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 — (informal) CORRECT, right, accurate, true, on the straight and narrow, on the right track, on the right lines; informal on the money, on the mark; Brit. informal spot on. → beam * * * phrasal : following a guiding beam : proceeding correc …   Useful english dictionary

  • 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

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