Word of The Day for Tuesday, January 18, 2011


po•go•no•tro•phy (po-guh-NAW-truh-fee)  n

the cultivation of beards, beard-growing

from Greek pogon "beard" + -trophy "nourishment, growth"

Related Words: pogonophile, one who loves beards; pogonophobia, a fear of beards; pogonology, the study of beards; pogonotomy, shaving

Sentence Examples:
• The men would look better and feel the better if they were allowed to wear the beard neatly trimmed; and there is no doubt the invaliding which is now so serious a burden to the country would be much reduced, to say nothing of the comfort of the soldier and sailor; and these deserve some consideration against the arguments of General Pipeclay and Admiral Tartar. Ten years' experience may have made us ourselves a little enthusiastic in favour of pogonotrophy; but if a total immunity from toothache, relaxed uvula, coughs, colds, and all the host of rheums be any inducement, then we can cordially recommend the beard in all its glory. -Temple bar, George Augustus Sala, Edmund Hodgson Yates
• It would be curious if pogonotrophy were to be one of the subjects on which our revived convocation was to be occupied. Such a thing is not so improbable, as already the beard-wearing of the clergy has been alluded to in the archdeacon's charge; and we could mention two bishops at least who have adopted the new fashion, though it should be added that the duties of these reverend prelates oblige them to encounter the terrors of climate, against which there is not a doubt the beard is a great protector. - Gazlay's Pacific monthly, John Penn Curry

The Storyline
Or was she just a fan of pogonotrophy, Anna randomly wondered of Sara.

Why This Word:

Do not — as a British journalist did some years ago — confuse this useful word with pogonotomy. Both originate in the Greek word pogon, a beard, but the latter ends in –tomia, cutting, and so is the word for trimming one’s beard, or shaving, the exact opposite of the writer’s intention. Pogonotrophy, on the other hand, ends with Greek trophe, nourishment, so its literal sense is “beard feeding”. Neither word is what you might call common; they usually appear only when somebody is writing in a mock-pompous, tongue-in-cheek way. Other words in pogon include pogonic, pertaining to a beard, and Pogonophora, the systematic name for a group of deep-sea worms; their name actually means “beard bearer”, which is odd, since they don’t have mouths to cultivate them around.

Sources: Free Dictionary, WordSmith, World Wide Words

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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