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

  • noun plural The ends of a ship's beams.

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

  • noun nautical The ends of the transverse beams of a ship.

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

  • noun (nautical) at the ends of the transverse deck beams of a vessel


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • And, halfway to the crosstrees and flattened against the rigging by the full force of the wind so that it would have been impossible for me to have fallen, the Ghost almost on her beam-ends and the masts parallel with the water, I looked, not down, but at almost right angles from the perpendicular, to the deck of the Ghost.

    Chapter 17

  • Eighteen years ago the Plate gave it to me -- lost half our sticks, twenty hours on our beam-ends, cargo shifted, and foundered.


  • Every posada and place of amusement seemed to be at full steam, and packed with pleasure-seekers, for it was abundantly evident that if many of the immigrants out in the wagons and shanties were on their beam-ends, there was a multitude in Santa Fe with money to burn.


  • Twice through the following night was I wakened by the boat being hurled upon her beam-ends by the blows of the seas; but she righted easily, and took scarce any water, the canvas proving a very roof of safety.

    The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'

  • I never knew the precise nature of our danger beyond this, that the vessel had been thrown on her beam-ends in a squall, and that, the wind immediately veering round, the fury of the waves had been spent upon her.

    The Englishwoman in America

  • The old tub creaked and groaned and lurched, and every now and then bid fair to stand on beam-ends.

    The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton

  • Poor Charley was altogether thrown on his beam-ends.

    The Three Clerks

  • Mulrady and Wilson more than once brought round the helm when some careless steering threatened to throw the ship on her beam-ends.

    In Search of the Castaways

  • Thus, to be “on beam-ends” is the situation of a ship, almost always in a violent storm, when she is turned so that her beams are inclined toward the vertical and her masts are horizontal to the sea.

    A Furnace Afloat

  • By the time we had got the boat to the waist, the ship had filled with water, and was going down on her beam-ends: we shoved our boat as quickly as possible from the plank-shear ** A timber around a vessel's hull at deck line. into the water, all hands jumping in her at the same time, and launched off clear of the ship.

    The Greatest Survival Stories Ever Told


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