• Any large piece of timber or iron long in proportion to its thickness, and prepared for use.
  • One of the principal horizontal structural members, usually of timber or concrete, of a building; one of the transverse members of a ship's frame on which the decks are laid — supported at the sides by knees in wooden ships and by stringers in steel ones.
  • The maximum width of a vessel (note that a vessel with a beam of 15 foot can also be said to be 15 foot abeam).
  • The crossbar of a mechanical balance, from the ends of which the scales are suspended.
  • The principal stem of the antler of a deer.
  • The pole of a carriage or chariot.
  • A cylinder of wood, making part of a loom, on which weavers wind the warp before weaving and the cylinder on which the cloth is rolled, as it is woven.
  • The straight part or shank of an anchor.
  • The central bar 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.
  • In steam engines, 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.
  • A ray or collection of approximately parallel rays emitted from the sun or other luminous body.
  • A ray; a gleam.
  • One of the long feathers in the wing of a hawk.
  • A horizontal bar which connects the stems of two or more notes to group them and to indicate metric value.
  • An elevated rectangular dirt pile used to cheaply build an elevated portion of a railway.


  • To emit beams of light; shine; radiate.
  • To smile broadly or especially cheerfully.
  • To furnish or supply with beams
  • To give the appearance of beams to.
  • To transmit matter or information via a high-tech wireless mechanism.
  • To transmit, especially by direct wireless means such as infrared.
  • To stretch something (for example an animal hide) on a beam.
  • To put (something) on a beam
  • To connect (musical notes) with a beam, or thick line, in music notation.


Narrower meaning words

  • fore beam, back beam


  • From Middle English beem, from Old English bēam, from Proto-West Germanic *baum, from Proto-Germanic *baumaz, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰew-. Cognate with West Frisian beam, Saterland Frisian Boom, Dutch boom, German Low German Boom, German Baum, Luxembourgish Bam, Albanian bimë. boom.
  • The verb is from Middle English bemen, from Old English bēamian ("to shine, to cast forth rays or beams of light"), from the noun.

Modern English dictionary

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