Main definitions of beaver in English

: beaver1beaver2beaver3

beaver1

noun

  • 1A large semiaquatic broad-tailed rodent native to North America and northern Eurasia. It is noted for its habit of gnawing through trees to fell them in order to make dams.

    • ‘At the Farmington River we found several trees that were gnawed on by the beavers.’
    • ‘The bear, wolf, coyote, fisher, wolverine, otter, and lynx prey upon the beaver who is, nevertheless, a powerful antagonist when at bay.’
    • ‘Sycamores naturally grow in river bottoms, and beavers use the young trees for dams and houses.’
    • ‘I was investigating the impact of beavers in a forest in Slitere National Park in northern Latvia.’
    • ‘Here on the U.S.-Canadian border along the Saint Lawrence River, I have been observing six beaver colonies this winter, and beavers from five of them have been out frequently to harvest trees and brush.’
    • ‘Modern beavers are found in North America, northern Europe, and northern Asia.’
    • ‘One of the favorite targets of the trappers in North America was the beaver, the largest of the North American rodents.’
    • ‘Although the beaver's industrious habits, wholesome diet, and generally meritorious lifestyle have endeared it to many human beings, the fact remains that beavers are also prized for their flesh, and are eaten.’
    • ‘Other animals that may carry and transmit the disease include beavers, muskrats, water and field voles, water and wood rats, squirrels, and lemmings.’
    • ‘For all the interest in leopards, Waser thinks philopatry may turn out to be more common in species such as beavers, wood rats and kangaroo rats-animals in which females make large investments in their ranges.’
    • ‘Some of these destructive species include beavers, muskrats, elk, deer, voles, marmots, prairie dogs and geese.’
    • ‘Living members of the group today include beavers, squirrels, guinea pigs, rats, mice, capybaras, and hundreds of other species, said Sánchez-Villagra.’
    • ‘There was no mention made of the fact that the beaver is a native North American species whereas the cherry trees are exotics, imported from Japan.’
    • ‘Birdwatchers and wildlife aficionados may see hawks, white-tailed deer, moose, black bears, martens, red squirrels and beavers, and, if very lucky, catch a glimpse of timber wolves.’
    • ‘Canada geese, muskrats, groundhogs, beavers, and various bird species may cause nuisance problems in and around the pond.’
    • ‘This slow-moving creature is Canada's largest rodent next to the beaver.’
    • ‘So-called open-root teeth are common to animals that gnaw, such as beavers.’
    • ‘The Rodentia also includes beavers, muskrats, porcupines, woodchucks, chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, marmots, chinchillas, voles, lemmings, and many others.’
    • ‘Yes, beavers are industrious rodents whose dams help our river systems.’
    • ‘Harvested and driven from its habitat until it disappeared from much of the northeastern U.S., the beaver is now making such a strong comeback that it is becoming a nuisance in some areas.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun] The soft light brown fur of the beaver:
      ‘long coats trimmed with light beaver’
      • ‘From the early French fur traders of the 17th century to the early trading posts established by the Hudson's Bay Company, fur, and more specifically beaver pelts, were a source of income and fortune for early settlers.’
      • ‘These ethnic artefacts use interesting materials such as beaver fur, moose hide and deer toes.’
      • ‘There is beaver or printed silver for fur trim used with leather for collars, sleeves and belts.’
      • ‘Her coffin was lovingly wrapped in muskrat, beaver and fox furs and lowered into the ground by her family.’
      • ‘‘I've got a little booklet from there that gives you three different recipes for beavers, and has a picture of a dolly bird draped in beaver furs,’ he added.’
      • ‘The greatest reward went to the post master who received one shilling for each score of beaver or an amount of furs of the same value.’
      • ‘There were six different furs to choose from including brown and grey Persian lamb, and beaver.’
      • ‘Defence chiefs decided to stop making the busbies worn by the King's Troop from beaver fur several years ago, after protests that the animal was in danger of becoming extinct.’
      • ‘A ninth generation Early, Charles, who masterminded the move to Sedbergh, said the Indians used to equate the brightly coloured blankets' value to how many beaver skins they were worth.’
      • ‘The 1925 Hudson's Bay Point blanket's short indigo stitch lines, or ‘points,’ indicate how many beaver pelts it once traded for.’
      • ‘In the slap of waves against the rocky shore one can imagine hearing phantom brigades moving across the lakes, paddling in close line astern, their canoes piled high with beaver pelts destined for Bond Street and the rue de Rivoli.’
      • ‘Also on the program that night were the Marshall Dancers from the Lower Yukon, dressed in sumptuous headdresses that were trimmed with wolf and beaver fur.’
      • ‘These skins - especially beaver - were quite valuable and used in the Eastern states and in Europe for top hats, coats and other expensive clothing.’
      • ‘The biggest difference was that New Netherland and its port town were together principally a trading colony, buying beaver and other fur skins from the Indians to sell at a profit in Europe.’
      • ‘It was once extremely abundant throughout most of the continent but went into decline as early as 1638, mainly because the great insulating qualities of beaver fur made it the best material for hat manufacture.’
      • ‘The first exploration of Canada's interior was for the purpose of finding beaver pelts to satisfy the obsession with fur coats by the European elite.’
      • ‘He handed the Huronian Native the promised items and received the soft beaver pelts, placing them with the rest from that day.’
      • ‘Exceptions to this rule are dark sheared faux furs, such as black sheared beaver and longhaired Mongolian lamb; cut these with the pile running upward.’
    2. 1.2historical A hat made of felted beaver fur.
      • ‘Savvy Yanker bankrollers in Missouri rounded up a bunch of tough lads for capturing beaver pelts to satisfy the rage of the day - the beaver hat.’
      • ‘Headlining the array of unique lots already donated to the auction are a 50 foot round pen from MD Barns, a 100X pure beaver hat from Sean Ryon, and a TR3 Drag from Absolute Innovations.’
      • ‘Skepticism regarding the new officer was confirmed after he appeared in camp at Swift Run Gap wearing a conspicuous Prince Albert coat and large beaver hat, holding an umbrella to shield himself from the sun, as troops jeered him.’
      • ‘Franklin used his fame to win an alliance with France, even letting himself be pictured in a beaver hat.’
      • ‘After a series of assassination attempts, Wirz was forced to make most of his journey to Washington in disguise: clean-shaven, and in a black suit and beaver hat.’
      • ‘They were fairly large specimens, dressed for the evening in the beaver hats and red flannel shirts favored by rough sporting men.’
      • ‘Padlin doubted his eyes were visible, shadowed from the overhead gaslights by the brim of his beaver hat.’
      • ‘He nodded and Jeffries handed him his gloves, his beaver hat, and cane.’
      • ‘Along the old lanes there is still the feeling of Nouvelle France, of fur-trappers and voyageurs, of hearty chaps in beaver hats and birch-bark canoes who disappeared into the interior to hunt, to fish and to marry Iroquois brides.’
    3. 1.3[mass noun] A heavy woollen cloth resembling felted beaver fur.
      • ‘The overcoat was of navy blue beaver cloth, double-breasted, rolling collar, pocket-welts on back, breast pocket with flap on the right side, the waist extending to one inch below the hip, and the skirt to three inches below the bend of the knee, swell edge stitch one-fourth of an inch from edge, flaps on pocket, swell edge stitched one fourth of an inch from edge.’
      • ‘The annual production is about 120,000 yards of all-wool beaver cloth.’
      • ‘This tenant house, 1 of 7, was part of a mill complex that mainly made jeans and beaver cloth.’
      • ‘The Sears ad copy, ‘The coat is made from an extra good quality Rareton Mills blue beaver cloth and makes a very dressy and warm garment.’’
      • ‘After Grant's death, the Springfield Republican newspaper noted that Gerhardt had spent time at Mt. McGregor and made a model of the General representing him in his chair in his beaver cloth dressing gown, holding his pencil in his right hand and his writing pad on his knee.’
      • ‘Florence was given away by her father and wore a travelling dress of brown beaver cloth with hat and gloves to match.’
      • ‘It is similar to beaver cloth but lighter and finer.’
    4. 1.4 A very hard-working person:
      ‘Hopkins was a regular beaver where gardening was concerned’
      • ‘Working not only across Simenon's Electric Tones label but also having finishing the latest Bomb The Bass record, the London duo of Corker and Conboy have certainly been busy little beavers over the past year.’
      • ‘The champions were blessed to be in front and may thank their backs for keeping them in the contest, while Doyle and Stephen worked like beavers in the middle trying to curb the supremacy of Byrne.’
      • ‘However, Hickey and Coady played manfully in defence - the latter the man of the match given the pressure they were under - while Kehoe and Bambrick also had to work like beavers.’
      • ‘There's a small bit on Liffey Street and their working away like beavers to have that done by Thursday night.’
      • ‘I have been a busy little beaver this week in Canberra, oh yes.’
      • ‘On the other hand Mitchels, who were playing a lot of under-16s in the team, worked away like beavers with Damian and Eamon shooting past the Harps keeper.’
      • ‘This alone was fascinating for the children and working like beavers, they followed his instructions on the cutting, joining and pasting of the pieces for the actual assembly of their own rubber-powered model plane.’
      • ‘Busy beaver President Clinton has been working hard in his final days.’
      • ‘The new and groovy first, and the only non financial slice today: Those busy beavers at Tom's have been to the Embedded Processor Forum in San Jose, and they reckon there's a lot of interesting stuff heading this way.’
      • ‘Sorry there's no proper post from me today as I've been a busy little beaver…’
      • ‘As CEOs tell it, rewarding executives and employees with stock options makes them all busy beavers bent solely on increasing their company's value.’
      • ‘Engineers are working like beavers, but it appears that our homes are in no immediate danger.’
  • 2A boy aged about 6 or 7 who is an affiliated member of the Scout Association.

    • ‘Tullow Cub Scouts are currently taking names for January 2004 for Beavers aged 6 to 8 and Cubs aged 8 to 11.’
    • ‘The Beavers, Cubs and Scouts plan to plot the course of the balloons as reports roll in and put the information on a notice board at their hut in Heslington.’
    • ‘Tickets are available from any member of Beavers, Cubs or Scouts and cost just 2.’
    • ‘It was particularly shocking that this dreadful language was directed at a group that included members of the Cubs, Brownies and Beavers.’
    • ‘The group has around 80 members, with Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.’
    • ‘The presentation was accepted on behalf of the De La Salle Group by two of their youngest members, Beavers, Robert and Bill.’
    • ‘York City Scouts had also booked the rink last night for hundreds of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and leaders.’
    • ‘They also said that if required to vacate the site they must have alternative premises for the weekly meetings of 60 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.’
    • ‘The scouts, who include Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts, got together to raise money for scouting in areas affected by the Tsunami.’
    • ‘The party of local Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, leaders and family members made the journey by coach.’
    • ‘More than 30 Beavers, Scouts and Sea Scouts took part in a number of waterborne activities to celebrate the reopening.’
    • ‘As a result the 115 members of its Beaver colony, two Cub packs and Scout troop have had to meet in community centres and halls across town.’
    • ‘The marchers included three bands and many different troops of youth organisations, from the Boys' Brigade down to the youngest Cubs and Beavers.’
    • ‘The existing centre was built in 1959 and plays host to more than 20 community groups, including the Brownies, Beavers and a judo club.’
    • ‘Front seats were reserved for the Ladybirds, Girl Guides, Cubs, Beavers and Boy Scouts, all of whom had paraded from the Bandroom in glorious sunshine.’
    • ‘Around 360 Scouts, Cubs Beavers and Explorers and their leaders attended the three-day camp at the weekend.’
    • ‘Now he has ended up in charge with a full colony of 25 Beavers, 21 Cub Scouts, 21 Scouts - and a waiting list.’
    • ‘Joshua, who lives at Carleton-in-Craven, has been a member of the Beavers for 18 months and will now move on to the Cubs.’
    • ‘He helps out with the Beaver and Cub groups and behind the scenes with the Bradfordians drama group.’
    • ‘The Scout group has ten Cubs and 16 Beavers, both boys and girls, and there is a waiting list for new members.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]usually beaver away
informal
  • Work hard:

    ‘Bridget beavered away to keep things running smoothly’
    • ‘Orchard and his growing cadre of workers have been beavering away at the tough but always rewarding slog of organization ever since.’
    • ‘Just imagine two dozen toddlers beavering away in a big, busy room: the only way to avoid utter chaos is by establishing and enforcing clear rules about sharing, non-violence, cooperation, and respect.’
    • ‘Already, they have funding and building advisory committees in place, a business plan and promotional brochure in the pipeline and a project team beavering away on the project.’
    • ‘Mowbray says fielding trialists is one of the many ‘options’ being considered as he beavers away to bolster a fresh-faced squad with some well-kent faces.’
    • ‘In Toronto neighbourhoods far from the downtown, a loose coalition of people has been beavering away to raise public concern about the city's proposed Official Plan.’
    • ‘At the top, Julie of St Lucia is covering the two balloons with newspaper strips (while Spencer beavers away in the background).’
    • ‘Any day now, I can just picture it, I'll nip down to them in the basement and they'll be beavering away at Two Gentlemen of Verona or A Midsummer Night's Dream.’
    • ‘But maybe a PR system would encourage some of the old Labour figures to make a break or allow some new far-left formation to emerge - it would certainly encourage people to ‘do a Galloway’ rather than beaver away for change inside Labour.’
    • ‘In a house in Burley-in-Wharfedale a woman beavers away on her sewing machine in the early hours, surrounded by mountains of cloth.’
    • ‘The Malton end has been beavering away furiously over the last few weeks and the Boulton & Cooper boardroom has been more like the trading floors of the Stock Exchange as opposed to a Land Agents office!’
    • ‘Holmes has been quietly beavering away for a while now, working his way up from semi-ambient dance to stuff like the new album, Free Association, which sounds not unlike a New York jazz club in hell.’
    • ‘No, really, we've been working hard, beavering away while Jane, who normally occupies this slot, has sloped off on the piste in Les Alps.’
    • ‘Back in the golden days of the space age, artists were beavering away in studios all over America creating visions of the future (a future that never came?).’
    • ‘Workers in bright-yellow hard hats are beavering away, moving bucketloads of stones in wheelbarrows and trying to clear a pile of rubble with a digger.’
    • ‘We're still working hard, closing teams down, and beavering away until we get a result.’
    • ‘The committee beavers away trying to have everything right and trying to make ends meet.’
    • ‘The card showed a 19th century photograph of a young boy, no more than eight, stoking the furnace in a grimy workshop, surrounded by men beavering away along a production line.’
    • ‘I was just beavering away finishing the rest of the songs and almost ignoring what was going on - I didn't want to think about it because I was worried that I'd get writer's block immediately and just clam up.’
    • ‘This weekend is a case in point, while much of Europe grinds to a halt, the Greeks are beavering away.’
    • ‘Reality rolls on, however, and this age cohort got married, had kids, and bought houses, and so for the last number of decades has been unheard from while beavering away at the mortgage and tuition payments.’
    work hard, toil, labour, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a trojan, work like a dog, work day and night, exert oneself, keep at it, keep one's nose to the grindstone, grind, slave, grub, plough, plod, peg
    View synonyms

Origin

Old English beofor, befor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bever and German Biber, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘brown’.

Pronunciation:

beaver

/ˈbiːvə/

Main definitions of beaver in English

: beaver1beaver2beaver3

beaver2

noun

  • The lower part of the face guard of a helmet in a suit of armour. The term is also used to refer to the upper part or visor, or to a single movable guard.

    • ‘The ghost wears the beaver, or visor, of the helmet raised.’
    • ‘But the only sport was to behold him eat; for by reason his helmet was on, and his beaver lifted, he could put nothing into his mouth himself if others did not help him to find the way.’

Origin

Late 15th century: from Old French baviere bib, from baver slaver.

Pronunciation:

beaver

/ˈbiːvə/

Main definitions of beaver in English

: beaver1beaver2beaver3

beaver3

noun

  • 1North American vulgar slang A woman's genitals or pubic area.

    1. 1.1 A woman regarded in sexual terms.
  • 2British informal, dated A bearded man.

    • ‘One walked with a companion; one saw a bearded man; one shouted "Beaver," scoring a point for every beard.’
    • ‘Skittish young girls would rush up to a bearded man in the street and tug his beard, yelling “Beaver!”.’

Origin

Early 20th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

beaver

/ˈbiːvə/