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

BEAD Defined for Kids


noun \ˈbēd\

Definition of BEAD for Kids

:  a small piece of solid material with a hole through it by which it can be strung on a thread
:  a small round drop of liquid <a bead of sweat>

Word History of BEAD

In medieval English the word bede, from which our word bead descends, meant a prayer. Then, as now, people sometimes used strings of little balls to keep track of their prayers. Each little ball stood for a prayer. In time the word that meant prayer came to be used for the little balls themselves. Now any small object that can be strung on a string is called a bead.



Definition of BEAD for Kids

:  to decorate or cover with beads <a beaded dress> <His face was beaded with sweat.>
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