beaver

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Beavers

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 [script needed] (bawra), [script needed] (bawri) [script needed], Sanskrit बभ्रु (bábhru, mongoose; ichneumon)), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰreu- (shining, brown). Related to brown and bear.

Noun[edit]

beaver (plural beavers or beaver)

  1. An aquatic 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. A possibly different "beaver hat" is mentioned by Chaucer in both Canterbury Tales and Testament of Creeside, and indeed much earlier in Normandy Chronicle of the Abbey of St Wandrille refers to a hat given before 833 as "quem vulgaris Bevurum".[1]
    • Prescott
      a brown beaver slouched over his eyes
  3. (vulgar, slang) The pubic hair and/or vulva of a woman.
  4. The fur of the beaver.
  5. Beaver cloth, a heavy felted woollen cloth, used chiefly for making overcoats.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French baviere (child's bib), from baver (to slaver).

Noun[edit]

beaver (plural beavers)

  1. (now historical) The lower face-guard of a helmet.
    • 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!

Etymology 3[edit]

Alternative forms.

Noun[edit]

beaver (plural beavers)

  1. Alternative form of bever

References[edit]

Commons
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  1. ^ Notes and Queries Vol. 1 (21) 23 March 1850 Page 338
  • The Manual of Heraldry, Fifth Edition, by Anonymous, London, 1862, online at [1]