I. noun 1. a growth of hair on the chin and lower cheeks of a man’s face. • he had a black beard.
• [ mass noun]
three days’ growth of beard.
2. a tuft of hair on the chin of certain mammals, for example a lion or goat. 3. an animal’s growth or marking that is likened to a beard, for example the gills of an oyster, or the beak bristles of certain birds. 4. a tuft of hairs or bristles on certain plants, especially the awn of a grass. 5.
‹informal› a person who carries out a transaction, typically a bet, for someone else in order to conceal the other’s identity.
• the beard permitted the manipulator to protect the odds.
‹informal› a woman who accompanies a homosexual man as an escort to a social occasion, in order to help conceal his homosexuality.
• the closeted male and his female ‘beard’.
II. verb — [with obj.] 1. boldly confront or challenge (someone formidable). • he was afraid to beard the sultan himself.
III. phrases beard the lion in his den (or lair) confront or challenge someone on their own ground. IV. derivatives beardless /ˈbɪədləs / adjective
– origin Old English, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch baard and German Bart.