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beam-ends

[ beem-endz ]

plural noun

  1. Nautical. the ends of the transverse deck beams of a vessel.


beam-ends

plural noun

  1. the ends of a vessel's beams
  2. on her beam-ends
    on her beam-ends (of a vessel) heeled over through an angle of 90°
  3. on one's beam-ends
    on one's beam-ends
    1. out of resources; destitute
    2. desperate


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Word History and Origins

Origin of beam-ends1

First recorded in 1765–75

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Idioms and Phrases

Idioms
  1. on her beam-ends, Nautical. heeled so far on one side that the deck is practically vertical:

    The schooner was blown over on her beam-ends.

  2. on one's / the beam-ends, Slang. in desperate straits, especially financial straits. Also on the beam's ends.

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Example Sentences

The young men relapsed into silence, for at that moment another fierce gust of wind threw the ship over almost on her beam-ends.

The old hulk looked peculiarly pathetic as she lay there, listed over on her beam ends.

It was not long before the tide slipped away from us and left the steamer resting easily on her beam-ends in shallow water.

Over it passed, and the schooner in an instant lay on her beam-ends, the water rushing in at each hatchway.

Take your own pony, an' your own saddle, an' it's a go; but this 'ere mare'd be on her beam ends with you in no time.

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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

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