The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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.
2. One of the principal horizontal timbers of a building or
The beams of a vessel are strong pieces of timber
stretching across from side to side to support the
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
The doubtful beam long nods from side to side.
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!
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.
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
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
To be on her beam ends, to incline, as a vessel, so much on
one side that her beams approach a vertical position.