beam

noun
\ ˈbēm \

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

ray, shaft

Synonyms: Verb

radiate, ray, shine

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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

The credits scene shows Manta and Shin making a pact: Shin will help Manta find out Aquaman’s true identity and repair Manta’s laser beam-firing helmet and Manta will reveal the secret of Atlantis to him. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Aquaman’s post-credits scene, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 Uh, pink pool table anyone? Exposed concrete beams and rustic wood ceilings remind you of the home's industrial origins, but everything else feels modern and chic. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "This Former Power Plant Is Hiding An Impeccable Modern Home," 11 Dec. 2018 At Ceresia, located off one of Bangkok's main roads, a bright white exterior and nearly floor-to-ceiling windows feel inviting; the interior, meanwhile, has shiny wood floors and benches, exposed brick, and industrial beams and light fixtures. Katie Lockhart, Condé Nast Traveler, "11 Best Places For Coffee in Bangkok," 18 Oct. 2018 Zabaneh said the crack was found near a weld on a stress-bearing horizontal beam. Paul Elias, The Seattle Times, "San Francisco’s new transit terminal closes over beam crack," 25 Sep. 2018 Similarly, the tower will track your location and fire a beam directly at you. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Don’t buy a 5G smartphone—at least, not for a while," 14 Dec. 2018 As the walls crumbled, Stephanie’s lower body became trapped under bricks and rocks — and then a 20-foot steel beam crashed down on her legs. Shelley Levitt, Woman's Day, "These 4 Inspirational Women Went to Great Lengths for Their Kids," 4 Dec. 2018 The set detects ambient light and automatically adjusts to give you the greatest visibility: a pulse during the day, and a solid beam at night. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "Finally, Bike Lights You Don't Have to Remember to Turn Off," 12 Nov. 2018 Now there’s a second support beam with a crack in it. Fox News, "Second cracked beam found at $2B San Francisco's 'Grand Central'," 28 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The one that makes the most sense is that the game is basically beamed in real time right now to every phone in the world. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "On Basketball: International stars leaving mark on NBA," 2 Jan. 2019 The signal could then be beamed down within a routine transmission. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Space Junk Could Provide a Perfect Hiding Spot for Tiny Spy Satellites," 30 Nov. 2018 And, in what would be a career unto itself for most people, she's been beamed into three million homes daily for the past 11 years as a co-host on The View. Amanda Fitzsimons, Glamour, "Whoopi Goldberg Really, Really Doesn't Care," 21 Sep. 2018 Its Aladin instrument includes a laser that generates pulses of ultraviolet light, which are beamed down into the atmosphere to profile the world's winds. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: China aims for the Moon, SpaceX gets approval for load-and-go," 17 Aug. 2018 The ending is certainly an interesting new bit of table-setting: There’s Dolores and Bernard both in the real world, Maeve still in the park, Teddy in the great beyond, and gigaflops of data that have been beamed to some mysterious place. The Atlantic, "Westworld: Is This Now?," 24 June 2018 Hawking’s words have been set to a score by composer Vangelis, and will be beamed toward the nearest black hole. Laignee Barron, Time, "Physicist Stephen Hawking's Voice Will Be Broadcast Into Space in a Final Tribute," 15 June 2018 The Our Shepherd broadcasts are beamed out usually once a week, but often listeners beg the local radio stations to broadcast them again. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Little church that could brings 1,000 to faith every month from Greendale home," 18 Apr. 2018 In several of the portraits, as well as in a screenshot taken by C-SPAN and screenshotted by reporter Lauren Tara LaCapra on Twitter, RBG appears to shrink away from the newest justice, who beams from the top-right of the picture. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "This New SCOTUS Photo With Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Brett Kavanaugh Is Going Viral," 30 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for beam

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beam

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

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More Definitions for beam

beam

noun

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 \

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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on beam

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