What Does The Term “Beard” Mean?

Have you ever wondered what the term “beard” really means? Its origin? Or even what it symbolizes? These are the questions we will be addressing today. To really understand the context of this very simple word, we will be taking you on a journey to the not-too-distant past. Back to the times when the word “beard” carried an even deeper meaning.

You may not understand this, but there is more to being a beardman. You might say, “it’s just facial hair, it’s no big deal”. But interestingly, there is more. That full and healthy looking mane is meant to give you that aura of prestige.

Sporting a beard has deeper (which is positive, by the way) and astonishing reasons. We will be serving you some findings that should be of good use.

Where did the word beard come from?

This is where the journey begins. Let’s answer the question, Where does the word “beard” come from? It was once thought that the origin of the word came from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word “bhardh-a” but new discoveries were made. According to my findings, the modern word “beard“ which we now use, might have started off as “barthaz” in the then Western Germanic lingo.

Some other languages adopted the word in the following ways;

  • Old High German – bart
  • Middle Dutch – baert
  • Old Frisian – berd
  • German – bart

It may also interest you to know that loving the concept of a beard is called pogonophilia and pogonophobia is the act of disliking beards. In the 13th Century, if someone was said to have “grown a beard”, it meant they were confronting someone openly.

Beard synonyms

Beard Synonyms - What Does The Term Beard Mean

What other words has been used in place of the word “beard”? There are many other words that can be used to refer to the word “beard”. Some of them may appear funny or weird but are generally accepted. They include:

  • Whiskers
  • Byssus
  • Hair
  • Brave
  • Tache
  • Goatee
  • Mane
  • Face
  • Moustache
  • Disguise
  • Facial hair
  • Mimpathy
  • Barb
  • Old timer
  • Brazen
  • Awn
  • outface
  • Wattles
  • Imperial
  • Confront

Isn’t it amazing how all these words can be used to refer to one thing? You are free to play around with the above words as they represent one thing, a man’s facial hair. We hope this helps widen your vocabulary.

Do note that some of these words, although acceptable may not be recognized by a lot of people. So don’t be surprised when you use it and your audience does not fully get the message. But of course, this shouldn’t stop you from learning and embracing new things.

Let’s move on to another topic that is considered controversial – the significance of a beard in Islam. You might have noticed but, almost any Islamic worshipper (speaking about the men) carry beards. Why is it a common practice? We will be finding out in the next section.

What does a beard symbolize in Islam?

Islam is a religion that is rich in its cultural heritage and also diverse in its composition. Islamic worshippers around the world belong to different racial and regional groups. But they are all bound together by a single and essential belief and practice.

The Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet both stand as the foundation for most of the beliefs and actions carried out by an Islamic believer.

In answer to the their Islamic perception of the beard, it is believed that in answer to the supplication made by our grandfather Adam, Allah made the growth of the beard a natural feature of the male species, a feature that represents more than just a facial hair. A feature of distinction that represents his dominance, wisdom and intellect.

In Allah’s words:

“And most certainly I (Shaytan) will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires, and bid them that they shall slit the ears of the cattle, and most surely I will bid them so that they shall alter Allah’s creation, and whoever takes the Satan for a guardian rather than Allah he indeed shall suffer a manifest loss.”
Chapter 4 (The Women / al-Nisa) Verse 119

It is for this reason that Allah admonishes his prophets and their devoted followers to retain beards. It is important to note that this is in no way meant to agitate or offend anyone who doesn’t have a beard.

Another reason for the beard is so that there would be a clear distinction between the male and the female. It was conceived that the physical beauty of a man and respect from others is determined by gromming a beard.

Cultivating a beard symbolises the muslim brotherhood. It is a sign of faith. Be it as it may that different regions wear different clothes and practice several customs, the common practice of growing a beard should be retained.

In the book al-Ja’fariyat a narration of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) quoted :

“The shaving of the beard is indeed considered an unjust action, may the curse of Allah befall those who are unjust”.

According to the law giver, Allah, Shaving of the beard is considered to be highly unlawful. It is even regarded as a sin and worthy of punishment. Why? Shaving the beard (in the light of Allah’s reasons for its creation) is an act of altering his creation. Shaving the beard is regarded as a grave sin, considered by Allah as injustice. This leaves a defualter subject to punishment as he is displeased with persons that commit injustice.

What is the Significance of a beard?

What Does A Beard Signify? - What Does The Term Beard Mean
What Does A Beard Signify? – What Does The Term Beard Mean

In the Middle-Age Europe, a beard symbolized a knight’s virility (manliness), honour and bravery. Having a beard was taken so seriously that holding somebody’s beard was considered an offence. The only way for parties to settle their scores was with a duel.

Ancient Greeks regarded the beard as a symbol of virility. There was also a time when shaving was done as a sign of mourning. At some point in time, having a smooth face was regarded as a sign of effeminacy(acting in a feminine manner).

So what does gromming a beard in our modern day society mean? What is the ideology that every bearded man stands for? Let’s find out.


Bearded men have always been associated with greatness. There is a certain air of confidence and pride that goes with a beardman that knows his worth.

Respect and admiration are attributed to a bearded man. Beards are perceived as being associated with maturity, expertise and knowledge.

The prestige of a beardman in this modern world cannot be mistaken. It’s this confidence, when properly channeled, that gives a bearded man the drive to achieve his every goal.

Sexual symbolism

The confidence felt is bound to affect his dress sense, voice and behavior. This caps up his whole masculinity and creates that air of sexual attraction. The charm and classy nature of a beards man cannot go unnoticed. There is this undeniable feeling of him being In charge.


Studies have shown that men with beards are perceived as older, stronger, more aggressive and knowledgeable. Studies have also revealed that men without beards always feel intimidated by men with beards. This of course gives a beards man an upper hand in landing opportunities and making strides.


Learning about the origin of words in a bid to better understand their meaning is an exciting and really smart thing to do. We hope that the information provided will be of help.

Thanks for sticking with us on this little adventure. We look forward to enlightening you on other intriguing topics. Satisfied with this write-up? We would love to get your inputs. Do you have questions and enquiries? Do drop a comment and we would address them adequately.

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