Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beard (the verb)

Beards are wonderful.  "Beard," too is wonderful, and it comes in not only noun form but also as a verb. What follows are a few definitions given in the OED followed by brief commentary.

1. To become bearded, get a beard. 

As in "Lewis, King of Hungary, was said to have bearded at age fifteen."

 2. To chip or plane away the edge of (timber) to a required shape.

As in "That bearded brute of a beastly-man climbed the tree with his bare hands and bearded the top of it into the bust of Brutus!"

 3. To brush or rub with the beard.

As in "Some of the young men were romping with the young girls and bearding their rosy faces" or "Daddy bearded me when we were wrestling."

And my all-time favorite:

 4. To oppose openly and resolutely, with daring or with effrontery; to set at defiance, thwart, affront. 

As in, "The bearded philosopher single-handedly bearded the politically correct hoard by means of argument; and when that failed he bearded them back with irony, satire, and a healthy share of contumely."

In our culture of gender confusion, men getting pedicures and wearing "skinny jeans," we might do well to recover the potentially frightening quality of masculinity recognized in the verb form of "beard." Not unlike C.S. Lewis's Aslan, the man with the beard just might "beard" you at any moment. I'd love nothing more than to hear someone say of me, because I have a beard: "He is not a tame man, but he is good."  

No comments:

Post a Comment