1

beam

noun \ ˈbēm \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of beam

1 a :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 1warp 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
2 a :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

Examples of beam in a Sentence

  1. a bright beam of light

  2. We saw the beams from their flashlights.

  3. the building's steel support beams

Recent Examples of beam from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of beam

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

beam Synonyms

Synonyms
shaft, ray
Related Words
moonbeam, sunbeam, sunburst; laser, spotlight

Other Wood Production Terms


2

beam

verb

Definition of beam

transitive verb
1 :to emit in beams or as a beam (see 1beam 2)
  • The sun beamed its light through the window.
2 :to support with beams (see 1beam 1)
  • The house was beamed with heavy timbers.
3 a :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.

Examples of beam in a Sentence

  1. She beamed as she told us the good news.

  2. They stood beaming with satisfaction.

  3. “We're getting married!” he beamed.

  4. The sun beamed its light through the window.

  5. Pictures of the distant planet were beamed back to the Earth.

Recent Examples of beam from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of beam

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



BEAM Defined for English Language Learners

beam

noun

Definition of beam for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of beam for English Language Learners

  • : to smile happily

  • : to say (something) while smiling happily

  • : to send out beams of light or energy


BEAM Defined for Kids

1

beam

noun \ ˈbēm \

Definition of beam for Students

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

2

beam

verb

Definition of beam for Students

beamed; beaming
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

Medical Dictionary

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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