beam

noun
\ ˈbēm How to pronounce beam (audio) \

Definition of beam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a long piece of heavy often squared timber suitable for use in construction
b weaving : a wood or metal cylinder in a loom on which the warp (see warp entry 1 sense 1a) is wound
c : the part of a plow to which handles, standard, and coulter are attached
d : the bar of a balance from which scales hang
e : one of the principal horizontal supporting members (as of a building or ship) a steel beam supporting a floor also : boom, spar the beam of a crane
f nautical : the extreme width of a ship at the widest part
g engines : an oscillating lever on a central axis receiving motion at one end from an engine connecting rod and transmitting it at the other
2a : a ray or shaft of light beams from the searchlights
b : a collection of nearly parallel rays (such as X-rays) or a stream of particles (such as electrons)
c : a constant directional radio signal transmitted for the guidance of pilots also : the course indicated by a radio beam
3 : the main stem of a deer's antler
4 : the width of the buttocks … immensely broad in the beam— Ann Bridge
on the beam
1 : following a guiding beam
2 : proceeding or operating correctly

beam

verb
beamed; beaming; beams

Definition of beam (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to emit in beams or as a beam (see beam entry 1 sense 2) The sun beamed its light through the window.
2 : to support with beams (see beam entry 1 sense 1) The house was beamed with heavy timbers.
3a : to transmit especially by satellite : broadcast … the 90-minute show was beamed to more than 200 countries and territories around the world.TV Guide
b : to transmit (data) electronically beaming images of the planet back to Earth The amount of data beamed over fiber-optic networks is rising exponentially every year, yet only 0.1% of fiber capacity is in use.— Leslie Cauley especially : to transmit (data) wirelessly Infrared connectivity enables users to work collaboratively on documents without having to log on to the network, and for quickly "beaming" data between different devices (for example, between two notebooks, or between a notebook and a printer, without a need for a cable). Newsweek
c : to direct to a particular audience a commercial beamed at middle-class voters

intransitive verb

1 : to send out rays of light Sunlight beamed through the window.
2 : to smile with joy The bride was beaming.

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Synonyms for beam

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of beam in a Sentence

Noun a bright beam of light We saw the beams from their flashlights. the building's steel support beams Verb She beamed as she told us the good news. They stood beaming with satisfaction. “We're getting married!” he beamed. The sun beamed its light through the window. Pictures of the distant planet were beamed back to the Earth.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the light bounces back, the two beams are recombined. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How lidar makers are coping with slow progress of self-driving tech," 11 Feb. 2020 Driving to check a trap, Hicks trailed the spotlight beam over knots of sagebrush, a dozen deer, and three skunks. Elizabeth Miller/undark, Popular Science, "The race to save the most elusive ferret in the U.S.," 11 Jan. 2020 The Sutro staff, which works out of an office near the base of the tower, thinks the city has become overly cautious after the debacles with the leaning Millennium Tower and the cracked beams in the new Transbay transit center. Heather Knight, SFChronicle.com, "‘Confusion, conspiracy theories, humor’: What’s the deal with SF’s Sutro Tower?," 10 Jan. 2020 Driving to check a trap, Hicks trailed the spotlight beam over knots of sagebrush, a dozen deer, and three skunks. Elizabeth Miller, Scientific American, "Why Are America’s Black-Footed Ferrets Disappearing?," 9 Jan. 2020 Homes are required to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for those who can afford it. Washington Post, "Dorian triggers massive flooding in Bahamas; at least 5 dead," 3 Sep. 2019 Homes are required to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for those who can afford it. RamÓn Espinosa, chicagotribune.com, "Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest Atlantic storms ever recorded, keeps pounding north Bahamas," 2 Sep. 2019 Homes are required to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for those who can afford it. Dánica Coto, Twin Cities, "Dorian triggers massive flooding in Bahamas; at least 5 dead," 2 Sep. 2019 Homes are required to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for those who can afford it. Ramón Espinosa, BostonGlobe.com, "Dorian batters Bahamas with record-setting winds," 2 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The finished product will be a functional, round, 10-foot-wide reflector antenna, similar to the sort that beams down television channels to homes around the planet. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "NASA’s plan to build stuff in space just took its first step," 6 Feb. 2020 The idea is to beam internet service directly to devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac to provide access to the web all without traditional wireless networks and cell towers. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Everything You Need to Know About Apple's Secret Satellite Project," 2 Feb. 2020 Pence was beaming after the meeting, which appeared to be particularly cordial. Washington Post, "US Vice President Pence to Pope Francis: You made me a hero," 24 Jan. 2020 The primordial heebie-jeebies—revulsion perceived variously in the spine, the molars, the bristling of hairs on the back of the neck—are conjured best with images that beam the feeling straight to the flesh. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "The Unbearable Softness of Engineered Fabrics," 21 Jan. 2020 Ellis has experience in building networks that can beam content and information on a global scale. Mark Gurman, Houston Chronicle, "Apple has secret team working on satellites to beam data to devices," 27 Dec. 2019 Walking down the aisle in her gorgeous gown beside her little brother, the Chicago bride was beaming with a huge smile on her face. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Bride Breaks Leg a Week Before Her Wedding — But Walks Down Aisle with Help from a Special Crutch," 11 Dec. 2019 There are a variety of ways urban planners can attempt to lower city temperatures, Huang noted—creating more green spaces or building reflective rooftops that beam sunlight away. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Urban Heat Islands Mean Warming Will Be Worse in Cities," 21 Nov. 2019 Images beamed from satellite trucks and photographers parked outside the church’s front door had quickly ricocheted around the globe. John Branch, New York Times, "They Heard Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Go Down. Then They Prayed.," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beam.' 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 beam

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for beam

Noun

Middle English beem, from Old English bēam tree, beam; akin to Old High German boum tree

Verb

Middle English bemen, verbal derivative of bem, beem beam entry 1

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Time Traveler for beam

Time Traveler

The first known use of beam was before the 12th century

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Statistics for beam

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Beam.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beam?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=b&file=beam0001. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for beam

beam

noun
How to pronounce beam (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of beam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a line of light coming from a source (such as the sun or a headlight)
: a line of energy, particles, etc., that cannot be seen
: a long and heavy piece of wood or metal that is used as a support in a building or ship

beam

verb

English Language Learners Definition of beam (Entry 2 of 2)

: to smile happily
: to say (something) while smiling happily
: to send out beams of light or energy

beam

noun
\ ˈbēm How to pronounce beam (audio) \

Kids Definition of beam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a long heavy piece of timber or metal used as a main horizontal support of a building or a ship a ceiling beam
2 : a ray of light
3 : a radio wave sent out from an airport to guide pilots

beam

verb
beamed; beaming

Kids Definition of beam (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to send out beams of light Sunlight was beaming through the window.
2 : to smile with joy She beamed as she told us the good news.
3 : to aim a radio broadcast by use of a special antenna

beam

noun
\ ˈbēm How to pronounce beam (audio) \

Medical Definition of beam

1 : a ray or shaft of light
2 : a collection of nearly parallel rays (as X-rays) or a stream of particles (as electrons)

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More from Merriam-Webster on beam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beam

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beam

Spanish Central: Translation of beam

Nglish: Translation of beam for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beam for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about beam

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