\ˈbēn \

Definition of bean 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : fava bean

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

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Examples of bean in a Sentence


We ate rice and beans for dinner. We're growing tomatoes and beans in our garden this year.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For the beans: Bring a saucepan fitted with a steamer insert and several inches of water to a boil. Sheryl Julian,, "Recipe: Spanish tuna salad with tomatoes, eggs, olives, and onions will become your summer standby," 9 July 2018 Ads for Bush's baked beans by Walmart were also flagged by Facebook in recent days. Alexander Coolidge,, "Facebook yanks P&G 'political' ad showing LGBT support," 2 July 2018 After much deliberation about what to call their fifth baby, Chip and Joanna Gaines finally settled on a name for their son—and Chip secretly spilled the beans without anyone noticing! Megan Stein, Country Living, "Chip Gaines Secretly Revealed His Son's Name Hours Before Joanna and We All Missed It," 26 June 2018 Only then — and if trustees choose to spill the beans — would the public learn what this all is about. Dawn Rhodes,, "SIU trustees to consider ousting president, but details on why are lacking," 21 June 2018 After all, no good friend would spill the beans about a sorority sister’s liposuction! Melissa Locker, Southern Living, "10 Reasons We Love Legally Blonde," 6 June 2018 Motherboard maker ASRock has a history of prematurely spilling the beans about hot new hardware, and it’s at it again. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "ASRock leaks four unannounced 2nd-gen AMD Ryzen processors," 31 May 2018 That's when Johnson spilled the beans about his love for Okoye. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson on why he named movie character after Chiefs great | The Kansas City Star," 12 Apr. 2018 That threat has led to a decline in futures for soy beans, among other products, at a time American farms are already struggling. Justin Worland, Time, "Trump Says Tariffs Will Help Americans. But U.S. Farmers Fear They'll Be Hurt," 23 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Hitters Konstanty beaned, Giants manager Leo Durocher once joked, didn’t even get headaches. Frank Fitzpatrick,, "The undertaker who brought Jim Konstanty to life | Frank's Place," 23 June 2018 Both sides had been warned by plate umpire Andy Fletcher the previous inning after Giants rookie starter Dereck Rodriguez beaned Lewis Brinson as tempers flared for a second straight game. Janie Mccauley,, "Straily, Mattingly both ejected in Marlins' loss to Giants," 20 June 2018 That, unfortunately, could go on hold after Baez left Sunday’s game after a Jack Flaherty fastball beaned him square on the elbow. Staff,, "Nine Innings: Jason Heyward's Turning Point, Expansion Possibilities and Bryce Harper's Struggles," 18 June 2018 Apparently, getting beaned by two cans of Bush's sweet 'n' savories didn't calm him down. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "'Stop! Or I'll hurl these baked beans at you!' And that's what this Florida deputy did," 5 June 2018 Knights pitchers beaned four batters total — with Jourdyn Campbell being the victim three times. Jason Mcdaniel, Houston Chronicle, "Maddie Lindsey anchors Kingwood's win over Clear Falls," 11 May 2018 Bryant had missed the last four games after being beaned in Colorado last Sunday. Paul Sullivan,, "Kris Bryant returns to Cubs lineup against Brewers," 28 Apr. 2018 The third baseman was beaned by Colorado German Marquez on Sunday and has missed the last four games . . ., "Mass. basketball director Thomas Gassnola pleads guilty," 28 Apr. 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.

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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"

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Statistics for bean

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bean

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

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More Definitions for bean



English Language Learners Definition of bean

: to hit (someone) on the head with something


\ˈbēn \

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

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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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