noun \ˈbēd\

: a small, usually round piece of glass, wood, stone, etc., that has a hole through its center and that is put on a string with other similar pieces and worn as jewelry or that is sewn onto clothing

: a small, round drop of liquid (such as water or blood)

Full Definition of BEAD

a obsolete :  prayer —usually used in plural
b plural :  a series of prayers and meditations made with a rosary
:  a small piece of material pierced for threading on a string or wire (as in a rosary)
a :  rosary
b :  a necklace of beads or pearls
:  a small ball-shaped body: as
a :  a drop of sweat or blood
b :  a bubble formed in or on a beverage
c :  a small metal knob on a firearm used as a front sight
d :  a blob or a line of weld metal
:  a projecting rim, band, or molding
:  a precise knowledge or understanding —used in such phrases as get a bead on

Examples of BEAD

  1. Beads of sweat began rolling down their faces.
  2. <squeeze a bead or two of glue onto the seam>

Origin of BEAD

Middle English bede prayer, prayer bead, from Old English bed, gebed prayer; akin to Old English biddan to entreat, pray — more at bid
First Known Use: before 12th century



Definition of BEAD

transitive verb
:  to furnish, adorn, or cover with beads or beading
:  to string together like beads
intransitive verb
:  to form into a bead
bead·er noun

First Known Use of BEAD



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Small object, usually pierced for stringing. It may be made of virtually any material—wood, shell, bone, seed, nut, metal, stone, glass, or plastic—and is worn or affixed to another object for decorative or, in some cultures, magical purposes. The earliest Egyptian beads (c. 4000 BC) were made of stone, feldspar, lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, hematite, or amethyst and were variously shaped (sphere, cone, shell, animal head). By 3000–2000 BC, gold beads in tubular shapes were in use. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, trade in beads was enormous. Today the richness of beadwork varies with fashion.


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