in ,


Definition: The act of growing and cultivating facial hair.

Pronunciation: Poh-goh-no-tro-fee


Pogonotrophy is derived from two Greek words.  Pogon means beard, while trophe means nourishment.  So, literally the meaning of the word is beard nourishment or feeding.

Why this word?

My husband has become very fond of the comedian Nic Offerman who plays Ron Swanson on the television show Parks and Recreation.  Ron Swanson’s trademark moustache is a continual source of envy for my husband who finds facial hair extremely itchy (as well as frowned upon in his job).  I just find it amusing that women are expected to pluck, shave, and wax while men are (at least by some) encouraged to grow it all out.  Women never judge the extent of another woman’s abilities by the amount of leg hair or the length of her armpit hair (at least none that I’ve ever met), so it’s a bit of a foreign concept to me that some men are judged on their ability to grow facial hair.  It’s a pogonotrophic conundrum.


How to use the word pogonotrophy?

“His pogonotrophic abilities were legendary.  To her lifelong dismay and misfortune, so were hers.””

“Upon reaching manhood, the legend of his pogonotrophy began to spread, never fading until his death when the length of his beard surpassed his height twice over.”


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Written by Kate Fulton

Kate Fulton has a bachelor’s degree in classics and psychology from the University of Massachusetts and is working on a library science degree from Simmons College. She has always been fascinated by words- their usage, spelling, and etymology. Kate may be one of the few people who enjoyed the verbal section of the SAT. Yes, she is a word geek. Currently she bores her husband and young daughter with her love of vocabulary.


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