A Conversation for Sideburns

The origin of the name

Post 1

Cheerful Dragon

I once read that Burnside was a singularly inept commanding officer, reknowned for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. His name was reversed to form 'sideburns' because of this.

If anyone knows otherwise, please tell me.

The origin of the name

Post 2

Monsieur Beever

If sideburns are named after Ambrose Burnside, what were they called before that? Did he invent them as well? What about shaving, I wonder who thought of that first.

The origin of the name

Post 3

Doktor B-Zitch

Side burns are so named, NOT because of our fair friend Burnside, but simply because nothing makes sense. nothing.

The origin of the name

Post 4


In some parts of the world they were called mutton-chop whiskers, or variants of this. Certainly prior to the 50s in England, at any rate.

And yes, they were invariably associated with rustic cider drinkers.

Sideburns as we know them (the word and the style) seemed to appear with the "Teddy-Boy" fashions of the mid-50's in England.

The origin of the name

Post 5

Cheerful Dragon

Sideburns are also known as sideboards (don't know why), and were named after Burnside because he had a particularly luxuriant pair. I know, I've seen a picture of him.

The origin of the name

Post 6

Cheerful Dragon

Mutton-chop whiskers are particularly long sideboards trimmed to the shape of a mutton-chop. The sideburns worn by Burnside were trimmed shorter than this. (They actually joined up with his moustach.) I can't find any reference to side-whiskers of any kind before the end of the 19th century, at which point (apparently) they became variously known as sidebars, sideboards or side-whiskers. Sideburns was a later term, probably originating in USA (Burnside was an American officer!).

The origin of the name

Post 7

big chud

sideburns or whiskers as they were known were fashionable with victorian middle and upper class gentlemen between about 1840 to 1880 and were often worn, as in burnsides cause with a moutache in what i call an 'AMOS' set up (named after the emmerdale character who wore one for many years despite it making him look like an annorexic walrus).

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The origin of the name

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