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 *bʰew- (“to grow, swell”). Cognate with West Frisian beam (“tree”), Saterland Frisian Boom (“tree”), Dutch boom (“tree”), German Low German Boom (“tree”), German Baum (“tree”), Luxembourgish Bam (“tree”), Albanian bimë (“a plant”). Doublet of boom.
beam (plural beams)
- Any large piece of timber or iron long in proportion to its thickness, and prepared for use.
- One of the principal horizontal timbers of a building; one of the transverse members of a ship's frame on which the decks are laid — supported at the sides by knees in wooden ships and by stringers in steel ones.
- (nautical) The maximum width of a vessel.
- This ship has more beam than that one.
- The crossbar of a mechanical balance, from the ends of which the scales are suspended.
- The principal stem of the antler of a deer.
- (literary) The pole of a carriage or chariot.
- a 1700, André Dacier, John Dryden, “Life of Alexander”, in Plutarch's Lives, translation of original by Plutarch:
- Soon after this be subdued the Pisidians who made head against him, and conquered the Phrygians, at whose chief city Gordium (which is said to have been the seat of the ancient Midas) he saw the famous chariot fastened with cords made of the bark of the Cornel-Tree, and was informed that the inhabitants had a constant tradition, that the empire of the world was reserved for him who should untie the knot. Most are of opinion, that Alexander finding that he could not untie it, because the ends of it were secretly folded up within it, cut it asunder with his sword, so that several ends appeared. But Aristobulus tells us that he very easily undid it, by only pulling the pin out of the beam which fastened the yoke to it, and afterwards drawing out the yoke itself.
- (textiles) A cylinder of wood, making part of a loom, on which weavers wind the warp before weaving and the cylinder on which the cloth is rolled, as it is woven.
- The straight part or shank of an anchor.
- The central bar of a plow, to which the handles and colter are secured, and to the end of which are attached the oxen or horses that draw it.
- In steam engines, a heavy iron lever having an oscillating motion on a central axis, one end of which is connected with the piston rod from which it receives motion, and the other with the crank of the wheel shaft.
- A ray or collection of approximately parallel rays emitted from the sun or other luminous body.
- a beam of light
- a beam of energy
- c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene i]:
- How far that little candle throws his beams!
- 2011 September 22, Nick Collins, “Speed of light 'broken' by scientists”, in Daily Telegraph:
- A total of 15,000 beams of neutrinos were fired over a period of 3 years from CERN towards Gran Sassoin Italy, 730km (500 miles) away, where they were picked up by giant detectors.
- (figuratively) A ray; a gleam.
- a beam of hope, or of comfort
- (Can we date this quote by Keble and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
- Mercy with her genial beam.
- One of the long feathers in the wing of a hawk.
- (music) A horizontal bar which connects the stems of two or more notes to group them and to indicate metric value.
- (railway) An elevated rectangular dirt pile used to cheaply build an elevated portion of a railway.
- (nautical): breadth
- (heavy iron lever): working beam, walking beam
- (hawk's feather): beam feather
- see also Thesaurus:stick
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- (transitive, intransitive) To emit beams of light; shine; radiate.
- to beam forth light
- (intransitive, figuratively) To smile broadly or especially cheerfully.
- (transitive) To furnish or supply with beams
- (transitive) To give the appearance of beams to.
- (transitive, science fiction) To transmit matter or information via a high-tech wireless mechanism.
- Beam me up, Scotty; there's no intelligent life down here.
- The injured crewmembers were immediately beamed to sickbay.
- (transitive, currying) To stretch something (for example an animal hide) on a beam.
- (transitive, weaving) To put (something) on a beam
- (transitive, music) To connect (musical notes) with a beam, or thick line, in music notation.
- Imperative singular of beamen.
From Proto-Germanic *baumaz. Cognate with Old Frisian bām, Old Saxon bām, Dutch boom, Old High German boum (German Baum). The word is related in some way to Gothic 𐌱𐌰𐌲𐌼𐍃 (bagms), Old Norse baðmr, which are from the Proto-Germanic variant *bagmaz.
bēam m (nominative plural bēamas)
- the Cross
- Codex Vercillensis
- Wæs se bēam bōcstafum āwriten.
- The tree was inscribed with letters.
- Codex Vercillensis
- beam of wood
- “beam”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011