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Etymology 1[edit]

PIE word

From Middle English bever, from Old English befer, from Proto-West Germanic *bebru, from Proto-Germanic *bebruz, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰébʰrus (beaver), derived from the root *bʰerH- (brown).

Cognate with West Frisian bever, Dutch bever, French bièvre, German Biber, dialectal Swedish bjur. Non-Germanic cognates include Welsh befer, Latin fiber, Lithuanian bẽbras, Russian бобр (bobr), Avestan 𐬠𐬀𐬎𐬎𐬭𐬀(bauura), and Sanskrit बभ्रु (bábhru, mongoose; ichneumon). 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 shapes, made from a felted beaver fur (or later of silk), fashionable in Europe between 1550 and 1850.
    • 1855–1858, William H[ickling] Prescott, History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain, volume (please specify |volume=I to III), Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson, and Company, OCLC 645131689:
      a broad 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.
    • 1975, Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, spoken by McMurphy (Jack Nicholson):
      Between you and me, uh, she might have been fifteen, but when you get that little red beaver right up there in front of you, I don't think it's crazy at all and I don't think you do either.
    • 1997, Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights, spoken by Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly):
      Let's get some of that Saturday night beaver.
    • 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 (also called beaver brown).
  7. (slang) 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.
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

See bevor.


beaver (plural beavers)

  1. Alternative spelling of bevor (part of a helmet)
    • c. 1591–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene i]:
      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.”
    • 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.
    • 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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