Baily's beads

plural noun

Bai·​ly's beads
: the row of brilliant points of sunlight shining through valleys on the edge of the moon that are seen for a few seconds just before and after the central phase in an eclipse of the sun

Word History


after Francis Baily †1844 English astronomer who described them

First Known Use

1858, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Baily's beads was in 1858

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near Baily's beads

Cite this Entry

“Baily's beads.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!