On the beam
Beam Beam (b[=e]m), n. [AS. be['a]m beam, post, tree, ray of light; akin to OFries. b[=a]m tree, OS. b[=o]m, D. boom, OHG. boum, poum, G. baum, Icel. ba[eth]mr, Goth. bagms and Gr. fy^ma a growth, fy^nai 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. [root]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. [1913 Webster]

2. One of the principal horizontal timbers of a building or ship. [1913 Webster]

The beams of a vessel are strong pieces of timber stretching across from side to side to support the decks. --Totten. [1913 Webster]

3. The width of a vessel; as, one vessel is said to have more beam than another. [1913 Webster]

4. The bar of a balance, from the ends of which the scales are suspended. [1913 Webster]

The doubtful beam long nods from side to side. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

5. The principal stem or horn of a stag or other deer, which bears the antlers, or branches. [1913 Webster]

6. The pole of a carriage. [Poetic] --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

8. The straight part or shank of an anchor. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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}. [1913 Webster]

11. A ray or collection of parallel rays emitted from the sun or other luminous body; as, a beam of light, or of heat. [1913 Webster]

How far that little candle throws his beams! --Shak. [1913 Webster]

12. (Fig.): A ray; a gleam; as, a beam of comfort. [1913 Webster]

Mercy with her genial beam. --Keble. [1913 Webster]

13. One of the long feathers in the wing of a hawk; -- called also {beam feather}. [1913 Webster]

{Abaft the beam} (Naut.), in an arc of the horizon between a line that crosses the ship at right angles, or in the direction of her beams, and that point of the compass toward which her stern is directed.

{Beam center} (Mach.), the fulcrum or pin on which the working beam of an engine vibrates.

{Beam compass}, an instrument consisting of a rod or beam, having sliding sockets that carry steel or pencil points; -- used for drawing or describing large circles.

{Beam engine}, a steam engine having a working beam to transmit power, in distinction from one which has its piston rod attached directly to the crank of the wheel shaft.

{Before the beam} (Naut.), in an arc of the horizon included between a line that crosses the ship at right angles and that point of the compass toward which the ship steers.

{On the beam}, in a line with the beams, or at right angles with the keel.

{On the weather beam}, on the side of a ship which faces the wind.

{To be on her beam ends}, to incline, as a vessel, so much on one side that her beams approach a vertical position. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • on the beam — {adv.} or {adj. phr.} 1. (Of an airplane) In the radio beam that marks the path to follow between airports; flying in the right direction. * /A radio signal tells the pilot of an airplane when he is flying on the beam./ 2. {slang} Doing well;… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • on the beam — {adv.} or {adj. phr.} 1. (Of an airplane) In the radio beam that marks the path to follow between airports; flying in the right direction. * /A radio signal tells the pilot of an airplane when he is flying on the beam./ 2. {slang} Doing well;… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • on the beam — 1. mod. homing in on an aviation radio beam. (No longer a major navigational device.) □ The plane was on the beam and landed safely in the fog. □ I couldn’t get on the beam, and I flew right over the airfield. 2. mod. on the right course or track …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • on\ the\ beam — adv or adj. phr. 1. (Of an airplane) In the radio beam that marks the path to follow between airports; flying in the right direction. A radio signal tells the pilot of an airplane when he is flying on the beam. 2. slang Doing well; just right;… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • on the beam — doing well, just right or correct What he said about the tax problem was right on the beam …   Idioms and examples

  • on the beam — aer. idi a) on the course indicated by a radio beam b) Informal. correct; exact …   From formal English to slang

  • on the beam — Synonyms and related words: aside, askance, askant, asquint, broadside, broadside on, crabwise, directly, down the alley, edgeway, edgeways, edgewise, glancingly, go go, groovy, hep, hip, into, laterad, laterally, on its side, on the straight,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • on the beam — phrasal 1. following a guiding beam 2. proceeding or operating correctly …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • On the weather beam — Beam Beam (b[=e]m), n. [AS. be[ a]m beam, post, tree, ray of light; akin to OFries. b[=a]m tree, OS. b[=o]m, D. boom, OHG. boum, poum, G. baum, Icel. ba[eth]mr, Goth. bagms and Gr. fy^ma a growth, fy^nai to become, to be. Cf. L. radius staff, rod …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • on the other hand — Synonyms and related words: a rebours, after all, again, against the grain, albeit, alias, all the same, although, arsy varsy, aside, askance, askant, asquint, at all events, at any rate, broadside, broadside on, but, by contraries, contra,… …   Moby Thesaurus

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