A goatee and a Van Dyke are two types of beard styles worn by men. They are both quite popular, but the Van Dyke is often more popular and is more often considered a professional look. The two styles are often confused because of their similarities, but a goatee only covers the chin, while a Van Dyke also includes a mustache.
Essentially, the goatee refers to a beard grown only on the chin — there are no sideburns and no connecting hairs leading to the upper lip. The term may come from the long hair grown on the chin of a goat. Contrary to many mis-definitions, this beard does not include a mustache, but refers only to growing a short to long patch of hair on the chin.
Conversely, the Van Dyke, also called the Van Dyck after the 17th century painter Sir Anthony Van Dyck, incorporates the goatee, but also has a mustache. The earliest Van Dykes were worn with elaborately curled mustaches. Today, most men wear a thin to moderately thick mustache with the beard, which is not waxed to curl upward. No hair is grown on the cheeks, so it is not a full beard.
The Van Dyke is a variation of the goatee, and some also refer to the classic goatee with this name. Hair worn only on the chin may also be called a chin beard if it is very long.
Another variant that has gained popularity is the patch of hair on the chin connected to side burns by growing hair across the bottom of the chin, and up the cheeks. The sideburns are grown long to meet the beard on the jaw and lower cheeks, and no mustache is worn. This is sometimes generically called a goatee, or more specifically a chinstrap or chinstrap beard.
Some further make distinction between these and other forms of beard. For example, a Van Dyke, when it completely connects the goatee to the mustache, may be called a circle beard. Many simply call this still a Van Dyke, or think of it as the classic form. Technically, however, a Van Dyke does not require connecting hair, and can merely be a combination of the mustache and goatee.