[[quoteright:250:[[VideoGame/StreetFighterIV http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gouken-beard.jpg]]]]
->"When I stroke the beard thusly, do I not appear more... intellectual?"
-->--[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Commander Data]] while trying on a fake beard.

This is the need for either [[OldMaster Old Masters]] or WickedCultured villains to stroke their [[BadAssBeard Bad Ass Beards]][=/=][[BeardOfEvil Beards Of Evil]] as a compulsion. [[DastardlyWhiplash Evil types]] usually do this while preparing their {{Evil Plan}}s, sipping AGlassOfChianti, and indulging in [[SlouchOfVillainy Villainous Slouching]]. This version is somewhat [[DiscreditedTrope discredited]] today.

These people don't necessarily need an actual beard, as even placing their hand on their chin where a beard would be while in thought can suffice.

This trait has several faces; the meticulous planning and deep thought this trope usually suggests tends to be associated with evil. The good type usually suggests a zen-like peacefulness. Some also liken it to shrinks stroking their Freud-like beards. The overarching theme with this trope is intellectualism ([[SmugSnake or at least sneakiness]]).

Compare PuttingOnMyThinkingCap.


* The quote above comes from an episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', where Data tried to emulate Riker GrowingTheBeard. The end result was so ridiculous that Troi had to excuse herself before she completely broke down, and Geordi only did a marginally better job of holding back his laughter.
* The ''PushingDaisies'' episode "Oh, Oh, Oh, It's Magic!". The magician does this when he tells Emerson in a very dramatic voice that he needs his help in solving the murders of his assistants.
* In an episode of ''ModernFamily'', some of Manny's friends draw a beard on his face with magic marker while he's asleep. He strokes his drawn-on beard this way while plotting his revenge.
* ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney:''
** A certain Mr. Phoenix Wright is always doing this in court while thinking.
** In Investigations, [[spoiler: Quercus Alba does it when cornered]]
* JudgeDee often does this.
* Pai Mei of ''Film/KillBill'' was awesome at this.
* Konoemon in ''MahouSenseiNegima'' often does this.
* Robin does this in ''RobinHoodMenInTights'' while pondering an archery contest. Then flicks his fingers clean.
* [[ComicStrip/FlashGordon Ming the Merciless]].
* So does [[Franchise/StarWars Obi-Wan Kenobi]] in the prequels: he usually strokes his beard meditatively just before doing something totally BadAss.
** He and Anakin Skywalker spend a good minute stroking their chins, signaling to each other on how they should make their getaway from General Grievous in a deleted scene from ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''.
* As shown above, [[OldMaster Gouken]] does this in his victory pose in ''StreetFighter IV''.
* [[RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms Guan Yu]] is one of the earliest examples. Just watch any Chinese opera show featuring him as a character.
* In Dragonlance, a dwarf stroking his beard is considered an insult to the party he's speaking to.
-->" Stroke your beard the wrong way, and the dwarves will bar the gates to the mountain once again." - Tanis Half-Elven
* Sokka of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' does this almost continuously while in his [[MemeticBadass Wang Fire]] disguise, whether he's pondering something or not. (Though since he is [[TheSmartGuy the idea guy]] and an engineering genius, it's probably safe to assume that there's something planning-related going on in that head of his.)
* Tenzin from SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' is prone to doing this. This would make his Uncle [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender Sokka]] ''so'' proud of him.
* Nolan of [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn]] does this in his character portrait
* Papa Smurf in ''TheSmurfs'' can be found doing this.
* Harima in ''SchoolRumble'', several times when he was keeping his beard long.
* Archeologist Radcliffe Emerson had a beard when he met AmeliaPeabody, but not after they married; he still strokes his chin meditatively as an action-equivalent to a CatchPhrase. The habit has even been picked up by other characters, including his daughter-in-law.
* EddieIzzard, regarding the change from ''Mr. Dog Canned Dog Food'' to ''Cesar'': "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJz-yZUOgtM Obviously there was a strokey-beard meeting at ''Mr Dog'' headquarters...]]"
* [[TheKingOfFighters Saisyu Kusanagi]].
* In a RareFemaleExample, a very beardless [[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick Nostalgia Chick]] does this in her Dreamworks video.
* Some Literature/{{Discworld}} characters have done this, including [[MagnificentBastard Vetinari]], [[EvilVizier Abrim]], and some of the older and wiser dwarves, who of course ''all'' have beards.
* ''{{Tales Of Xillia}}'': Resident CoolOldGuy Rowen does this. When Elize asks why he does, he explains it helps him think.
** Jiao also does this at times, such as when he activates [[SuperMode Overlimit]].