\ ˈbēn How to pronounce bean (audio) \

Definition of bean

 (Entry 1 of 2)

b : the seed of any of various erect or climbing plants (as of the genera Phaseolus and Vigna) of the legume family other than the fava bean
c : a plant bearing beans
d : an immature bean pod used as a vegetable
2a : a valueless item
b beans plural : the least amount didn't know beans about it
3 : any of various seeds or fruits that resemble beans or bean pods coffee beans also : a plant producing these
4a beans plural : exuberance used in the phrase full of beans
b beans plural : nonsense, bunkum used in the phrase full of beans
5 : head, brain
6 : a protuberance on the upper mandible of waterfowl — see duck illustration


beaned; beaning; beans

Definition of bean (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to strike (a person) on the head with an object

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for bean

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of bean in a Sentence

Noun We ate rice and beans for dinner. We're growing tomatoes and beans in our garden this year.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cornhole and bean bags are set up for guests to play before descending into the installation. Los Angeles Times, "Here’s the best way to experience the ‘Field of Light’ in Paso Robles," 16 Sep. 2019 Shaker Heights police officer Adam Flynt pulled his police car diagonally across Chagrin Boulevard to block traffic, got out of the car and was reaching for a bean-bag shotgun in his backseat when Mason rammed the side of the cruiser, records say. Cory Shaffer,, "Disgraced former judge Lance Mason deserves no chance at parole for ex-wife’s brutal murder, prosecutors say," 12 Sep. 2019 While throwing bean bags as cars whizzed around the track, Underhill's aortic tissue had torn. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "He was 30 and almost died playing cornhole at IMS; now he's back at track," 6 Sep. 2019 Her announcement followed violent demonstrations in the bustling shopping district of Mong Kok for the second day in a row, with police firing tear gas and bean bags while protesters threw bricks, bottles and eggs. NBC News, "Hong Kong's Carrie Lam withdraws extradition bill that sparked a protest movement," 4 Sep. 2019 In August, the wounding of a first-aid volunteer in her eye with a bean-bag round also became a touchstone moment. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz, "Hong Kong is having flashbacks to the bad old days of police corruption and mafia ties," 1 Sep. 2019 Police say their use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds has been necessary to clear streets of protesters who have pelted them with eggs, bricks and gasoline bombs. Washington Post, "Hong Kong protesters form human chains to call for democracy," 23 Aug. 2019 The police have also fired tear gas, bean bags, and rubber bullets at crowds. Emily Stewart, Vox, "How China used Facebook and Twitter to spread disinformation about the Hong Kong protests," 20 Aug. 2019 Under the shade of a tent, Hopie, 3, tried to toss bean bags onto a child-sized corn hole board. Marina Starleaf Riker,, "Hundreds of San Antonio children get free backpacks at 13th annual giveaway," 18 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Attacking the upper half of the strike zone against the Cubs has been a successful ploy by the Dodgers and Braves, but the high and tight pitches by Lyles and Clay Holmes — who beaned David Bote with the bases loaded — were too much for Maddon. Mark Gonzales,, "4 takeaways from the Cubs-Pirates series, including managerial tension and who is the better football player — Joe Maddon or Joe West?," 5 July 2019 On June 21, 1967, Yankees pitcher Thad Tillotson beaned Sox third baseman Joe Foy, who had hit a grand slam the day before, in the second inning. Globe Staff,, "Former Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg is all abuzz over his bees," 27 Aug. 2019 Baltimore closer Mychal Givens beaned Bregman between the shoulder blades with a 97 mph fastball in the ninth inning. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Alex Bregman held out of Astros-White Sox doubleheader," 13 Aug. 2019 On one occasion a visitor who'd been beaned one too many times with the bopping stick of a gladiator returned with a few friends, which prompted the gladiator to get a few of his own fellow warriors. Jack Mccallum,, "Remembering Action Park, America's Most Dangerous, Daring Water Park," 1 July 2019 And beaning them with a rock would irritate or hurt them. Mary Forgione,, "It’s rattlesnake season: 12 things you need to know," 7 June 2019 Last week, Bryant was struck by a pitch from German Marquez, who also beaned him in April 2018, causing him to miss four games. Mark Gonzales,, "Javier Baez and Cole Hamels take care of business, helping the Cubs snap a 5-game road skid with a rout of the Rockies," 12 June 2019 And so was Cubs manager Joe Maddon: Either go confront the pitcher after getting beaned, or take your base without complaint. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kickin’ It with Kiz: Pat Bowlen Stadium at Mile High has a nice (championship) ring to it, don’t you think?," 15 June 2019 Against the New York Giants, Orioles shortstop Hughie Jennings is beaned by Amos Rusie, the hardest-throwing pitcher in the National League. Mike Klingaman,, "The Sun Remembers: This Week in Maryland Sports History for June 24-30," 24 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of bean


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


1909, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bean


Middle English bene, from Old English bēan; akin to Old High German bōna bean


verbal derivative of bean entry 1 in sense "head"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bean

Statistics for bean

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for bean

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bean



English Language Learners Definition of bean

informal : to hit (someone) on the head with something


\ ˈbēn How to pronounce bean (audio) \

Kids Definition of bean

1 : the edible seed or pod of a bushy or climbing garden plant related to the peas and clovers
2 : a seed or fruit like a bean coffee beans

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bean

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bean

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bean

Spanish Central: Translation of bean

Nglish: Translation of bean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bean for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bean

Comments on bean

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


concealed or difficult to comprehend

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!