I have come across it in the 17th episode of the 6th season of The Office. Here is the context:

Dwight: [on the phone with a client] Hey there. Dwight Schrute here. Listen, uh, would you be interested in restocking on paper? … Yeah, I could sure use the money. My cousin, uh, came down with a case of that nasty new goat fungus. Oh, it’s just horrific. The doctor says he’d never seen it beard so quickly. Okay.

  • Having not watched that episode for quite some time, I can only assume the meaning of beard (very rare to see that used as a verb) is likening the emergence of the effects of the fungus bushing out on Dwight's cousin, similarly to how a beard grows i.e. bushing out.
    – JMB
    Jan 11, 2021 at 10:56
  • I’m voting to close this question because it's about a deliberately quirky "misuse" for comedic effect. Nobody would normally use intransitive to beard to mean to grow / develop into a beard, and the transitive verb to beard [a dangerous enemy] isn't really connected - that one's a figurative usage alluding to [boldly] tweaking [a lion's beard, for example]. Jan 11, 2021 at 17:52
  • I guess comedy is part of any language and it's sometimes hard to get comedy when you are not a native speaker. Questions like that help me and other member to understand it. That is why I don't see why questions like that warrant to be closed. Jan 11, 2021 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


It seems to be a deliberate conflation of several ideas for comedic purposes.

  1. Goats are known for having beards

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  1. There is a fungus called goat's beard fungus. It has that name because it somewhat resembles the beard of a goat.

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  1. This fungus, like many others, can grow to a large size quite quickly (often overnight). This process could be called "bearding", i.e. forming a beard.

  2. Humans and other creatures can have fungal diseases, for example ringworm dermatophytosis, or athletes foot tinea pedis.

  3. The joke is that there is a new form of fungus that grows on humans. It is supposedly a relative of the goats beard fungus.

  4. The rather unpleasant and revolting picture we are supposed to imagine is that of a man who is infected with this (fictional) fungus, and it has formed a fungal outgrowth - perhaps on his face. It has formed a 'beard' on him very quickly.

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