- 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)
- beaking joint,
- beale street,
- beam aerial,
- beam antenna,
- beam brick,
- beam compass,
- beam engine
- 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
Examples from the Web for 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|Dave Majumdar|December 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Her door stands ajar, halving the room with a beam of light.
The pulses are from a beam of light produced by the intense magnetic field, which sweeps across Earth as the neutron star rotates.
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|Michael Daly|March 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|James Poulos|November 20, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Lockley noted that the human confederates of the monsters had no protection against the beam to match his own.Operation Terror|William Fitzgerald Jenkins
The modern European ideal of a torpedo boat is a craft 152 feet long, with a beam of 15¼ feet.Last Words|Stephen Crane
The hulk President was a plain solid barque of one thousand tons register, broad in the beam.Nevermore|Rolf Boldrewood
In her shrewishness she took such little heed that she tripped over a beam on the bridge, and down she went plump into the stream.Tales from the Fjeld|P. Chr. Asbjrnsen
If her head was to fall off a few points, and one of these waves took her on the beam, she would go down like a stone.Held Fast For England|G. A. Henty
- 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.