• Paul Anthony Jones

Barbatulous

(adj.) of a man, having only a small beard



A man described as barbatulous has only a small beard, or a decidedly unimpressive covering of facial hair.



That’s a word dating from sometime around the turn of the sixteenth–seventeenth centuries in English according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which has only one record of it, in an anonymous retelling of the story of Timon of Athens written around 1600.


Etymologically, there’s as little to report in this word as there are hairs on a barbatulous chin. At its root lies the Latin word for a beard, barba (famously the origin of words like barbarian and Barbados), which in turn forms the Latin adjective barbatus, meaning ‘bearded’. Tag onto that the Latin suffix –ulus, used to form small-scale diminutives, and you have a word for a man with a suitably diminutive beard.

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