from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small, often round piece of material, such as glass, plastic, or wood, that is pierced for stringing or threading.
  • n. A necklace made of such pieces.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church A rosary.
  • n. Obsolete A prayer. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A small, round object, especially:
  • n. A drop of moisture: beads of sweat.
  • n. A bubble of gas in a liquid.
  • n. A small metal knob on the muzzle of a firearm, such as a rifle, used for sighting.
  • n. A strip of material, usually wood, with one molded edge placed flush against the inner part of a door or window frame.
  • n. Architecture A decoration consisting of a usually continuous series of small spherical shapes, as on a convex molding.
  • n. Architecture Beading.
  • n. A projecting rim or lip, as on a pneumatic tire.
  • n. A line of continuously applied ductile material, such as solder or caulking compound.
  • n. Chemistry A globule of fused borax or other flux used in a bead test.
  • transitive v. To furnish with or collect into beads.
  • idiom draw To take careful aim at.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small round object
  • n. A ridge, band, or molding.
  • n. A knowledge sufficient to direct one's activities to a purpose.
  • v. To form into a bead.
  • v. To apply beads to.
  • v. To form into a bead.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A prayer.
  • n. A little perforated ball, to be strung on a thread, and worn for ornament; or used in a rosary for counting prayers, as by Roman Catholics and Mohammedans, whence the phrases to tell beads, to be at one's beads, to bid beads, etc., meaning, to be at prayer.
  • n. Any small globular body.
  • n. A bubble in spirits.
  • n. A drop of sweat or other liquid.
  • n. A small knob of metal on a firearm, used for taking aim (whence the expression to draw a bead, for, to take aim).
  • n. A small molding of rounded surface, the section being usually an arc of a circle. It may be continuous, or broken into short embossments.
  • n. A glassy drop of molten flux, as borax or microcosmic salt, used as a solvent and color test for several mineral earths and oxides, as of iron, manganese, etc., before the blowpipe
  • intransitive v. To form beadlike bubbles.
  • transitive v. To ornament with beads or beading.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To ornament with beads; raise beads upon.
  • n. Prayer; a prayer; specifically, a prayer of the list or bead-roll, read at public church-services by the preacher before his sermon, or by the curate (see bead-roll): usually in the plural.
  • n. One of the little balls, of wood, cocoanut-shell, pearl, glass, jewels, or other material, strung in a prescribed order, which form the chaplet or rosary in use in the devotions of Roman Catholics, Buddhists, etc., to keep count of the number of prayers said. See pair of beads, below.
  • n. Anything resembling a rosary-bead, strung with others for ornament, as in necklaces or beadwork: as, glass, amber, metal, coral, or other beads.
  • n. Any small globular, cylindrical, or annular body, as the small projecting piece of metal at the end of a gun-barrel used as a sight, a drop of liquid, etc.
  • n. One of the circular markings of certain diatoms.
  • n. The bubble or mass of bubbles rising to the top or resting on the surface of a liquid when shaken or decanted: as, the bead of wines or spirits.
  • n. A glass globule for trying the strength of alcoholic spirits.
  • n. In mineralogy, in the blowpipe examination of minerals, a globule of borax or other flux which is supported on a platinum wire, and in which the substance under examination is dissolved in the blowpipe flame.
  • n. In arch. and joinery, a small convex molding, in section a semicircle or greater than a semicircle; properly, a plain molding, but often synonymous with astragal, which is better reserved for a small convex molding cut into the form of a string of beads.
  • n. In bookbinding, shoemaking, etc., any cord-like prominence, as the roll on the head-band of a book, the seam of a shoe, etc.
  • n. that is, “set of beads” (), a rosary; now, specifically, a chaplet of five decades, that is, a third part of the rosary. A chaplet or pair of beads, as thus restricted, is the form in common use under the name of the beads. The large beads between the decades were formerly called gaudies (see gaud, gaudy); each separate bead, or grain, as it is now termed, Tyndale calls a stone.
  • n. literally, to offer (one's) prayers; hence the later equivalent phrases to say or recite (one's) beads, now with reference, as literally in the phrase to tell (one's) beads, to counting off prayers by means of the beads on the rosary. The phrases to count and to number (one's) beads are merely literary.
  • n. In weaving, a roughness of yarn due to fraying by friction or rubbing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. form into beads, as of water or sweat, for example
  • v. decorate by sewing beads onto
  • v. string together like beads
  • n. a shape that is spherical and small
  • n. a beaded molding for edging or decorating furniture
  • n. a small ball with a hole through the middle


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English bede, rosary bead, prayer, from Old English bed, bedu, gebed, prayer; see gwhedh- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English ġebed, from Proto-Germanic. Cognate with Dutch bede, German Gebet.


  • Also, if you're using a shotgun with a plain bead, holding on the head completely obstructs your view of the bird.

    Where to aim on a Turkey?

  • Del, I don't know what kind of maidens you are used to kissing but a 3.5 inch turkey load tends to leave a "hickey" on my shoulder after each smooch ... even when that orange bead is held on the base of old Tom's warty neck!

    I have a quick question for all of you turkey hunters.

  • If the bead is on the mark whatever it is, is down.

    The 50 Best Guns Ever Made

  • Matching beads on my boobs with the chin bead as an accessory.

    Drawing A Line In The Sand @ Attack of the Redneck Mommy

  • The P350 put its pellets right where I pointed it, although the large orange bead is bigger than I would choose for accurate turkey shooting.

    Field Test: The Stoeger P350 Shotgun

  • A dab of fluorescent-red model enamel over a standard front bead is an inexpensive option.

    Let It Snow

  • On one of them I noticed that the strings were of wire, and having had some experience in bead work, I said I thought they would break.

    The Story of My Life

  • Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of colored paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower-pots.

    The Story of My Life

  • The grip comes from the edge - or "bead" - of the tire interlocking with the edge of the rim.

    MyLinkVault Newest Links

  • The last one, called bead treatment, detailed the making and implantation of antibiotic-soaked clay pellets that would have to be made by the vet because they're not commercially available.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • n. The bubble or mass of bubbles rising to the top or resting on the surface of a liquid when shaken or decanted: as, the bead of wines or spirits. Century Dictionary

    July 22, 2012

  • (n). In moonshining, a term for bubbles that form on the surface of shaken whiskey by which the alcoholic content is estimated.

    August 26, 2009

  • get a bead on

    draw a bead on

    fail a bead on

    July 25, 2009