Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

bead

play
noun \ˈbēd\

Simple Definition of bead

  • : 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

  1. 1 a obsolete :  prayer —usually used in plural b plural :  a series of prayers and meditations made with a rosary

  2. 2 :  a small piece of material pierced for threading on a string or wire (as in a rosary)

  3. 3 plural a :  rosary b :  a necklace of beads or pearls

  4. 4 :  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

  5. 5 :  a projecting rim, band, or molding

  6. 6 :  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


2

bead

verb

Definition of bead

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to furnish, adorn, or cover with beads or beading

  3. 2 :  to string together like beads

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to form into a bead

bead·er noun


1577

First Known Use of bead

1577




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bead? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

100 pounds 196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds 2.2 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ