- Nautical. the ends of the transverse deck beams of a vessel.
- 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.
- on one's/the beam-ends, Slang. in desperate straits, especially financial straits.Also on the beam's ends.
Origin of beam-ends
First recorded in 1765–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for beam-ends
Why, sir, just to report one flag struck, and a commander-in-chief on his beam-ends.The Two Admirals
J. Fenimore Cooper
Crewe picked him up at Monte Carlo, when he was on his beam-ends.Jack O' Judgment
But there were no masts now to hold the wind, so she stood up on her beam-ends.Labrador Days
Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
Hove so completely over the beam-ends that the keel is above the water.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
Two other vessels had been driven higher on shore, but lay on their beam-ends.Paddy Finn
W. H. G. Kingston
- the ends of a vessel's beams
- on her beam-ends (of a vessel) heeled over through an angle of 90°
- on one's beam-ends
- out of resources; destitute