[ beed ]
See synonyms for: beadbeadedbeadingbeads on

  1. a small, usually round object of glass, wood, stone, or the like with a hole through it, often strung with others of its kind in necklaces, rosaries, etc.

  2. beads,

    • a necklace of beads: You don't have your beads on this evening.

    • a rosary.

    • Obsolete. devotions; prayers.

  1. any small globular or cylindrical body.

  2. a drop of liquid: beads of moisture.

  3. a bubble rising through effervescent liquid.

  4. Usually beads. a mass of such bubbles on the surface of a liquid.

  5. the front sight of a rifle or gun.

  6. a reinforced area of a rubber tire terminating the sidewall and fitting within the rim of a wheel.

  7. Electricity. a glass, ceramic, or plastic insulator that contains and supports the inner conductor in a coaxial cable.

  8. Chemistry. a globule of borax or some other flux, supported on a platinum wire, in which a small amount of some substance is heated in a flame as a test for its constituents.

  9. Metallurgy. the rounded mass of refined metal obtained by cupellation.

  10. Architecture, Furniture. a small molding having a convex circular section and, usually, a continuous cylindrical surface; astragal.

  11. Welding. a continuous deposit of fused metal, either straight (stringer bead ) or zigzag (weave bead ).

verb (used with object)
  1. to form or cause to form beads or a bead on.

  2. to ornament with beads.

  1. Carpentry. to form a bead on (a piece).

verb (used without object)
  1. to form beads; form in beads or drops: perspiration beading on his forehead.

Idioms about bead

  1. count / say / tell one's beads, to say one's prayers, using rosary beads: There were a few old women counting their beads in the hushed silence of the chapel.

  2. draw / get a bead on, to take careful aim at: The marksman drew a bead on his target.

Origin of bead

before 900; Middle English bede prayer, prayer bead (where, on a rosary each bead symbolizes a prayer, the word for the notion symbolized was transferred to the designating object), Old English gebed prayer; akin to bid1, German Gebet

Other words for bead

Other words from bead

  • beadlike, adjective

Words Nearby bead Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bead in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bead


/ (biːd) /

  1. a small usually spherical piece of glass, wood, plastic, etc, with a hole through it by means of which it may be strung with others to form a necklace, etc

  2. a small drop of moisture: a bead of sweat

  1. a small bubble in or on a liquid

  2. a small metallic knob acting as the sight of a firearm

  3. draw a bead on to aim a rifle or pistol at

  4. Also called: astragal architect carpentry a small convex moulding having a semicircular cross section

  5. chem a small solid globule made by fusing a powdered sample with borax or a similar flux on a platinum wire. The colour of the globule serves as a test for the presence of certain metals (bead test)

  6. metallurgy a deposit of welding metal on the surface of a metal workpiece, often used to examine the structure of the weld zone

  7. RC Church one of the beads of a rosary

  8. count one's beads, say one's beads or tell one's beads to pray with a rosary

  1. (tr) to decorate with beads

  2. to form into beads or drops

Origin of bead

Old English bed prayer; related to Old High German gibet prayer

Derived forms of bead

  • beaded, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bead


see draw a bead on.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.