• Anatomical uses.
  • Figurative uses.
  • Colloquial uses.
  • A justice of the peace; a magistrate.
  • A schoolmaster (originally, at Eton).


  • Strike with the beak.
  • Seize with the beak.
  • To play truant.


Similar words


  • From Middle English bec, borrowed from Anglo-Norman bec, from Latin beccus, from Gaulish *bekkos, from Proto-Celtic *bekkos ("beak, snout"), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bak-, *baḱ-. Cognate with Breton beg ("beak"). Compare Saterland Frisian Bäk ("mouth; muzzle; beak"); Dutch bek.
  • Unknown; originally cant; first recorded in 17thC; probably related to obsolete cant beck "constable".

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