beaver1 /ˈbiːvə/


I. noun

1. a large semiaquatic broad-tailed rodent native to North America and northern Eurasia. It is noted for its habit of gnawing through trees to fell them in order to make dams.

●Family Castoridae and genus Castor: the North American C. canadensis and the Eurasian C. fiber.
2. [ mass noun] the soft light brown fur of the beaver.

long coats trimmed with light beaver.
3. (also beaver hat)
‹chiefly historical› a hat made of felted beaver fur.
4. (also beaver cloth) [ mass noun] a heavy woollen cloth resembling felted beaver fur.
5. a very hard-working person.

Hopkins was a regular beaver where gardening was concerned.
6. ( Beaver) a boy aged about 6 or 7 who is an affiliated member of the Scout Association.
II. verb [no obj.] (usu. beaver away)

‹informal› work hard

Bridget beavered away to keep things running smoothly.
– origin Old English beofor, befor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bever and German Biber, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘brown’.

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