\ˈbēk \

Definition of beak 

1a : the bill of a bird especially : a strong short broad bill

b(1) : the elongated sucking mouth of some insects (such as the true bugs)

(2) : any of various rigid projecting mouth structures (as of a turtle)

c : the human nose

2 : a pointed structure or formation:

a : a metal-pointed beam projecting from the bow especially of an ancient galley for piercing an enemy ship

b : the spout of a vessel

c : a continuous slight architectural projection ending in an arris — see molding illustration

d : a process suggesting the beak of a bird

3 chiefly British

a : magistrate

b : headmaster

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Other Words from beak

beaked \ ˈbēkt \ adjective
beaky \ ˈbē-​kē \ adjective

Synonyms for beak


bill, neb, nib

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Examples of beak in a Sentence

the beak of a hawk an actor with a big beak

Recent Examples on the Web

The birds have neon-orange beaks and white eyes dotted with pupils that look like the period at the end of this sentence. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Why some birds smell like tangerines, and others smell like lavender," 28 Apr. 2018 At a time when academia can resemble an archipelago, the disciplines more specialized than finch beaks in the Galápagos, Robinson’s audaciously heterodox thinking can exhilarate. Donovan Hohn, New York Times, "Democracy’s Fierce Defender," 9 Mar. 2018 Blue parrotfish with pointy beaks weave in and out of ghostly portholes. Erik Heinrich,, "Kittiwake wreck dive and Stingray City are unforgettable adventures – even if you do get bit," 16 May 2018 Our preliminary hypothesis is that the creatures were green or blue, with long cartilaginous beaks. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Captain’s Log," 18 Sep. 2017 The crane-head puppet with a moveable beak is carved and painted by a Japanese artist. Washington Post, "Louisiana’s whooping crane comeback: 5 chicks this year," 13 July 2018 An often-fatal virus called psittacine beak and feather disease has also taken a toll. National Geographic, "Africa's Most Endangered Parrot Fighting for Survival," 11 May 2018 And risking prison by returning to Pakistan would bolster his claim to be a selfless defender of democracy from military meddling, rather than a self-serving politician caught with his beak in the till. The Economist, "The boss of Pakistan’s ruling party is sentenced to ten years in jail," 6 July 2018 After a quick scan of the activity below, the owl bent and grabbed the vole with its beak. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "During long summer days in Alaska, Boreal owls perform by daylight," 30 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of beak

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for beak

Middle English bec, from Anglo-French, from Latin beccus, of Gaulish origin

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Statistics for beak

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beak

The first known use of beak was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for beak



English Language Learners Definition of beak

: the hard usually pointed parts that cover a bird's mouth

: a person's nose


\ˈbēk \

Kids Definition of beak

1 : the bill of a bird an eagle's beak

2 : a part shaped like or resembling a bird's bill a turtle's beak

Other Words from beak

beaked \ ˈbēkt \ adjective a long-beaked bird

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Comments on beak

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


playful or foolish behavior

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