Beard Stories: Beard in translation

(Originally written August 28, 2009)

Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Romanian = barba
French = barbe (looks to my American eyes like “Barbie,” although I’m sure that’s not how it’s pronounced. But I like the idea of a Barbie beard.)
Afrikaans, Dutch = baard, German = bart, Yiddish = bord
Croatian = brada, Latvian = bārda, Lithuanian = barzda, Slovenian = Brada, Polish = broda
Welsh = barf (ew)
Galician = Barbados (I’m assuming this is a translation error!?)

Hebrew = zakan (If I’m reading it right.)
Slovak = fúzy (! – my favorite)
Cockney rhyming slang = Strange and weird (I like this one!)

More:
Danish = skaeg, Icelandic = skegg, Swedish = skägg, Norwegian =skjegg
Albanian = mjeker
Czech = vousy
Estonian = habe
Filipino = balbas
Finnish = partaa
Hungarian = szakállt
Indonesian, Malay = jenggot
Irish =féasóg
Maltese = abjad
Swahili = ndevu
Turkish = sakal
Vietnamese = râu
(as a sidenote, it was interesting to find out which languages used which alphabets.)

Beards.org says my particular style is called a chin curtain, chinstrap, or Donegal.

Definitions, from various sources. 
v. defy, oppose
n. hair on the sides of the face and chin
(v. t.) To take by the beard; to seize, pluck, or pull the beard of (a man), in anger or contempt.
(v. t.) To oppose to the gills; to set at defiance.n. a tuft or growth of hairs or bristles on certain plants such as iris or grasses
n. a person who diverts suspicion from someone (especially a woman who accompanies a male homosexual in order to conceal his homosexuality)
n. tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surface
n. Of a woman, pubic hair.
v. go along the rim, like a beard around the chin; “Houses bearded the top of the heights”
(v. t.) To deprive of the gills; — used only of oysters and similar shellfish.
n. An imposition; a trick. [Obs.] –Chaucer.
(n.) A barb or sharp point of an arrow or other instrument, projecting backward to prevent the head from being easily drawn out.

From the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
Cutting the beard. The Turks think it a dire disgrace to have the beard cut. Slaves who serve in the seraglio have clean chins, as a sign of their servitude
Kissing the beard. In Turkey wives kiss their husband, and children their father on the beard.
To make one’s beard (Chaucer). This is the French “Faire la barbe à quelqu’un,” and refers to a barber’s taking hold of a man’s beard to dress it, or to his shaving the chin of a customer. To make one’s beard is to have him wholly at your mercy.
I told him to his beard. I told him to his face, regardless of consequences; to speak openly and fearlessly.

And from Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary:

Beard. The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews (Lev. 19:27; 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel’s (5:1-4) description of the “razor” i.e., the agents of an angry providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews. It was a part of a Jew’s daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil and perfume (Ps. 133:2). Beards were trimmed with the most fastidious care (2 Sam. 19:24), and their neglet was an indication of deep sorrow (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 41:5). The custom was to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isa. 50:6; Jer. 48:37; Ezra 9:3). The beards of David’s ambassadors were cut off by hanun (2 Sam. 10:4) as a mark of indignity.
On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Gen. 41:14).

Etymology
Beard O.E. beard “beard,” from W.Gmc. *barthaz (cf. M.Du. baert, Ger. bart), seemingly from PIE *bhar-dha “beard” (cf. O.C.S. brada, Lith. barzda, and perhaps L. barba”beard”). The verb is from M.E. phrase rennen in berd “oppose openly,” on the same notion as modern slang get in (someone’s) face. Pubic hair sense is from 1600s; in the 1811 “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,” the phrase beard-splitter is defined as, “A man much given to wenching” (see beaver).

And, related –
Bizarre – c.1648, from Fr. bizarre “odd, fantastic,” originally “handsome, brave,” from Basque bizar “a beard” (th notion being of the strange impression made in France by bearded Sp. soldiers); alternative etymology traces it to It. bizarro “angry, fierce, irascible,” from bizza “fit of anger.”

And finally, some beard quotes:

“All the men in my family were bearded, and most of the women.” – W.C. Fields
“To a man, ornithologists are tall, slender, and bearded so that they can stand motionless for hours, imitating kindly trees, as they watch for birds.” – Gore Vidal (Maybe that’s why I keep doing bird research.)
You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion.” – G. K. Chesterton
“There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard. ” – Jean Cocteau
“If you are really Master of your Fate, it shouldn’t make any difference to you whether Cleopatra or the Bearded Lady is your mate.” – Ogden Nash
Wisdom is in the head and not in the beard” – Swedish proverb. And, “If the beard were all, goats could preach” – Danish proverb
Or, more graphically, “A beard creates lice, not brains” – Greek proverb.
Alternately, “Chins without beards deserve no honour.” – Spanish proverb
I have the terrible feeling that, because I am wearing a white beard and am sitting in the back of the theatre, you expect me to tell you the truth about something. These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai.” – Orson Welles
Kissing a man with a beard is a lot like going to a picnic. You don’t mind going through a little bush to get there!” – Minnie Pearl
Seize opportunity by the beard, for it is bald behind” – Bulgarian proverb
“Upon shaving off one’s beard. The scissors cut the long-grown hair; the razor scrapes the remnant fuzz. Small-jawed, weak-chinned, bug-eyed, I stare at the forgotten boy I was.” – John Updike
When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.” -Shakespeare

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Categories: Beard Stories, bearded lady, bearded woman, Miscellaneous Info | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Beard Stories: Beard in translation

  1. auraleserin

    THANK YOU Rae!! This is phantastic! Good collection! Many things are also new to me! – V
    ery interesting to read all this!

  2. Pingback: Bart und Bedeutungen Link zu Blog von Rae « Frau mit Bart

  3. Hi, this is Pierre from Belgium. In French, the final e is never pronounced (as other final letters like s, with some exceptions). So barbe is pronounced “barb”.
    Thank you for your blog 😉

    • Ah. Thanks for the correction. =)
      I was also informed by a Welsh speaker that “barf” is not pronounced as I think it is. (Although I now forget what the actual pronunciation is.)
      Rae

  4. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write once more
    very soon!

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