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Etymology 1Edit


From Middle English bever, from Old English beofor (beaver), from Proto-Germanic *bebruz (beaver) (compare West Frisian bever, Dutch bever, French bièvre, German Biber, dialectal Swedish bjur), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰébʰrus (beaver) (compare Welsh befer, Latin fiber, Lithuanian bẽbras, Russian бобр (bobr), Avestan 𐬠𐬀𐬎𐬎𐬭𐬀(bauura), 𐬠𐬀𐬎𐬎𐬭𐬌(bauuri), Sanskrit बभ्रु (bábhru, mongoose; ichneumon)), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰerH- (brown). Related to brown and bear.


beaver (plural beavers or beaver)

  1. A semiaquatic rodent of the genus Castor, having a wide, flat tail and webbed feet.
  2. A hat, of various shape, made from a felted beaver fur (or later of silk), fashionable in Europe between 1550 and 1850.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Prescott
      a brown beaver slouched over his eyes
    • 1896: For the White Rose of Arno by Owen Rhoscomyl
      The woman's hair and woman's beaver had both been jerked off, exposing the cropped head of a man...
  3. (vulgar, slang) The pubic hair and/or vulva of a woman.
    • 2010 Dennis McFadden, Hart's Grove: Stories
      ...once she wore none at all, swears to this day that he saw her beaver that fateful Friday night.
  4. The fur of the beaver.
  5. Beaver cloth, a heavy felted woollen cloth, used chiefly for making overcoats.
  6. A brown colour, like that of a beaver.
    beaver colour:  
  7. A man who wears a beard.
    • 1936 P.G. Wodehouse, Laughing Gas:
      The beards were false ones. I could see the elastic going over their ears. In other words, I had fallen among a band of criminals who were not wilful beavers, but had merely assumed the fungus for purposes of disguise.
  8. A specialized part of a helmet designed to protect the lower face.
    • 1951 Adaptation of the 1885 Ormsby translation of Cervantes' Don Quixote, correcting Ormsby as to the portion of the helmet referred to by Cervantes (see Note 11 to Chapter II) at the suggestion of Juan Hartzenbusch, a 19th Century Director of the National Library of Spain.
      They laid a table for him at the door of the inn for the sake of the air, and the host brought him a portion of ill-soaked and worse cooked stockfish, and a piece of bread as black and mouldy as his own armour; but a laughble sight it was to see him eating, for having his helmet on and the beaver up, he could not with his own hands put anything into his mouth unless some one else placed it there, and this service one of the ladies rendered him.
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit


beaver (plural beavers)

  1. Alternative spelling of bevor
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act I, Scene 1,[1]
      Lord Stafford’s father, Duke of Buckingham,
      Is either slain or wounded dangerously;
      I cleft his beaver with a downright blow:
    • 1600, Edward Fairfax, The Jerusalem Delivered of Tasso, XII, lxvii:
      With trembling hands her beaver he untied, / Which done, he saw, and seeing knew her face.
    • 1819, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe:
      Without alighting from his horse, the conqueror called for a bowl of wine, and opening the beaver, or lower part of his helmet, announced that he quaffed it, “To all true English hearts, and to the confusion of foreign tyrants.”
    • 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur, or the Prince of Darkness, Faber & Faber 1992, p.128:
      As each one brings a little of himself to what he sees you brought the trappings of your historic preoccupations, so that Monsieur flattered you by presenting himself with beaver up like Hamlet's father's ghost!


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  • The Manual of Heraldry, Fifth Edition, by Anonymous, London, 1862, online at [2]