Nautical, Aeronautics. at right angles to the fore-and-aft line: The vessel was sailing with the wind directly abeam.
directly abreast the middle of a ship's side.

Origin of abeam

First recorded in 1830–40; a-1 + beam
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of abeam

British Dictionary definitions for abeam


adverb, adjective

(postpositive) at right angles to the length and directly opposite the centre of a vessel or aircraft

Word Origin for abeam

C19: a- ² + beam
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

Word Origin and History for abeam

"at right angles to the keel," c.1836, nautical, literally "on beam;" see a- (1) + beam (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper