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[beem-endz] /ˈbimˌɛndz/
plural noun
Nautical. the ends of the transverse deck beams of a vessel.
on her beam-ends, Nautical. heeled so far on one side that the deck is practically vertical:
The schooner was blown over on her beam-ends.
on one's / the beam-ends, Slang. in desperate straits, especially financial straits.
Also, on the beam's ends.
Origin of beam-ends
First recorded in 1765-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for beam-ends
Historical Examples
  • Why, sir, just to report one flag struck, and a commander-in-chief on his beam-ends.

    The Two Admirals J. Fenimore Cooper
  • Crewe picked him up at Monte Carlo, when he was on his beam-ends.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • But there were no masts now to hold the wind, so she stood up on her beam-ends.

    Labrador Days Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • Hove so completely over the beam-ends that the keel is above the water.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Two other vessels had been driven higher on shore, but lay on their beam-ends.

    Paddy Finn W. H. G. Kingston
  • Over went the schooner, till she lay helplessly on her beam-ends.

    Mark Seaworth William H.G. Kingston
  • I sprang on deck, and found that a squall had thrown the vessel on her beam-ends.

    Hurricane Hurry W.H.G. Kingston
  • To turn her side to the wind would have insured her being thrown on her beam-ends.

    The Lifeboat R.M. Ballantyne
  • They could see that the wreck was a small vessel on her beam-ends.

  • Jack Lawrence was always ready to show the way when we were on our beam-ends.

    Nic Revel George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for beam-ends


plural noun
the ends of a vessel's beams
on her beam-ends, (of a vessel) heeled over through an angle of 90°
on one's beam-ends
  1. out of resources; destitute
  2. desperate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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