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A crew cut is a type of haircut in which the hair on the top of the head is cut relatively short, graduated in length from the longest hair at the front hairline to the shortest at the back of the crown. The hair on the sides and back of the head is usually tapered short, semi-short, or medium.
A short crew cut is sometimes referred to as a butch, though with the exception of variant forms, a butch differs from a crew cut in that the top hair is cut a uniform short length. A long crew cut can be referred to in the US as an ivy league crew cut or ivy league. A long crew cut might be graduated in length on the top of the head from one and a half inches(38mm) at the front hairline to one half inch(13mm) at the back of the crown. A short crew cut might have a similar proportional graduated difference in the length of the hair on the top of the head. If a short crew cut is three fourths of an inch(19mm) at the front hairline, the length of the hair at the back of the crown might be one fourth of an inch(6mm.) A crew cut where the hair on the top of the head is graduated in length from the front hairline to a chosen point on the mid to back part of the crown as a flat plane, of level, upward sloping or downward sloping inclination is known as a flat top crew cut or flattop. Crew cuts, flattop crew cuts, butch cuts and ivy leagues can be referred to as buzz cuts; all are traditionally groomed with hair control wax, commonly referred to as butch wax.
The term, originally crew haircut, was most likely coined to describe the hairstyles worn by members of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell and other university Crew teams, which were short to keep the hair from being blown into the face of the rower as the boat races down the course opposite the direction the rower is seated with both hands on the oars, making it impossible to brush the hair out of the face. The name drew a contrast to football haircuts, which had been long since 1889 when Princeton football players began wearing long hair to protect against head injury, thereby starting a trend, not altogether welcome; mop haired football players were frequently caricatured in the popular press. In 1895, the championship Yale football team appeared with "close-cropped heads" and subsequently long hair went out of style for football. Almost concurrently, the first helmets began to appear.
The crew cut, regardless of the term applied to the hairstyle, was not limited to, nor did the style originate in the United States. In English, the crew cut and flat top crew cut were formerly known as the pompadour or short pompadour, as well as the brush cut, and had been worn since at least the mid 18th century. The style went by other names in other languages; in French, coupé en brosse; in German, bürstenschnitt. A short pompadour with a flat top was considered the standard while a somewhat curved appearance across the top was suggested for wider foreheads and face shapes. The style with a flat top acquired the name brush top short pompadour and the style with a more rounded top, round top short pompadour. Prior to the invention of electric clippers with a motor in the handle in 1921 and their ensuing marketing and widespread use, barbers considered the perfect short pompadour to be the most time consuming style to trim.  Crew cuts were popular in the 1920s and 1930s among college students, particularly in the ivy league. The style was often worn as a summer haircut for its cooling effect. Men inducted into the military in World War II received G.I. haircuts, crew cuts, and a significant proportion continued to wear a crew cut while serving and after, as civilians. As long hair became popular in the mid 1960s, the crew cut and its variants waned in popularity through the 1970s. Crew cuts have almost exclusively been worn by men and boys, especially those of high school and college age who want to be perceived as clean cut and athletic. 
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