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Abraham Lincoln, who shaved his beard into a goatee at various points during his presidency.

Goatee refers to a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man’s chin. The exact nature of the style has varied according to time and culture.


Traditionally, the term goatee was used to refer solely to a beard formed by a tuft of hair on the chin—like on the chin of a goat, hence the term 'goatee'.[1] By the 1990s, the term was also used to refer to the style of facial hair that combines a chin beard and a short mustache;[2] there is debate over whether this style is correctly called a goatee or a Vandyke.[3]


The style dates back to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, where the god Pan was traditionally depicted with one. When Christianity became the dominant religion and began coopting imagery from pagan myth, Satan was given the likeness of Pan, leading to Satan traditionally being depicted with a goatee in medieval and renaissance art.

The goatee became popular again in the late 19th century, becoming one of the characterizing physical traits of the bohemians in Paris. In the USA, the style became popular around the time of the United States Civil War. Numerous wartime figures from the era wore variations on the goatee, including Abraham Lincoln, who shaved his beard into a traditional goatee at various points during his presidency.

The goatee would not enjoy widespread popularity again until the 1940s, when it became a defining trait of the beatniks in post-World War II US. 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 popular culture[edit]

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.[4] 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 of downwards-facing triangles as inherently threatening; brains tend to perceive of goatees as making the human face resemble a downwards-facing triangle, causing individuals to subconsciously perceive of those with goatees as inherently sinister or threatening.[5]

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 in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, whose goatee serves to identify him as a beatnik; Shaggy Rogers in 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 reimagine him as a politically active counter-culture hero.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "goatee". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  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. ^ "Scientists Prove that a Goatee Makes you Look Evil". i09.com. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Scientists Prove that a Goatee Makes you Look Evil". i09.com. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goatee — Please support Wikipedia.
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1985 news items


Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:07:30 -0700

Meet the Press host Chuck Todd's most enduring feature is his fiery goatee. But it is not without controversy. Back in 2009, Todd lost a bet with CNN's Jake Tapper that was supposed to result in Todd shaving off his face rug. To the disappointment of ...


Mon, 01 Sep 2014 03:48:14 -0700

... presenter and crisp fanatic took his place in the MOTD studio on Saturday night sporting a nascent covering of lip and chin hair. Cue a torrent of Twittering, with Piers Morgan leading the charge to point out that Gary's grey goatee was a bit, well ...


Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:13:38 -0700

While another added: "Gary Lineker adds a goatee and suddenly he looks like an amateur magician." Soon after poor Gary gave in to the mob and promptly shaved it off. It seems some men simply beard it better than others. Here's some other stars for whom ...


New York Post
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:46:00 -0700

There's a totally tubular goat making waves in California with out-of-this-world surfing skills. The four-legged surfer, dubbed Goatee, has been tearing it up at Pismo Beach with her trainer, Dana McGregor, who has managed to train her to hang 10.


Daily Beast
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:19:42 -0700

Todd Brings Goatee and Game to MTP Debut. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Chuck Todd makes his blushing debut on Meet the Press. Chuck Todd solemnized his marriage to Meet the Press, NBC News's 67-year-old ...
Page Six
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:07:30 -0700

Customarily well-coiffed Michael Douglas showed up to the Toronto International Film Festival with a fuzzy gray goatee and long hair — and he explained to us the look was for his role in Marvel's upcoming epic, “Ant-Man.” “I play the former Ant-Man ...

Birmingham Mail

Birmingham Mail
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:39:55 -0700

If you've been out and about anywhere over the last year or so you can't help but notice that facial fungus is just the cat's whiskers right now. With World Beard Day being (allegedly) celebrated around the globe yesterday (Saturday September 6) we ...

National Geographic

National Geographic
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 05:01:06 -0700

A tuft of receding hair was flecked with gray, as was his goatee. A soldier fumbled around him with a knot of power strips and adapters, while Machar held a satellite phone to his ear, occasionally talking softly, shifting among English, Nuer, and Arabic.

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