MERKIN in the OED
jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Nov 11 20:37:39 UTC 2002
On Mon, Nov 11, 2002 at 03:23:06PM -0500, George Thompson wrote:
> The original sense was probably from gambling, as in the citation below:
> a1953: [A horse trainer] looked about for a ?beard? -- a man
>with whom he had no ostensible connection -- to do his
>betting for him.
> As I recall, HDAS doesn't have the gambling sense; for the
>dating sense, it says, in part: 1956, etc.; (note beard, n,
>3b, a companion or escort, limited to Homosex. use, from
Actually, HDAS sense 3.a. is indeed "_Gamb._ a go-between who
places bets for another in order to protect his identity;
(broadly) an unacknowledged agent". But your 1953 example above
is an antedating; the first example in HDAS is 1956.
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