Monday, 18 July 2005

What were sideburns called in the early 19th Century?

The Oxford English Dictionary (today's word of the day is "Stith", a word once found in Beowulf but now extinct south of the border) confirms what I have always been taught, which is that the word was formed from the name of the American Civil War General Ambrose Burnside who certainly sported an impressive set. But the Duke of Wellington had grown an albeit less impressive pair while Burnside was too young to shave, so what did he call them?


Michelle Miles said...

Whiskers? or Side-Whiskers perhaps?

Stephen said...

Whiskers is certainly an option - in John Fryer's A New Account of East India and Persia published in 1698 he says (about a Persian, apparently) "His beard is cut neatly, and the whiskers...encouraged from one ear to the other."

Pam Cleaver said...

I definitely vote for side whiskers, but weren't most Regency men clean shaven?