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hair on the lower portion of the face. The term mustache refers to hair worn above the upper lip. Attitudes toward facial hair have varied in different cultures. In ancient Egypt, as well as Turkey and India, the beard was regarded as a sign of dignity and wisdom. Beards continued into the Greek civilization until the 4th cent. B.C., when Alexander the Great ordered his soldiers shaved. The Romans, however, actually introduced the practice of regular shaving. The belief that the beard denotes wisdom was widespread in ancient China, and the cult of the beard has been dominant in Middle Eastern cultures from ancient times to the recent past. As a symbol of virility and status, the beard has often acquired religious significance. Muhammad enjoined his followers to grow beards; the Sikhs of India are not permitted to remove a single hair from their bodies; and the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel were bearded. Hindus, on the other hand, have traditionally been clean-shaven. Prior to the 7th cent., most Anglo-Saxons wore beards, but with the spread of Christianity, beards were discouraged. However, since that time beards of all sizes and shapes have appeared and disappeared with the cycles of fashion. The guardsman's mustache of the 18th and early 19th cent. was the sign of an army man, and after 1830 the beard became the emblem of the French radicals. In the 20th cent. beards and mustaches were generally out of fashion until the 1960s when, together with long hair, they became popular with young people.


See R. Reynolds, Beards (1950).




1. the hair growing on the lower parts of a man's face
2. any similar growth in animals
3. a tuft of long hairs in plants such as barley and wheat; awn
4. the gills of an oyster


Beards are usually associated with masculinity, wisdom, strength; and the men who have them typically command respect. Moses, Jesus, Charles Darwin, and Abraham Lincoln all had beards. Old dream interpretation books say that dreaming of bearded men is a good omen, and good luck will follow. On the other hand, dreaming about women with beards is said to be bad luck. It’s no wonder that traditionally a woman who is strong, wise, and who commands respect was considered threatening. If you are a woman dreaming that you have a beard, you may be dealing with your own issues of power. You may be using more masculine energy than you would like to or than is necessary. Also, since beards conceal the faces of those who have them, they may symbolize negative characteristics, such as deception, extreme guardedness, or of the shadow (Bluebeard, a folktale by Charles Perrault).
References in periodicals archive ?
205) This includes the descriptions of God as a beardless, curly-haired, young man.
Beardless, he looks (appropriately) like a big balloon.
And the Vatican has a third-century statue of the Good Shepherd in the guise of a beardless youth.
Hall established that police had a photo of a beardless Zakaria from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Crossan suggests that since the catacombs depict Jesus as a young, beardless shepherd, the early Christians were not that-interested in the passion narrative.
The first figure in the water has been interpreted as either sex, as have the two beardless smaller figures in the top of the scene as they could be women or children.
The approach to the tomb is dominated by a bust of the beardless Lincoln; the prominent nose has been rubber to a sheen for good luck by the millions who have visited the site.
Della Valle discovered had the gumption to wear his whiskers - and the courage to withstand all sorts of abuse - in the mid-19th century, an avowedly beardless era.
Key works from Florence and Naples are absent, including the latter's great portrait of the beardless Clement VII.
Therefore, a man who engaged in "active" intercourse with a beardless male-youth was not violating any gender roles, nor was he stereotyped as such.
Being a true record of that beardless and fearless Mountie, John Stinton, in one of his escapades in the back garden, enacted between the kitchen door and the shed.
They are immediately suspicious of this beardless youth who still manages to convince his prospective father-in-law he wants to join his law firm.