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beam Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a signal transmitted along a narrow path; guides airplane pilots in darkness or bad weather
    radio beam.
  2. noun long thick piece of wood or metal or concrete, etc., used in construction
  3. noun a group of nearly parallel lines of electromagnetic radiation
    electron beam; ray.
  4. noun a column of light (as from a beacon)
    shaft; ray of light; irradiation; shaft of light; beam of light; light beam; ray.
  5. noun (nautical) breadth amidships
  6. noun the broad side of a ship
    • they sighted land on the port beam
  7. noun a gymnastic apparatus used by women gymnasts
    balance beam.
  8. verb smile radiantly; express joy through one's facial expression
  9. verb emit light; be bright, as of the sun or a light
    • The sun shone bright that day
    • The fire beamed on their faces
  10. verb express with a beaming face or smile
    • he beamed his approval
  11. verb broadcast over the airwaves, as in radio or television
    broadcast; transmit; send; air.
    • We cannot air this X-rated song
  12. verb have a complexion with a strong bright color, such as red or pink
    shine; radiate; glow.
    • Her face glowed when she came out of the sauna
  13. verb experience a feeling of well-being or happiness, as from good health or an intense emotion
    shine; radiate; glow.
    • She was beaming with joy
    • Her face radiated with happiness

Beam noun
AS. beám beam, post, tree, ray of light; akin to OFries. bam tree, OS. bm, D. boom, OHG. boum, poum, G. baum, Icel. bamr, Goth. bahms and Gr. a growth, to become, to be. Cf. L. radius staff, rod, spoke of a wheel, beam or ray, and G. strahl arrow, spoke of a wheel, ray or beam, flash of lightning. 97. See Be; cf. Boom a spar.
  1. Any large piece of timber or iron long in proportion to its thickness, and prepared for use.
  2. One of the principal horizontal timbers of a building or ship.
    The beams of a vessel are strong pieces of timber stretching across from side to side to support the decks. Totten.
  3. The width of a vessel; as, one vessel is said to have more beam than another.
  4. The bar of a balance, from the ends of which the scales are suspended.
    The doubtful beam long nods from side to side. Pope.
  5. The principal stem or horn of a stag or other deer, which bears the antlers, or branches.
  6. The pole of a carriage. Poetic Dryden.
  7. A cylinder of wood, making part of a loom, on which weavers wind the warp before weaving; also, the cylinder on which the cloth is rolled, as it is woven; one being called the fore beam, the other the back beam.
  8. The straight part or shank of an anchor.
  9. The main part of a plow, to which the handles and colter are secured, and to the end of which are attached the oxen or horses that draw it.
  10. (Steam Engine) A heavy iron lever having an oscillating motion on a central axis, one end of which is connected with the piston rod from which it receives motion, and the other with the crank of the wheel shaft; -- called also working beam or walking beam.
  11. A ray or collection of parallel rays emitted from the sun or other luminous body; as, a beam of light, or of heat.
    How far that little candle throws his beams ! Shak.
  12. Fig.: A ray; a gleam; as, a beam of comfort.
    Mercy with her genial beam. Keble.
  13. One of the long feathers in the wing of a hawk; -- called also beam feather.
Beam transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Beamed (); present participle & verbal noun Beaming
  1. To send forth; to emit; -- followed ordinarily by forth; as, to beam forth light.
Beam intransitive verb
  1. To emit beams of light.
    He beamed, the daystar of the rising age. Trumbull.

Webster 1913