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Uncle Sam is generally depicted with a goatee (painting by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917). Uncle Sam (pointing finger).jpg
Uncle Sam is generally depicted with a goatee (painting by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917).

A goatee is a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man's chin but not his cheeks. The exact nature of the style has varied according to time and culture.



Traditional goatee with moustache (19th century) Goatee line drawing.jpg
Traditional goatee with moustache (19th century)
A more modern combination of goatee and moustache Goatee (PSF).png
A more modern combination of goatee and moustache

Until the late 20th century, the term goatee was used to refer solely to a beard formed by a tuft of hair on the chin—as on the chin of a goat, hence the term 'goatee'. [1] By the 1990s, the word had become an umbrella term used to refer to any facial hair style incorporating hair on the chin but not the cheeks; [2] there is debate over whether this style is correctly called a goatee or a Van Dyke. [3]


The style dates back to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. The god Pan was traditionally depicted with goat-like features, including a goatee. When Christianity became the dominant religion and began copying imagery from pagan myth, Satan was given the likeness of Pan, [4] leading to Satan traditionally being depicted with a goatee [5] in medieval art and Renaissance art.

The goatee would not enjoy widespread popularity again until the 1940s, when it became a defining trait of the beatniks in the post-World War II United States. The style remained popular amongst the counter-culture until the 1960s before falling out of favor again. In the 1990s, goatees with incorporated mustaches became fashionable for men across all socioeconomic classes and professions, and have remained popular into the 2010s.

In the media, goatees have often been used to designate an evil or morally questionable character; the convention has most consistently been applied in media depicting evil twins, with a goatee often being the sole physical difference between the twins. [6] Goatees have also been used to signify a character's transformation from positive or neutral to evil. The use of goatees to designate evil characters has become enough of a trope that researchers from the University of Warwick conducted a study to assess the reasons for its prevalence. The study found that the human brain tends to perceive downwards-facing triangles as inherently threatening; brains tend to perceive goatees as making the human face resemble a downwards-facing triangle, causing individuals to subconsciously perceive those with goatees as inherently sinister or threatening. [6]

In media depicting members of counter-cultures, goatees have also been used to differentiate between average characters and those belonging to some subgroup. Examples include Bob Denver on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis , whose goatee serves to identify him as a beatnik; Shaggy Rogers on Scooby Doo, Where Are You? , who is, in part, identified as a hippie by his goatee; and the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow, who was visually redesigned with such a beard in the late 1960s, inspiring writer Dennis O'Neil to re-imagine him as a politically active counter-culture hero.

See also

Related Research Articles


Beatnik was a media stereotype prevalent throughout the late 1940s, 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s. Elements of the beatnik trope included pseudo-intellectualism, drug use, and a cartoonish depiction of real-life people along with the spiritual quest of Jack Kerouac's autobiographical fiction.

Beard Facial hair

A beard is the hair that grows on the chin, upper lip, lower lip, cheeks, and neck of humans and some non-human animals. In humans, usually only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. Some women with hirsutism, a hormonal condition of excessive hairiness, may develop a beard.

Sideburns Patches of facial hair grown on the sides of the face

Sideburns, sideboards, or side whiskers are facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline to run parallel to or beyond the ears. The term sideburns is a 19th-century corruption of the original burnsides, named after American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside, a man known for his unusual facial hairstyle that connected thick sideburns by way of a moustache, but left the chin clean-shaven.

Moustache Facial hair grown above the upper lip

A moustache is facial hair grown above the upper lip. Moustaches have been worn in various styles throughout history.

Handlebar moustache

A handlebar moustache is a moustache with particularly lengthy and upwardly curved extremities. These moustache styles are named for their resemblance to the handlebars of a bicycle. It is also known as a spaghetti moustache, because of its stereotypical association with Italian men. The Handlebar Club humorously describes the style as "a hirsute appendage of the upper lip and with graspable extremities".

Walrus moustache

The walrus mustache is characterized by whiskers that are thick, bushy, and drop over the mouth. The style resembles the whiskers of a walrus, hence the name.

Fu Manchu moustache Style of facial hair

A Fu Manchu moustache or simply Fu Manchu, is a full, straight moustache that originates on the corners of the mouth and grows downward past the clean-shaven lips and chin in two tapered "tendrils", often extending past the jawline. An expansion of the Fu Manchu sometimes includes a third long "tendril" descending from a small patch on the chin.

Soul patch Style of facial hair

A soul patch is a single small patch of facial hair just below the lower lip and above the chin.

Eponymous hairstyle

An eponymous hairstyle is a particular hairstyle that has become fashionable during a certain period of time through its association with a prominent individual.

The World Beard and Moustache Championships is a biennial competition hosted by the World Beard and Moustache Association (WBMA), in which men with beards and moustaches display lengthy, highly styled facial hair.

Shaving in Judaism

Judaism prohibits shaving with a razor on the basis of a rabbinic interpretation of Leviticus 19:27, which states, "You shall not round off the side-growth on your head, or destroy the side-growth of your beard." The Mishnah interprets this as a prohibition on using a razor on the beard. This prohibition is further expanded upon in kabbalistic literature. The halakhic prohibition applies to shaving off the pe'ot (sidelocks) and corners of the beard by means of a razor.

Manga iconography

Japanese manga has developed its own visual language or iconography for expressing emotion and other internal character states. This drawing style has also migrated into anime, as many manga stories are adapted into television shows and films. While this article addresses styles from both types of output, the emphasis here is on the manga origins for these styles.

Van Dyke beard Style of beard comprising a moustache and a goatee with all hair on the cheeks shaven

A Van Dyke is a style of facial hair named after the 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641). A Van Dyke specifically consists of any growth of both a moustache and goatee with all hair on the cheeks shaved. Even this particular style, though, has many variants, including a curled moustache versus a non-curled one and a soul patch versus none. The style is sometimes called a "Charlie" after King Charles I of England, who was painted with this type of beard by van Dyck. "Pike-devant" or "pickedevant" are other little-known synonyms for a Van Dyke beard.

Fur Rondy has been held in Anchorage, Alaska during the late winter since 1950. It is a celebration of the time when trappers would return to the city to gather and share stories, sell their furs and antlers, and to socialize. It also commemorates the start of the Iditarod. One part of Fur Rondy is the Miners and Trappers Ball, which is a fundraiser for the Lions Club's of Alaska. The Miners and Trappers Ball has a yearly theme focused on one part of Alaskan life. The highlight of the Miners and Trappers Ball is the Mr. Fur Face beard contest. The contest is sponsored by the South central Alaska Beard and Mustache Club.

Facial hair

Facial hair is hair grown on the face, usually on the chin, cheeks, and upper lip region. It is typically a secondary sex characteristic of human males. Men typically start developing facial hair in the later stages of puberty or adolescence, around fifteen years of age, and most do not finish developing a full adult beard until around eighteen or later. Large variations can occur however, as boys as young as eleven have been known to develop facial hair. Women are also capable of developing facial hair, especially after menopause, though typically significantly less than men. Men may style their facial hair into beards, moustaches, goatees or sideburns; many others completely shave their facial hair and this is referred to as being "clean-shaven". The term whiskers, when used to refer to human facial hair, indicates the hair on the chin and cheeks.

Facial hair in the military

Facial hair in the military has been at various times common, prohibited, or an integral part of the uniform.

Mexican mask-folk art

Mexican mask-folk art refers to the making and use of masks for various traditional dances and ceremony in Mexico. Evidence of mask making in the country extends for thousands of years and was a well-established part of ritual life in Mexico when the Spanish arrived. In the early colonial period, evangelists took advantage of native customs of dance and mask to teach the Catholic faith although later, colonial authorities tried to ban both unsuccessfully. After Independence, mask and dance traditions showed a syncretism and mask traditions have continued to evolve into new forms, depicting Mexico's history and newer forms of popular culture such as lucha libre. Most traditional masks are made of wood, with others made from leather, wax, cardboard, papier-mâché and other materials. Common depictions in masks include Europeans, Afro-Mexicans, old men and women, animals, and the fantastic/supernatural, especially demons/the Devil.

<i>Self-Portrait with a Sunflower</i> Painting by Anthony van Dyck

Self-Portrait with a Sunflower is a self-portrait by Anthony van Dyck, a Flemish Baroque artist from Antwerp, Spanish Netherlands. The oil on canvas is thought to have been painted between the years 1632-1633. Produced at the height of his fame, Anthony van Dyck served as "principal Paynter in order to their Majesties" in the court of Charles I of England whilst working on this self-portrait. The symbolism behind the sunflower and gold chain have been a point of contention amongst various art historians. His successful ventures in the southern part of the Netherlands and Italy propelled him into a career as court painter and made him a favourite of King Charles I and his court. Van Dyck's devotion for capturing the likeness of his models gave him authority over the world of portraiture long after his death in 1641. With such a long and storied career in art, his portrait technique evolved into what is referred to as his Late English period as seen in Self-Portrait with a Sunflower. This work is now in the private collection of the Duke of Westminster, housed at Eaton Hall in Cheshire.

Secular laws regulated hairstyles exist in various countries and institutions.


  1. "goatee". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  2. Howard, Rebecca (10 September 1992). "Year of the Goat: Goatee is kicking again". The Globe and Mail .
  3. Shrieves, Linda (12 November 1993). "Goatees, the new hair apparent". The Buffalo News .
  4. Burton Russell, Jeffrey (1987). The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity. Cornell University Press. pp. 125–126. ISBN   0801494095.
  5. Ferber, Michael (2017). "Goat". A Dictionary of Literary Symbols. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-1-107-17211-1.
  6. 1 2 "Scientists Prove that a Goatee Makes you Look Evil". i09.com. Retrieved 1 June 2012.