaran (Iranian Marines) must be clean shaven.


The IDF generally allows only full or French beards. A special request form must be filed, which is valid for no more than a single year, after which it has to be renewed.


Beards are not allowed in the Lebanese Armed Forces. Only trimmed mustaches are allowed that don't pass the upper lip.


Although moustache is very common among the Turkish men, according to the Internal Service Law active personnel is not allowed to grow a beard.



The Austrian Armed Forces permits moustaches and sideburns, as long as they are neatly trimmed.


Danish Army personnel are generally allowed to wear any well kept beard. Stubble, however, is not allowed. Full beards are popular among units deployed in Afghanistan, as it is easier to maintain when in the field. This also helps break down cultural barriers between the Danish and the Afghans, as most Afghan men wear full beards. As an exception, soldiers who belong to Den Kongelige Livgarde (The Royal Life Guards) are not allowed to have beards when on guard duty. Additionally, Danish soldiers are not required to have short haircuts. Long hair among male soldiers is rare, however, as it is not seen as "proper" by most soldiers.


The regulations of the Finnish Defence Forces (Rule 91) prohibit the growing of a moustache or a beard.[29]

The sappers ("sapeurs") of the French Foreign Legion traditionally feature large beards.

The "decree N° 75-675 regarding regulations for general discipline in the Armies of 28 July 1975, modified"[30] regulates facial hair in the French armed forces. Military personnel are allowed to grow a beard or moustache only during periods when they are out of uniform. The beard must be "correctly trimmed", and provisions are stated for a possible ban of beards by the military authorities to ensure compatibility with certain equipment.

However, within the Foreign Legion, sappers (combat engineers) are traditionally encouraged to grow a large beard. Sappers chosen to participate in the Bastille Day parade are in fact specifically asked to stop shaving so they'll have a full beard when they march down the Champs Elysées.

The gendarmes, also by tradition, may grow a moustache.

Submariners may be bearded, clean-shaved, or "patrol-bearded", growing a beard for the time of a patrol in reminiscence of the time of the diesel submarines whose cramped space allowed for rustic and minimal personal care.


The present-day regulations of the German Federal Defence Forces allow soldiers to grow a beard, on condition that it be trimmed, unobtrusive and well-kept. Beards must not impact the proper use of any military equipment. Moreover, stubble may not be shown; thus a clean-shaven soldier who wants to start growing a beard must do so during his furlough.

According to German military tradition, soldiers should not have beards, only moustaches. Therefore this form of facial hair is still the only one allowed to members of the so-called Wachbataillon (Guard Battalion), which is deployed for solely protocol-related duties. Likewise, superior officers are rarely seen with large beards.


In the Greek armed forces, it is allowed to wear a beard only in the navy. Neatly trimmed mustaches are the only facial hair permitted in the army.


In the Royal Netherlands Army, officers and soldiers may only grow beards after permission has been obtained. As in many other armies, medical conditions can mean automatic permission to grow one and not shave. Moustaches may be grown without asking permission. Beards are worn at times by the Royal Netherlands Marines and by Royal Netherlands Navy personnel. All facial hair in the Netherlands armed forces is subject to instant removal when operational circumstances demand it. Recent operations in Afghanistan under the ISAF have seen a trend of growing "tour beards", both for bonding and as a way of advancing contacts with the Afghan population, who regard a full beard as a sign of manhood. A beard without a moustache is uncommon in the Netherlands.


The Royal Guard is required to be clean-shaven. Most operative personnel are not allowed to wear them (so as not to interfere with gas masks) unless:

  • The soldier obtains express permission to grow his beard from a high-ranking officer.
  • The soldier already has a beard upon his enlistment and requests to continue growing it or maintain it at its present length.

The Spanish Legion allows beards to be grown.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Royal Navy allows "full sets" (beards and moustaches together) but not beards or moustaches alone. The other British armed services allow moustaches only. Exceptions are beards grown for religious reasons (usually by Sikhs or Muslims), though in the event of conflict in which the use of chemical or biological weapons is likely, they may be required to shave a strip around the seal of a respirator. Beards are also permitted for medical reasons, such as temporary skin irritations, or by infantry pioneer warrant officers, colour sergeants and sergeants, who traditionally wear beards. Any style of facial hair is allowed in British police forces as long as it is neatly trimmed. Beards are also permitted by special forces when not on base, i.e. covert intelligence operations or behind enemy lines.

More recently the British Army has been seen sporting a full range of stubble, moustache and beard in Afghanistan where it is considered a sacred duty by men and in an effort to blend in. One in ten soldiers now have some sort of facial hair.[31]

North America


The Canadian Forces permits moustaches, provided they be neatly trimmed and do not pass beyond the corners of the mouth; an exception to this is the handlebar moustache, which is permitted. Generally speaking, beards are not permitted to CF personnel with the following exceptions:

  • Members wearing the naval uniform ashore (tradition); sea-going personnel must now shave daily.
  • Members of an infantry pioneer platoon (tradition)
  • Members who must maintain a beard due to religious requirements (Muslims, Sikhs or orthodox Jews, for example)
  • Members with a medical condition which precludes shaving

These exceptions notwithstanding, in no case is a beard permitted without a moustache, and only full beards may be worn (not goatees, van dykes, etc.).

Personnel with beards may still be required to modify or shave off the beard, as environmental or tactical circumstances dictate (e.g., to facilitate the wearing of a gas mask).

Beards are also allowed to be worn by personnel conducting OPFOR duties.

United States

The U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps justify banning beards on the basis of both hygiene and of the necessity for a good seal with gas masks. The U.S. Navy did allow beards for a time in the 1970s and 1980s, following a directive from Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr., but subsequently banned them again. The U.S. Coast Guard allowed beards until 1986, when they were banned by the Commandant, Admiral Paul Yost. The vast majority of police forces across the United States still ban beards. However, moustaches are generally allowed in both the military and police forces (except for those undergoing basic training). U.S. Army Special Forces and other U.S. Special Operation Forces have been allowed to wear beards in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other middle-eastern countries in order to better fit in with the indigenous population.

Also, those with pseudofolliculitis barbae or severe acne are allowed to maintain neatly trimmed beards with a doctor's or medic's permission.



In the Australian Defence Force beards are not permitted, however, neatly trimmed moustaches and sideburns are allowed. In some circumstances for medical or religious reasons beards may be permitted.

South America


The Brazilian Army, Brazilian Navy and Brazilian Air Force permit moustaches, as long as they are trimmed to just above the upper lip. Recruits, however, cannot wear moustaches. Beards are not allowed unless required for some special reason, such as covering a deformity. In such cases, a beard is permitted under authorization.[32]

Beard styles

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. The combination of a moustache and a chin beard is a goatee or Van Dyke, unless the moustache and chin beard are connected, in which case it is known as a circle beard.[citation needed]

  • Full – downward flowing beard with either styled or integrated moustache
  • Sideburns – hair grown from the temples down the cheeks toward the jawline. Sometimes with a moustache.
  • Chinstrap – a beard with long sideburns that comes forward and ends under the chin, resembling a chinstrap, hence the name.
  • 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 - 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 south and southwestern American culture.

Quotations regarding beards

  • "There are two kinds of people in this world that go around beardless—boys and women—and I am neither one." -Greek saying
  • "A woman with a beard looks like a man. A man without a beard looks like a woman." - Afghan Saying
  • "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 [i.e. look like] women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so" - Banquo, to the witches, in Shakespeare's Macbeth.
  • "Shaving was a custom of the Macedonian military, taken over by Hellenic and Roman society. From then on the beard becomes a philosophical status symbol, a sign of non-conformism." - Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason, pg. 210, n.4

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

Famous figures with beards

Religious figures in scripture and/or history

Scientists and philosophers

Political and military leaders

Composers, writers, non-performing artists

Performing artists

More musicians

Beards and long hair are popular among metal music fans. Pictured above is Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton.

The 20th century American jazz drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich famously threatened to fire members of his band for wearing beards.[1] Ironically, ZZ Top's drummer Frank Beard (called "Rube Beard" on earlier albums) is the one member of the group who, despite his surname, and sporting a mustache since the early days of the band, does not wear a beard. Alternative Folk musician Sam Beam, better known as Iron & Wine, is known for always sporting a full beard.

The Beatles, notably John Lennon (see Abbey Road cover), George Harrison, Paul McCartney (during the sessions for Let It Be), and Ringo Starr who also had a beard during Abbey Road and through till the present, sported full beards in the last days of the band. Jim Morrison also sported a beard in the last few years of his life, but a few times shaved it off, as in his last days.

Several heavy metal musicians like Lemmy Kilmister, Tom Araya, Max Cavalera, Zakk Wylde, Scott Ian and the late Dimebag Darrell Abbott have sported beards throughout their life.

Leland Sklar, a prolific session bass guitar player, is noted for his long hair and a long flowing beard. In the 90's,ex-Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic had famously sported a beard.

In more recent years Scroobius Pip, one half of UK Hip Hop/Spoken Word duo dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip, is known for wearing a full beard.

Mark Oliver Everett of Eels wore an extremely large beard during the publicity for their werewolf-inspired album, Hombre Lobo.

Fictional figures


See also

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.



  1. ^ Randall VA (2008). "Androgens and hair growth". Dermatol Ther 21 (5): 314–28. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8019.2008.00214.x. PMID 18844710. 
  2. ^ Athen. xiii. 565 a (cited by Peck)
  3. ^ Chrysippus ap. Athen. xiii. 565 a (cited by Peck)
  4. ^ Diog. Laert.v. 1 (cited by Peck)
  5. ^ cf. Pers.iv. 1, magister barbatus of Socrates (cited by Peck)
  6. ^ Ancient Greekπωγωνοτροφία φιλόσοφον οὐ ποιεῖ. De Is. et Osir. 3 (cited by Peck)
  7. ^ Petron. 75, 10 (cited by Peck)
  8. ^ Liv.xxvii. 34 (cited by Peck)
  9. ^ Juv.iii. 186 (cited by Peck)
  10. ^ Suet. Ner.12 (cited by Peck)
  11. ^ Dio Cass. xlviii. 34 (cited by Peck)
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia entry
  15. ^ [Diarmaid MacCulloch (1996), Thomas Cranmer: A Life, Yale University Press, p. 361]
  16. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Book 72, Hadith #780
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ last = Karamali First = (Shaikh) Hamza authorlink = Shaikh Hamza Karamali coauthors = Mostafa Azzam Title = The Beard in the Shafi'i school work = Sunnipath Q & A service Publisher = date = July 5th 2005 url = accessdate = 26/09/2009 Notes: The Shafi'i school of Islamic law is more lenient with the beard but still considers that the minimum beard a person should keep without being sinful is a goatee. Other schools of law are not as lenient. Please refrain from changing without providing a sound islamic legal position.
  24. ^ a b c Kutty, Ahmad (August 27, 2007). "Praying Behind Someone Who Has No Beard". Ask the Scholar. 
  25. ^ last = Karamali First = (Shaikh) Hamza authorlink = Shaikh Hamza Karamali coauthors = Mostafa Azzam Title = The Beard in the Shafi'i school work = Sunnipath Q & A service Publisher = date = July 5th 2005 url = accessdate = 26/09/2009 Notes: The Shafi'i school of Islamic law is more lenient with the beard but still considers that the minimum beard a person should keep without being sinful is a goatee. Other schools of law are not as leniant. Please refrain from changing without providing a sound islamic legal position.
  26. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Book 72, Hadith #779
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Décret N° 75-675 portant règlement de discipline générale dans les armées du 28 juillet 1975, modifié
  31. ^ "Sky News article". Sky News. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  32. ^ Portaria Nº 310. Diretoria de Serviço Militar. Exército Brasileiro.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

A beard is the hair that grows on a human chin, cheeks, neck and the area above the upper lip.



  • He that hath a beard is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard is less than a man.


  • There are two types of people that go around beardless; boys and women, and I am neither.
    • Greek Proverb


  • Edmund: [Referring to The Bearded Lady] Great. We've only got one act, and she shaved her beard off!
    • Blackadder
  • [Lord Flasheart nods to Baldrick, who's dressed as a bridesmaid.]
    Flasheart: Thanks, Bridesmaid! Like the beard! Gives me something to hang on to!
    • Blackadder II
  • Baldrick: Yeah, and I could be played by some tiny tit in a beard.
    • Blackadder II
  • Narrator: [introducing Baldrick] The other was the sole descendant of an unfortunate meeting between a pig-farmer and a bearded lady. History has, quite rightly, forgotten his name.
    • Blackadder

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

'BEARD (A.S.' beard, O. H. and Mod. Ger. Bart, Dan. beard,. Icel. bar, rim, edge, beak of a ship, &c., O. Sla y. barda, Russ. baroda. Cf. Welsh barf, Lat. barba, though, according to the New English Dictionary, the connexion is for phonetic reasons doubtful). Modern usage applies this word to the hair grown upon a man's chin and cheek. When the chin is shaven, what remains upon the cheeks is called whiskers. "Moustache" or "moustaches" describes the hair upon the upper lip. But the words have in the past had less exact meaning. Beard has stood alone for all these things, and whisker has in its time signified what we now call moustache, as in the case of Robinson Crusoe's great pair of "Turkish whiskers." The bearded races of mankind have ever held the beard in high honour. It is the sign of full manhood; the lad or the eunuch is beardless, and the bearded woman is reckoned a witch, a loathsome thing to all ages. Also the beard shrinks from the profane hand; a tug at the beard is sudden pain and dishonour. The Roman senator sat like a carven thing until the wondering, Goth touched his long beard; but then he struck, although he died for the blow. The future King John gave deadly offence to the native chieftains, when visiting Ireland in 1185, by plucking at their flowing beards.

David's ambassadors had their beards despitefully shaven by a bold heathen. Their own king mercifully covered their shame - "Tarry ye at Jericho until your beards be grown" - but war answered the insult. The oath on the beard is as old as history,. and we have an echo of it in the first English political ballad when Sir Simon de Montfort swears "by his chin" revenge on Warenne.

Adam, our first father, was by tradition created with a beard:: Zeus Allfather is bearded, and the old painters and carvers who. hardily pictured the first person of the Trinity gave Him the long beard of his fatherhood. The race-fathers have it and the ancient heroes. Abraham and Agamemnon, Woden and King Arthur and Charlemagne, must all be bearded in our pictures. With the Mahommedan peoples the beard as worn by an unshaven prophet has ever been in high renown, the more so that amongst most of the conquering tribes who first acknowledged the unity of God and prophethood of Mahomet it grows freely. But before Mahomet's day, kings of Persia had plaited their sacred beards with golden thread, and the lords of Nineveh had curiously, curled and oiled beards such as their winged bull wears. Bohadin tells us that Saladin's little son wept for terror when he saw the crusaders' envoys "with their clean-shaven chins." Selim I. (1512-1521) comes down as a Turkish sultan who broke into holy custom and cut off his beard, telling a remonstrating Mufti that his vizier should now have nothing to lead him by. But such tampering with tradition has its dangers, and the absolute rule of Peter the Great is made clear when we know that he taxed Russian beards and shaved his own, and yet died in his bed. Alexander the Great did as much and more with his well-drilled Macedonians, and was obeyed when he bade them shave off the handle by which an enemy could seize them.

With other traditions of their feudal age, the Japanese nation has broken with its ancient custom of the razor, and their emperor has beard and moustache; a short moustache is common amongst Japanese officers and statesmen, and generals and admirals of Nippon follow the imperial example. The Nearer East also is abandoning the full beard, even in Mahommedan lands. Earlier shahs of the Kajar house have glorious beards below their girdles, but NAsiru'd-Din and his successor have shaved their chins. In later years the sultan of Turkey has added a beard to his moustache; the khedive of Egypt, son of a bearded father, has a soldier's moustache only. In Europe the great Russian people is faithful to the beard, Peter's law being forgotten. The tsar Alexander III's beard might have satisfied Ivan the Terrible, whose hands played delightedly with the five-foot beard of Queen Elizabeth's agent George Killingworth. Indeed the royal houses of Europe are for the most part bearded or whiskered. It may be that the race of Olivier le Dain, of the man who can be trusted with a sharp razor near a crowned king's throat, is extinct. Leopold II., king of the Belgians, however, was in 1909 the only sovereign with the full beard unclipped. The Austrian emperor, Francis Joseph, retained the moustache and whiskers of the 'sixties, and the German emperor, William II., for a short period, commemorated by a few very rare photographs, had a beard, although it was never suffered to reach the length of that beard which gave his father an air of Charlemagne or Barbarossa. In France bearded presidents have followed each other, but it may be noted that the waxed moustache and "imperial" beard of the Second Empire is now all but abandoned to the Frenchman of English comedy. The modern English fashion of shaving clean is rare in France save among actors, and during 1907 many Parisian waiters struck against the rule which forbade them to grow the moustache.

For the most part the clergy of the Roman obedience shave clean, as have done the popes for two centuries and more. But missionary bishops cultivate the long beard with some pride, and the orders have varying customs, the Dominican shaving and the Franciscan allowing the hair to grow. The Roman Catholic clergy of Dalmatia, secular and regular, are allowed to wear the moustache without beard or whiskers, as a concession to national prejudices.

Amongst English people, always ready to be swayed by fashion, the hair of the face has been, age by age, cherished or shaved away, curled or clipped into a hundred devices. Before the immigration from Sleswick the Briton knew the use of the razor, sometimes shaving his chin, but leaving the moustaches long. The old English also wore moustaches and forked beards, but, save for aged men, the beard had passed out of fashion before the Norman Conquest. Thus, in the Bayeux needlework, Edward the king is venerable with a long beard, but Harold and his younger fighting men have their chins reaped. "The English," says William of Malmesbury, "leave the upper lip unshaven, suffering the hair continually to increase," and to Harold's spies the Conqueror's knights, who had "the whole face with both lips shaven," were strange and priest-like. Matthew Paris had a strange idea that the beard was distinctive of Englishmen; he asserts that those who remained in England were compelled to shave their beards, while the native nobles who went into exile kept their beards and flowing locks "like the Easterns and especially the Trojans." He even believed that "William with the beard," who headed a rising in London under Richard I., came of a stock which had scorned to shave, out of hatred for the Normans, a statement which Thierry developed.

The Chanson de Roland shows us "the pride of France" as "that good bearded folk," with their beards hanging over coats of mail, and it makes the great emperor swear to Naimes by his beard. It was only about the year 1000, according to Rodolf Glaber, that men began in the north of France to wear short hair and shave "like actors"; and even in the Bayeux tapestry the old Norman shipwrights wear the beard. But so rare was hair on the face amongst the Norman invaders that William, the forefather of the Percys, was known in his lifetime and remembered after his death as William "Asgernuns" or "Oht les gernuns," i.e. " William with the moustaches," the epithet revived by one of his descendants making our modern name of Algernon. Count Eustace of Boulogne was similarly distinguished. Fashion swung about after the Conquest, and, in the day of Henry I., Serle the bishop could compare bearded men of the Norman-English court with "filthy goats and bristly Saracens." The crusades,perhaps, were accountable for the beards which were oddly denounced as effeminate in the young courtiers of William Rufus. Not only the Greeks but the Latins in the East sometimes adopted the Saracen fashion, and the siege of Antioch (1098) was as unfavourable to the use of the razor as that of Sevastopol. When the Latins stormed the town by night, bearded knights owed their death to the assumption that every Christian would be a shaven man. But for more than four centuries diversity is allowed, beards, moustaches and shaven faces being found side by side, although now and again one fashion or another comes uppermost to be followed by those nice in such matters. Henry II. is a closeshaven king, and Richard II.'s effigy shows but a little tuft on each side of the chin, tufts which are two curled locks on the chin of Henry IV. But Henry III. is long-bearded, Edward II. curls his beard in three great ringlets, and the third Edward's long forked beard flows down his breast in patriarchal style. The mid-13th century, as seen in the drawings attributed to Matthew Paris, is an age of many full and curled beards, although the region about the lips is sometimes clipped or shaved. The beard is common in the 14th century, the forked pattern being favoured and the long drooping moustache. Amongst those who ride with him to Canterbury, Chaucer, a bearded poet, notes the merchant's "forked beard," the white beard of the franklin and the red beard of the miller, but the reeve's beard is "shave as ny as ever he can." Henry of Monmouth and his son are shaven, and thereafter beards are rare save with a few old folk until they come slowly back with the 16th century. In Ireland the statute enacted by a parliament at Trim in 1447 recited that no manner of man who will be taken for an Englishman should have beard above his mouth - the upper lip must be shaven at least every fortnight or be of equal growth with the nether lip, - and this statute remained unrepealed for nigh upon two hundred years. Henry VIII., always a law to himself, brought back the beard to favour, Stowe's annals giving 1535 as the year in which he caused his beard "to be knotted and no more shaven," his hair being polled at the same time. Many portraits give his fashion of wearing a thin moustache, whose ends met a short and squarely trimmed beard parted at the chin, a fashion in which he was followed by his brother-in-law Charles Brandon. But it is remarkable that those about him rarely imitated their most dread sovereign. While Cromwell and Howard the Admiral go clean shaven, the Seymour brothers, Denny and Russell, have the beard long and flowing. Even the forty shilling a year man, says Hooper in 1548, will waste his morning time while he sets his beard in order. About this time the clergy began to break with the long tradition of smooth faces. A priest in 1531 is commanded to abstain from wearing a beard, and Cardinal Pole, coming from the court of a bearded pope, appears bearded like a Greek patriarch. The law too, the church's kinswoman, begins to forbid, a sign of the change, and from 1542 the society of Lincoln's Inn makes rules for fining and expelling those who appear bearded at their mess, rules which the example of exalted lawyers caused to be withdrawn in i 560.

The age of Elizabeth saw lawyers, soldiers, courtiers and merchants all bearded. Her Cecils, Greshams, Raleighs, Drakes, Dudleys and Walsinghams have the beard. A shaven chin such as that seen in the portrait of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, is rare, but the beards take a hundred fashions, and satirists and Puritan pamphleteers were busy with them and with the men who wasted hours in perfuming or starching them, in dusting them with orris powder, in curling them with irons and quills. Stubbs gives them a place amongst his abuses. "It is a world to consider how their mowchatowes must be preserved or laid out from one cheek to another and turned up like two horns towards the forehead." Of the English variety of beards Harrison has a good word: "beards of which some are shaven from the chin like those of Turks, not a few cut short like to the beard of Marquess Otto, some made round like a rubbing brush, others with a pique de vant (01 fine fashion) or now and then suffered to grow long, the barbers being grown to be so cunning in this behalf as the tailors. And therefore if a man have a lean and straight face, a Marquess Otto's cut will make it broad and large; if it be platter-like, a long slender beard will make it seem the narrower; if he be weasel-becked, then much hair left on the cheeks will make the owner look big like a bowdled hen, and as grim as a goose, if Cornelis of Chelmersford say true." Nevertheless he adds that "many old men do wear no beards at all." The Elizabethan fashions continued under King James, the beard trimmed to a point being common wear; but under King Charles there is a certain reaction, and the royal style of shaving the cheeks and leaving the moustache whose points sweep upward and the chin beard like a downward flame is followed by most of the gentry. With some the beard disappears altogether or remains a mere fleck below the lip. Archbishop Laud has a cavalier-like chin tuft and upturned moustache, but Abbot his predecessor wore the spade beard, the "cathedral beard" of Randle Holme, seen in all its dignity on the Chigwell brass of Samuel Harsnett, archbishop of York (died 1631), a grim figure with his angry moustache and a long and broad beard, cut square at the bottom.

From the Restoration year the razor comes more into use. Young men shave clean. The restored king curls a few dark hairs of a moustache over each cheek, but his brother James is shaven. With the reign of Queen Anne the country enters the beardless age, and beards, moustaches and whiskers are no more seen. In the 18th century the moustache indicated a soldier from beyond sea. A Jew or a Turk was known by the beard, an appendage loathsome as comic. Matthew Robinson, the second Lord Rokeby, was indeed wearing a beard in 1798, but he was reckoned a madman therefor, and Phillips's Public Character pictures him as "the only peer and perhaps the only gentleman of either Great Britain or Ireland who is thus distinguished." That George III. in his madness should have been left unshaved was a circumstance of his misery that wrung the hearts of all loyal folk. But in the very year of 1798, when Lord Rokeby's image was engraved for the curious, the Worcestershire militia officers quartered near Brighton were copying the Austrian moustache of the foreign troops, and we may note that the hair of the face, which disappeared when wigs came in, began to reappear as wigs went out. Early in the 19th century the bucks began to show a patch of whisker beside the ear, and the soldier's moustache became a common sight. Before Waterloo, guardsmen were complaining that officers of humbler regiments imitated their fashion of the moustache, and by the Waterloo year most young cavalry officers were moustached. The Horse Artillery were the next moustached corps, the rest of the army, already whiskered, following their example in the 'fifties. But for a civilian to grow a moustache was long reckoned a piece of unseemly swagger. Clive Newcome, it will be remembered, wore one until the taunting question whether he was "going in the Guards" shamed him into shaving clean. When in 1840 Mr George Frederick Muntz appeared in parliament with a full beard there were those who felt that this tall Radical had taken his own strange method of insulting English parliamentary institutions. James Ward, R.A. (d. 1859), painter of animals, was another breaker of the unwritten law, defending his beard in a pamphlet of eighteen arguments as a thing pleasing at once to the artist and to his Creator. Freedom in these matters only came when the troops were home from the Crimea, when officers who had grown beards and acquired the taste for tobacco during the long months in the trenches showed their beards and their cigars in Piccadilly. Then came the Volunteer movement, and every man was a soldier, taking a soldier's licence. The dominant fashion was the moustache, worn with long and drooping whiskers. But the "Piccadilly weepers" of the 'sixties were out of the mode for the younger men when the 'eighties began, and by the end of the century whiskers were seen in the army only upon a few veteran officers. The fashion of clean shaving had made some way, the popularity of the shaven actor having a part in this. In 1909 all modes of dealing with the hair of the face might be recognized, but the full beard had become somewhat rare in England and the full whiskers rarer still. The upper class showed an inclination to shave clean, although the army grudgingly recognized a rule which ordered the moustache to be worn. Naval men, by regulation, shaved or wore both beard and moustache, but their beards were always trimmed. Most barristers shaved the lips, although the last judge unable to hear an advocate whose voice a moustache interrupted had left the bench. Clergymen followed the lay fashions as they did under the first Stuart kings, although there was still some prejudice against the moustache as an ornament military and inappropriate. A newspaper of 1857, describing the appearance of Livingstone the missionary at a Mansion House meeting, records that he came wearing a moustache, "braving the prejudices of his countrymen and thus evincing a courage only inferior to that exhibited by him amongst the savages of Central Africa." Even as late as 1884 the Pall Mall Gazette has some surprised comments on the beard of Bishop Ryle, newly consecrated to the see of Liverpool.

The footman, whose full-dress livery is the court dress of a hundred years ago, must show no more than the rudimentary whisker of the early eighteen-hundreds, and butler, coachman and groom come under the same rule. The jockey and the hunt whip are shaven likewise, but the courier has the whiskers and moustache that once marked him as a foreigner in the English milor's service, and the chauffeur, a servant with no tradition behind him, is often moustached.

Lastly, we may speak of the practice of the royal house since England came out of the beardless century. The regent took the new fashion, and sat "in whiskered state," but his brother and successor shaved clean and disliked even the hussar's moustache. The prince consort wore the moustache as a young man, adding whiskers in later years. King Edward VII. wore moustache and trimmed beard, and his heir apparent also followed the fashion of many fellow admirals. (0. BA.)

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews (Lev 19:27; 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel's (5:1-4) description of the "razor" i.e., the agents of an angry providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews. It was a part of a Jew's daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil and perfume (Ps 1332). Beards were trimmed with the most fastidious care (2 Sam 19:24), and their neglet was an indication of deep sorrow (Isa 15:2; Jer 41:5). The custom was to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isa 50:6; Jer 48:37; Ez 9:3). The beards of David's ambassadors were cut off by hanun (2 Sam 10:4) as a mark of indignity.

On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Gen 41:14).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

A beard is the hair growing on the lower part of a man's face.

The hair that grows on the upper lip of some men is a mustache. When a man has hair only below the lower lip and above the chin, it is called a soul patch. Some men have a lot of hair and a big beard, and some have very little. In the modern world, many men shave part or all of their beards, or cut their beard so it does not get very long.

Some animals also have hair like this, and people sometimes also call this hair a beard.

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