- the edible nutritious seed of various plants of the legume family, especially of the genus Phaseolus.
- a plant producing such seeds.
- the pod of such a plant, especially when immature and eaten as a vegetable.
- any of various other beanlike seeds or plants, as the coffee bean.
- a person's head.
- a coin or a bank note considered as a coin: I can't pay for the ticket, I don't have a bean in my jeans.
- British Informal. a minimum amount of money: They've been disinherited and now haven't a bean.
- beans, Informal. the slightest amount: He doesn't know beans about navigation.
- Slang. to hit on the head, especially with a baseball.
- beans, (used to express disbelief, annoyance, etc.).
- full of beans, Informal.
- energetic; vigorously active; vital: He is still full of beans at 95.
- stupid; erroneous; misinformed.
- spill the beans, Informal. to disclose a secret, either accidentally or imprudently, thereby ruining a surprise or plan: He spilled the beans, and she knew all about the party in advance.
Origin of bean
Examples from the Web for beans
While the beans are cooling and drying, melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
Combine the beans and onion sauce in a 9x9-inch casserole dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain immediately and immerse the beans in ice water to stop the cooking.The Barefoot Contessa’s Tasty Trip to Paris
November 27, 2014
De Merode sits at a long table and digs into a plate piled with rice, beans, and avocado.A Belgian Prince, Gorillas, Guerrillas & the Future of the Congo
November 6, 2014
Immigrants and fears about disease go together like beans and rice.At Least Two ‘Border Kids’ Have Swine Flu
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
July 2, 2014
Soak the beans overnight and then parboil them in soda water.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
Some prefer it with the beans boiled soft, but not quite dissolved.Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches
"Some greeny that wants a nickel's worth of beans, I suppose," said one.The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys
You've got so you think that hay and bread and pork and beans are all men live and die for!The Harbor
Where they could, they robbed the Indians of their scanty stores of corn and beans.Introductory American History
Henry Eldridge Bourne
- any of various leguminous plants of the widely cultivated genus Phaseolus producing edible seeds in podsSee French bean, lima bean, scarlet runner, string bean
- any of several other leguminous plants that bear edible pods or seeds, such as the broad bean and soya bean
- any of various other plants whose seeds are produced in pods or podlike fruits
- the seed or pod of any of these plants
- any of various beanlike seeds, such as coffee
- US and Canadian slang another word for head
- cool beans slang excellent; impressive
- not have a bean slang to be without moneyI haven't got a bean
- full of beans informal
- full of energy and vitality
- USmistaken; erroneous
- spill the beans informal to disclose something confidential
- mainly US and Canadian slang (tr) to hit (a person) on the head
Word Origin and History for beans
Old English bean "bean, pea, legume," from Proto-Germanic *bauno (cf. Old Norse baun, Middle Dutch bone, Dutch boon, Old High German bona, German Bohne), perhaps from a PIE reduplicated base *bha-bha- and related to Latin faba "bean."
As a metaphor for "something of small value" it is attested from c.1300. Meaning "head" is U.S. baseball slang c.1905 (in bean-ball "a pitch thrown at the head"); thus slang verb bean meaning "to hit on the head," attested from 1910.
The notion of lucky or magic beans in English folklore is from the exotic beans or large seeds that wash up occasionally in Cornwall and western Scotland, carried from the Caribbean or South America by the Gulf Stream. They were cherished, believed to ward off the evil eye and aid in childbirth.
Slang bean-counter "accountant" recorded by 1971. To not know beans (American English, 1933) is perhaps from the "of little worth" sense, but may have a connection to colloquial expression recorded around Somerset, to know how many beans make five "be a clever fellow."