Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The bill of a bird, especially one that is strong and curved, such as that of a hawk or a finch.
  • noun A similar structure in other animals, such as turtles, insects, or fish.
  • noun A usually firm, tapering tip on certain plant structures, such as some seeds and fruits.
  • noun A beaklike structure or part, as.
  • noun The spout of a pitcher.
  • noun A metal or metal-clad ram projecting from the bow of an ancient warship.
  • noun Informal The human nose.
  • noun A schoolmaster.
  • noun A judge.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In the shells of the Brachiopoda (Molluscoidea) and Pelecypoda (Mollusca), the projecting, usually arched, part of the valves; the initial part of the shell about which accretions by growth have been added unequally.
  • noun Specifically, the mouthpiece of instruments like the clarinet and some varieties of flageolets or direct flutes.
  • To ram (a ship) with the beak or prow so as to penetrate the hull in an endeavor to sink it.
  • noun In zoology, the rostrum, snout, muzzle, jaws, mandibles, or some similar part of an animal.
  • noun Anything ending in a point like a beak.
  • noun A gas-burner having a round smooth hole of an inch in diameter; a bird's-mouth.
  • noun A beak-iron (which see).
  • noun A magistrate; a judge; a policeman.
  • In cock-fighting, to seize or strike with the beak.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The bill or nib of a bird, consisting of a horny sheath, covering the jaws. The form varies much according to the food and habits of the bird, and is largely used in the classification of birds.
  • noun A similar bill in other animals, as the turtles.
  • noun The long projecting sucking mouth of some insects, and other invertebrates, as in the Hemiptera.
  • noun The upper or projecting part of the shell, near the hinge of a bivalve.
  • noun The prolongation of certain univalve shells containing the canal.
  • noun Anything projecting or ending in a point, like a beak, as a promontory of land.
  • noun (Antiq.) A beam, shod or armed at the end with a metal head or point, and projecting from the prow of an ancient galley, in order to pierce the vessel of an enemy; a beakhead.
  • noun (Naut.) That part of a ship, before the forecastle, which is fastened to the stem, and supported by the main knee.
  • noun (Arch.) A continuous slight projection ending in an arris or narrow fillet; that part of a drip from which the water is thrown off.
  • noun (Bot.) Any process somewhat like the beak of a bird, terminating the fruit or other parts of a plant.
  • noun (Far.) A toe clip. See Clip, n. (Far.).
  • noun Slang, Eng. A magistrate or policeman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A rigid structure projecting from the front of a bird's face, used for pecking, grooming and for eating food.
  • noun A similar structure forming the jaws of an octopus.
  • noun nautical The metal point fixed on the bows of a war galley, used as a ram.
  • noun slang A justice of the peace, magistrate, headmaster or other person of authority.
  • noun slang The human nose, especially one that is large and pointed.
  • verb transitive strike with the beak.
  • verb transitive seize with the beak.

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

  • noun informal terms for the nose
  • noun horny projecting mouth of a bird
  • noun a beaklike, tapering tip on certain plant structures
  • noun beaklike mouth of animals other than birds (e.g., turtles)
  • verb hit lightly with a picking motion

Etymologies

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

[Middle English bek, from Old French bec, from Latin beccus, of Celtic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English bec, from Anglo-Norman, from Old French bec, from Latin beccus, from Gaulish *beccos (“chicken beak”, literally "small"), (compare Irish beag ("little"), Welsh bach, bychan Breton bac'h, bihan and beg ("beak").

Examples

  • As the Yoon paper states, you have this large diversity of finch species marked off by variations in beak size.

    Ancient Sleep and Flipping Switches

  • Size, shape, and strength of chick beak is impacted when the gene is manipulated.

    Ancient Sleep and Flipping Switches

  • However, this only works when the base of the beak is wet.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • Adaptive changes in beak size/shape could then be considered "epigenetic" – sensitive to selection pressures, but not a result of random mutations in the beak gene.

    Behe Responds

  • Changes in beak traits is the prediction based on how Natural Selection works.

    Behe Responds

  • The Pelican of ordinary zoology is an aquatic fowl approximately six feet tall with a long, broad beak from whose lower jaw there hangs a reddish membrane forming a sort of sack or basket for holding fish; the Pelican of fable is smaller, and its beak is short and sharp.

    Archive 2008-09-01

  • The Pelican of ordinary zoology is an aquatic fowl approximately six feet tall with a long, broad beak from whose lower jaw there hangs a reddish membrane forming a sort of sack or basket for holding fish; the Pelican of fable is smaller, and its beak is short and sharp.

    Rawwrgghh

  • The beak is only cartilage, like our finger nails, and debeaking does no harm usually.

    Think Progress » ThinkFast AM: June 30, 2006

  • Rukh carrying off three elephants in beak and pounces with the proportions of a hawk and field mice: and the Rukh hawking at an elephant is a favourite Persian subject.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • The proverbial finch beak is extrapolated out over millions of years to produce novel features.

    Demarcation as Politics

Comments

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

  • "'You would have rejoiced in the birds. There was one with a beak.'

    "'That alone would have been worth the voyage.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Truelove, 243

    March 11, 2008

  • Haha!

    March 11, 2008

  • Citation (as slang for magistrate) on peeler.

    June 30, 2008

  • I didn't know the sense of "schoolmaster" 'til now.

    As in: "At his school, Harrow, one of the beaks from his house, Druries (where Lord Byron had been, not to mention Lord Palmerston, who had died only a year before), had noticed Lenox's height and asked him to come row for the house team."

    The September Society by Charles Finch, p 14

    December 11, 2011