old-man's beard


: any of several clematises (especially Clematis vitalba) having plumose styles
: a greenish-gray pendulous lichen (Usnea barbata) growing on trees

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The usnea—also called old-man's beard—looked ethereal in the dappled afternoon sunlight. Hannah Wallace, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'old-man's beard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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Word History

First Known Use

1731, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of old-man's beard was in 1731

Dictionary Entries Near old-man's beard

Cite this Entry

“Old-man's beard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/old-man%27s%20beard. Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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Medical Definition

old-man's beard


: a greenish gray pendulous lichen of the genus Usnea (U. barbata) that grows on trees and is a source of usnic acid
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