- a horizontal structural member, usually transverse, for supporting the decks and flats of a vessel.
- the extreme width of a vessel.
- the shank of an anchor.
- walking beam.
- (in a loom) a roller or cylinder on which the warp is wound before weaving.
- a similar cylinder on which cloth is wound as it is woven.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- not on the course indicated by a radio beam.
- Informal.wrong; incorrect: The pollsters were off the beam again for the last presidential election.
- on the course indicated by a radio beam, as an airplane.
- Nautical.at right angles to the keel.
- Informal.proceeding well; correct; exact: Their research is right on the beam and the results should be very valuable.
Origin of beam
Synonyms for beam
Related Words for beamgirder, scaffolding, joist, shaft, pillar, pole, plank, timber, sill, radiation, bar, glow, ray, laser, shine, glare, transmit, radiate, emit
Examples from the Web for beam
Contemporary Examples of beam
Back then, no one ever imagined needing to beam live video to ground troops from a fighter jet.Newest U.S. Stealth Fighter ‘10 Years Behind’ Older Jets
December 26, 2014
Her door stands ajar, halving the room with a beam of light.After the Genocide, Rwanda’s Widows Aging Alone
August 31, 2014
The pulses are from a beam of light produced by the intense magnetic field, which sweeps across Earth as the neutron star rotates.The Weirdest Object in the Universe
Matthew R. Francis
May 18, 2014
He set in place the beam on the 104th floor signed by President Obama and the First Lady.Hero or Criminal? James Brady, the WTC Ironworker Who Jumped Off the Building
March 25, 2014
Rather than plunging us into innocent love with an apparent stranger, they beam our conscious self-regard back at ourselves.In Defense of the Selfie, Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year
November 20, 2013
Historical Examples of beam
I keep the beam out of my own eye which I have no hope of pulling out of my neighhour's.Weighed and Wanting
Here the gatekeeper thrust in the beam to hold the gate shut.Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae
A beam of light touching Ferry's face made his smile haggard.
Her beam was irresistible, and they went to the large parlor.
A Goliath o' Gath, wha hath a stroke like untae a weaver's beam.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
- not following a radio beam to maintain a course
- informalwrong, mistaken, or irrelevant
- following a radio beam to maintain a course
- nauticalopposite the beam of a vessel; abeam
- informalcorrect, relevant, or appropriate
Word Origin for beam
Old English beam originally "living tree," but by late 10c. also "rafter, post, ship's timber," from Proto-Germanic *baumaz (cf. Old Norse baðmr, Old Frisian bam "tree, gallows, beam," Middle Dutch boom, Old High German boum, German Baum "tree," Gothic bagms), perhaps from PIE verb root *bheue- "to grow" (see be). The shift from *-au- to -ea- is regular in Old English.
Meaning "ray of light" developed in Old English, probably because it was used by Bede to render Latin columna lucis, the Biblical "pillar of fire." Nautical sense of "one of the horizontal transverse timbers holding a ship together" is from early 13c., hence "greatest breadth of a ship," and slang broad in the beam "wide-hipped" (of persons). To be on the beam (1941) was originally an aviator's term for "to follow the course indicated by a radio beam."
"emit rays of light," early 15c., from beam (n.) in the "ray of light" sense. Sense of "to smile radiantly" is from 1804; that of "to direct radio transmissions" is from 1927. Related: Beamed; beaming.
see broad in the beam; off the beam.