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

  • noun A squared-off log or a large, oblong piece of timber, metal, or stone used especially as a horizontal support in construction.
  • noun A transverse structural member of a ship's frame, used to support a deck and to brace the sides against stress.
  • noun The breadth of a ship at the widest point.
  • noun The side of a ship.
  • noun Informal The widest part of a person's hips.
  • noun A steel tube or wooden roller on which the warp is wound in a loom.
  • noun An oscillating lever connected to an engine piston rod and used to transmit power to the crankshaft.
  • noun The bar of a balance from which weighing pans are suspended.
  • noun Sports A balance beam.
  • noun The main horizontal bar on a plow to which the share, colter, and handles are attached.
  • noun One of the main stems of a deer's antlers.
  • noun A ray or shaft of light.
  • noun A concentrated stream of particles or a similar propagation of waves.
  • noun A radio beam.
  • intransitive verb To radiate light; shine.
  • intransitive verb To smile expansively.
  • intransitive verb To emit or transmit.
  • intransitive verb To express by means of a radiant smile.
  • idiom (on the beam) Following a radio beam. Used of aircraft.
  • idiom (on the beam) On the right track; operating correctly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To shed rays of light upon; irradiate.
  • To shoot forth or emit, as or like beams or rays: as, to beam love upon a person.
  • To furnish or supply with beams; give the appearance of beams to.
  • In currying, to stretch on the beam, as a hide.
  • In weaving, to put on the beam, as a chain or web.
  • To emit beams or rays of light; shed or give out radiance, literally or figuratively; shine.
  • noun In lace-manuf., a tin drum of small diameter, varying in length with the width of the machine, upon which the yarn is wound.
  • noun In currying, an inclined table or stand on which the skin is placed while it is beamed or scraped.
  • To burnish, as morocco leather, with a beaming-machine; also, in currying, to flesh or shave on the flesh side.
  • noun In architecture, a long piece of stone, wood, or metal, or a construction of wood or metal, or combining wood and metal, used in a horizontal position, usually in combination with others like it, all being generally laid parallel to one another, and at regular intervals, to support weight, or, as a tie-beam or a collar-beam, to resist two opposite forces either pulling or compressing it in the direction of its length.
  • noun A long piece fixed or movable in a structure, machine, or tool: often equivalent to girder.
  • noun The pole of a carriage which runs between the horses.
  • noun A cylindrical piece of wood, making part of a loom, on which weavers wind the warp before weaving; also, the cylinder on which the cloth is rolled as it is woven.
  • noun The straight part or shank of an anchor.
  • noun One of the strong transverse pieces of timber or iron stretching across a ship from one side to the other, to support the decks and retain the sides at their proper distance.
  • noun The main piece of a plow, in which the plow-tails are fixed, and by which it is drawn.
  • noun The oscillating lever of a steam-engine reciprocating upon a center, and forming the medium of communication between the piston-rod and the crank-shaft. Also called working-beam or walking-beam. See cut under atmospheric.
  • noun The widest part of a ship's hull; the extreme breadth of a ship: from the beams extending quite across the vessel where it is broadest: as, a steamer of fifty feet beam.
  • noun The main stem of a deer's horns bearing the snags or antlers. One of the snags themselves is sometimes called the beam-antler. See antler.
  • noun A ray of light, or more strictly a collection of parallel rays of light, emitted from the sun or other luminous body.
  • noun Figuratively, a ray or emanation of splendor: as, “beams of majesty,”
  • noun Same as rood-beam.

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

  • transitive verb To send forth; to emit; -- followed ordinarily by forth.
  • intransitive verb To emit beams of light.
  • noun Any large piece of timber or iron long in proportion to its thickness, and prepared for use.
  • noun One of the principal horizontal timbers of a building or ship.
  • noun The width of a vessel.


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

[Middle English bem, from Old English bēam; see bheuə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bemen, from Old English bēamian ("to shine, to cast forth rays or beams of light"), from the noun.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English beem, from Old English bēam ("tree, cross, gallows, column, pillar, wood, beam, splint, post, stock, rafter, piece of wood"), from Proto-Germanic *baumaz (“tree, beam, balk”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhū- (“to grow, swell”). Cognate with West Frisian beam ("tree"), Dutch boom ("tree"), German Baum ("tree"), Albanian bimë ("a plant") and Latin pōmō ("fruit tree").



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