1

bead

noun \ ˈbēd \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of bead

1 a obsolete : prayer usually used in plural
b beads plural : a series of prayers and meditations made with a rosary
2 : a small piece of material pierced for threading on a string or wire (as in a rosary)
3 beads plural
a : rosary
b : a necklace of beads or pearls
4 : a small ball-shaped body: such 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 : a projecting rim, band, or molding
6 : a precise knowledge or understanding used in such phrases as get a bead on

Examples of bead in a Sentence

  1. Beads of sweat began rolling down their faces.

  2. squeeze a bead or two of glue onto the seam

Recent Examples of bead from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bead.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

The beads you might wear around your neck once represented prayers. The Middle English word bede at first meant “a prayer.” People then, as now, often kept track of the number and order of a series of prayers with the help of a string of little balls. Because each of these balls stands for a prayer, the word bede came to be used for the balls themselves. Today this same word, now spelled bead, is used to refer to any small piece of material with a hole in it for threading on a string or wire.

Origin and Etymology 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

bead Synonyms


2

bead

verb

Definition of bead

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

beader

noun

Recent Examples of bead from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bead.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bead

1577


BEAD Defined for English Language Learners

bead

noun

Definition of bead for English Language Learners

  • : 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)


BEAD Defined for Kids

1

bead

noun \ ˈbēd \

Definition of bead for Students

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

History for 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.


2

bead

verb

Definition of bead for Students

beaded; beading
: to decorate or cover with beads
  • a beaded dress
  • His face was beaded with sweat.


Seen and Heard

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