Definition of bead in English:

bead

noun

  • 1A small piece of glass, stone, or similar material that is threaded with others to make a necklace or rosary or sewn on to fabric:

    ‘long strings of beads’
    [as modifier] ‘rosary beads’
    ‘she fastened the beads round my neck’
    [as modifier] ‘a bead bracelet’
    • ‘Both gloves are dotted with clusters of tiny pearl beads.’
    • ‘Around her neck she wore a necklace of amber beads that she had inherited from her Great Aunt Caroline, who had also been her godmother.’
    • ‘Local craft production included the manufacture of glass and stone beads, and extensive tin, bronze, and gold working.’
    • ‘He deftly picks up different objects such as glass stones, beads and white metal piping and threads it aesthetically on a black cotton thread to make a necklace.’
    • ‘The excavators found Roman glass beads from a necklace and one gaming counter.’
    • ‘We've noticed that Topshop is showing lots of bright red and turquoise bead bracelets and necklaces.’
    • ‘Anyone can attach beads to a piece of shiny cloth!’
    • ‘He lives amidst a dizzying array of objects: church fixtures, toys, beads, bottle caps, dolls' heads, icons, candles and dominoes.’
    • ‘The beads, pendants, and engravings were surprisingly well-preserved.’
    • ‘A pen case worn by the figure helps to identify the image as an author: a set of prayer beads in his left hand demonstrates his piety.’
    • ‘Her installation was made of crystal beads strung on transparent threads.’
    • ‘He remembered that his mother had given him some prayer beads.’
    • ‘Costumes will consist of robes, jackets, skirts, trousers and tops, all made with animal skins, cotton, silks and beads.’
    • ‘She had green and gold beads for all us gals to put around our necks.’
    • ‘Both of these drummers are wearing long strands of beads, which may be initiation necklaces.’
    • ‘Wealthy women might have a string of brightly coloured beads linking the two brooches across the chest.’
    • ‘I found an inflatable pink backpack, a bead necklace and a giant bone on my walk, not all in the same place.’
    • ‘In order to get authentic bead jewelry, be sure to buy it where it is crafted by hand.’
    • ‘A devout Catholic and mother of seven, she was holding her beloved rosary beads when the end came.’
    • ‘We fingered our beads and said the second part of the Hail Mary or Our Father.’
    ball, pellet, pill, globule, spheroid, spherule, sphere, oval, ovoid, orb, round, pearl
    View synonyms
  • 2A drop of a liquid on a surface:

    ‘beads of sweat’
    • ‘Seconds later, Mel was back with a towel to wipe salty beads of liquid away from Sam's face.’
    • ‘Plasma bolts smacked into the table, dropping hissing beads of steel onto the floor.’
    • ‘Despite the cold, a single clear bead of sweat slid down her chest.’
    • ‘Just standing in the dugout with the suit on, sweat rolled down my face, forming a seemingly huge bead at the end of my nose.’
    • ‘A group of ducks were bobbing off to the right, dipping their heads beneath the surface and returning seconds later, with beads of water rolling off their waxy feathers.’
    • ‘By the time I'd turned on the engine in the drive and found my coat and gloves, the only frost traces that remained were beads of water easily flicked away by a swish of each set of wipers.’
    • ‘She stopped to wipe another bead of sweat from her forehead when a large shadow appeared and offered a little welcome relief from the sun.’
    • ‘When I drew the study curtains it was to see that it'd been raining during the night and that while there was a lovely bit of warming sunshine, it glittered off of the beads of moisture on the lawn.’
    • ‘The fog made tiny beads of moisture on the fine hairs of Theresa's mink as they walked from the parked car to Davies Symphony Hall.’
    • ‘Again this morning, beads of moisture on the windshield.’
    • ‘Sometimes, I see beads of glistening sweat dropping off her forehead.’
    • ‘He stood there holding it, examining its shimmering steel, the beads of moisture rolling off of it.’
    • ‘But once the pallbearers had executed their duties perfectly in the full gaze of the nation, their strained faces were clearly shown to be glistening with beads of perspiration.’
    • ‘IT'S a freezing December day on the snow-covered mountains of Austria, but Darwen snowboarder Cindy Meller already has beads of perspiration on her forehead.’
    • ‘Making his way to one of the deep blue glass pillars that adorned the laboratory, he gently swept some beads of condensation off the surface.’
    • ‘A big head that is comprised of large bubbles, coupled with beads of bubbles rising through the beer, is evidence of high levels of carbonation.’
    • ‘She wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead, and continued to daydream of Alaska.’
    • ‘My home on Sunday became a place of carefree fun, little wet boys running to and fro, glistening beads of moisture running down their soft nubile chests.’
    • ‘Their limbs ached from walking so far and beads of sweat dropped onto the ground from the scorching sun.’
    • ‘The cool humidity of the low hanging clouds forms beads of moisture on the surface of each stone.’
    • ‘I was appreciating each bead of water that hit my body.’
    • ‘Little beads of crystalline liquid began to form at the ends of his eyes.’
    droplet, drop, blob, bubble, dot, dewdrop, teardrop
    View synonyms
  • 3A small knob forming the foresight of a gun.

    • ‘Rather, they decided on a single fixed-leaf rear sight with a gold bead front sight.’
    • ‘He was in the bathroom, he said, when he noticed the red bead of an automatic weapon's sighting trained on him.’
    • ‘It was off to Hamilton Bowen to be bead blasted and re-blued.’
    • ‘Bit-by-bit the bead of a gun sight assembled in her mind's eye and nestled between his thick eyebrows.’
    • ‘I am pretty certain that your gun's bead is threaded, but I don't know the size offhand.’
  • 4The reinforced inner edge of a pneumatic tyre that grips the rim of the wheel.

    • ‘This refers to diameter of the metal ring, on which the bead of the tire rests.’
    • ‘Nail or screw a 2X2 piece of wood flush with the bottom of the ledger, and lay a bead of sealant at the joint to prevent water infiltration.’
    • ‘Styled Wheels do not have the normal recess inside of the bead for standard hubcaps to mount into.’
    • ‘This is the distance between the vertical edges of the rim where the tire bead seats.’
    • ‘And if you put Slime or another sealant in them, which I recommend, this lubricates the installation of the final few inches of bead as well.’
    • ‘This makes it imperative that you only push one bead into the valley at a time, since there is not room for both in there, as there often is with a Mavic UST rim.’
    • ‘Wetting the beads of the tire and/or the mounting surfaces in the rim is important because it makes a better seal against the rim and slides easily onto the bead seat.’
  • 5An ornamental plaster moulding resembling a string of beads or having a semicircular cross section.

    • ‘This is not practical for the beads on the vertical edges of the drawers.’
    • ‘The plane is a Grecian ovolo with bead and is designed to cut a one-inch wide profile in half-inch thick stock.’
    • ‘These often have a small bead on one edge and a band molding applied to the other.’
    • ‘By contrast, Salem makers almost never used a single bead on the inside edge, preferring widely or closely spaced double beads.’
    • ‘Trim Tex shadow bead connects drywall with interior door and window jambs for a clean look, Reader says.’
    • ‘If you can't pry out the nails without further damaging the wall, use the snips to cut the bead from around the nailheads.’
    • ‘Whether you attach the new section of corner bead with nails or screws, be sure its edges align perfectly with the existing bead.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1often as adjective beadedDecorate or cover with beads:

    ‘a beaded evening bag’
    • ‘These rectangular bags, usually beaded on one side only, appear to have developed just after 1850 with the introduction of seed beads.’
    • ‘They also come braided, beaded, decorated, and high-heeled.’
    • ‘How about intricately beaded jewelry or a hand-knitted cable scarf?’
    • ‘Most of the time, he wisely kept a light touch with turquoise beading, trimming fresh white tweed coats and dresses with the stuff - and even won with a swingy beaded skirt worn with a delicate cashmere tank.’
    • ‘The beautiful figured mahogany drawer fronts are beaded and veneered and the early, carved cartouche is original.’
    • ‘This summer I used a funky embroidered and beaded denim covered notebook with violet and lilac gel pens’
    • ‘The silk is beaded with tiny crystals that sparkle when the light catches them just right.’
    • ‘Layer fringe and ribbon, different fringe lengths, or beaded and fabric trims.’
    • ‘Kimono night robes, Turkish peasant tops and embroidered, beaded skirts are just a few of the hot items that will be turning heads this season.’
    • ‘Also use sew-ins on vinyls, sequined or beaded fabrics, and those with a water- or stain-repellant finish.’
    • ‘She had the decency to cover herself with a brightly coloured, beaded shawl but it hardly helped.’
    • ‘Intricately beaded handbags sit perfectly next to colourful, embroidered ‘kurtas’, with something to appeal to practically every taste.’
    • ‘In the rules it says you can be a movie character and if they had spent 2 years on a heavily beaded costume they would probably also deserve to win.’
    • ‘The bride wore a white beaded bodice with a net skirt and train, and a shoulder-length veil held by a pearl and rhinestone tiara.’
    • ‘He beaded belts and purses for sale at Czech rodeos and other western-themed occasions.’
    • ‘They are both mad about the season's bright colours as well as the sophisticated button, beaded and flower detail to be found everywhere.’
    • ‘Mountain-dwelling Hani women in patchwork costumes sell beaded headdresses and bags.’
    • ‘Taren said, presenting her with a sword that remained sheathed in an elven leather scabbard, beaded and decorated with the majestic colors of the earth.’
    • ‘One can see beaded slippers being made, and if able to afford it, buy a pair as a lovely memory of the place.’
    • ‘A turquoise bracelet, a tropical-fish tank, a vest beaded with Elvis Presley's visage, canary eyes and sequin lips.’
    • ‘While working for Dinnigan he was exposed to beaded fabrics from India, many of which were badly made.’
    • ‘Garbed in regally beaded, colorful gowns of orange and blue-green instead of their normally drab brown shifts, they looked almost like royalty.’
    1. 1.1 String (beads) together:
      ‘seashells beaded into belts’
      • ‘She also has strings of pearls in her hair, as well as pearls beaded into her hair.’
      • ‘After all my bragging about beads, Jim sent me a nice e-mail and asked me if I'd be willing to take a commission to bead him a bracelet.’
      • ‘I know I am, having a dippy mother to call my very own and bead me things for my birthday.’
      • ‘An African Arts Week at Sunnymede Infants School, in Mons Avenue, saw children learn how to bead necklaces ready to dance to traditional music.’
      • ‘These pearls are beaded in the form of chains, studs or bangles.’
  • 2Cover (a surface) with drops of moisture:

    ‘his face was beaded with perspiration’
    • ‘Sweat beaded on his forehead, and his shaking hands betrayed his feelings… He wanted to kill Jennifer, with every ounce of neural power in his mind.’
    • ‘Like water beading on the surface of a freshly waxed car, the palladium formed granular clusters just a few nanometers across.’
    • ‘The tankard of beer was beaded with condensation and deliciously cold.’
    • ‘Moisture is beaded on the windshield of the pick-up.’
    • ‘Sweat beaded and fell from his brow like raindrops.’
    • ‘‘You're an idiot,’ I told myself as I let the hot steamy water bead down my body.’
    • ‘Sweat beaded off her forehead and landed on her pillow.’
    • ‘With moisture still beading on my skin, I took to my heels, only to run face first into someone's chest.’
    • ‘‘You'll end up in Hell,’ Vincent interrupted, forcing out his words as sweat beaded on his forehead.’
    • ‘She came out of the bathroom with the pictures of the training facility, then used her mini blow dryer to dry the water which beaded the surface of the prints.’
    • ‘Two glasses of iced tea sat on the counter, beaded with condensation.’
    • ‘The answer is in the minute details of the leaf structure at the surface which beads water and directs it off the leaf, containing a load of dust and other particles.’
    • ‘I started, beaded in a cold sweat, breathing hard.’
    • ‘I wanted to imagine Gabe's arms around me, but I just felt prickly from the temperature and the sweat beading my skin.’
    • ‘The water beaded and rolled off of ashen pinions.’
    • ‘Vivienne struggled for an answer, feeling sweat bead along her nape and along her forehead, where her dark hair was already hanging limply from her shower.’
    • ‘For example, the film opens in a rainstorm and you can see every drop of water beading on Harry's jacket; later on, there's a night scene in which grain explodes from the screen.’
    • ‘Flowers with their petals recently beaded with rain drops have a unique appeal, the very epitome of freshness.’
    • ‘Tanner felt sweat bead on his upper lip: he had to stay still.’
    • ‘‘Because once wouldn't be enough,’ he replied at last, tears beading his cheeks again.’

Phrases

  • draw (or get) a bead on

    • 1Take aim at with a gun:

      ‘I drew a bead on the nape of his neck’
      • ‘The real tactics of sea battling is in forcing your enemy into a bad position and then damaging them while they cannot get a bead on your ship.’
      • ‘The Snowbirds obliged by flying in numbers sufficient for my autofocus to get a bead on them.’
      • ‘The advantage of bullet time is that while everything slows down, you can still aim in real-time. Some of the best and most tense moments come from watching a hail of enemy bullets whiz past as you try to get a bead on them before they fire again.’
      • ‘The troops, wearing flak jackets, tried to get a bead on this guy.’
      • ‘‘He drew a bead on me and I drew a bead on him and dropped him,’ Capt. Hornbuckle says. ‘He was not going to stop me from going home.’’
      • ‘Other times, on other nights that Goodrum himself describes, he'd relive those bleak seconds aboard the USS Missouri when he was in the Navy during the War and a missile drew a bead on his ship.’
      • ‘The sergeant drew a bead on the shooter with his weapon of choice, an M - 14 rifle equipped with a special optic sight that has crosshairs and a red aiming dot.’
      • ‘Most of the weapons have some kind of targeting laser that looks very cool but it doesn't help getting a bead on a charging zombie.’
      • ‘Our C - 130 Hercules zigzagged up to cruising altitude so bad guys couldn't get a bead on us with shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.’
      • ‘Plenty of good spots for a rebel sniper or two with AA artillery to get a bead on an air limo cruising along.’
      • ‘A quick look over my shoulder gives me enough time to see a smartly suited figure, accompanied by similarly clothed and similarly armed others, pull what looks like a pulsegun and try to get a bead on me.’
      • ‘If your scope becomes flooded with red light, that means she's got a bead on you.’
      • ‘Turner got a bead on yet another alien ship and loosed a missile from the left pylon.’
      • ‘He dove underneath me and I could not get a bead on him.’
      • ‘A sensor contact made him pause, take cover, and get a bead on the opening to the tunnel.’
      aim at, fix on, focus on, zero in on, sight
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Fully understand or make sense of:
        ‘it's hard to draw a bead on the stock market these days’
        • ‘She'll look around trying to get a bead on the place.’
        • ‘He's good at showing different looks so offenses have a hard time getting a bead on what the defense is doing.’
        • ‘With a major three-year $500,000 grant from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Foundation is drawing a bead on reaching this at-risk group.’
        • ‘The Kyrgyz soldiers draw a bead on him.’
        • ‘She looked down at herself to get a bead on her situation, only to find she wasn't clothed.’
        • ‘The Snowbirds obliged by flying in numbers sufficient for my autofocus to get a bead on them.’
        • ‘Scope in place, he drew a bead on the enemy.’
        • ‘He dove underneath me and I could not get a bead on him.’
        • ‘Plenty of good spots for a rebel sniper or two with AA artillery to get a bead on an air limo cruising along.’
        • ‘The purpose of the dance was to prevent snipers from getting a bead on us.’
  • tell one's beads

    • Use the beads of a rosary in counting prayers.

      • ‘And I am going to stand under the oaks and tell my beads.’
      • ‘When he was sleepless he lay on his back and told his beads, and there was a small rosary in the pocket of his pyjama coat.’
      • ‘The Sikh and the cultivator's wife chewed pan; the lama took snuff and told his beads, while Kim, cross-legged, smiled over the comfort of a full stomach.’
      • ‘Josephine kept a long list of intentions and told her beads with the same dispatch with which she cleaned house.’
      • ‘Whilst she told her beads with her left hand, she held in her right hand a lighted candle which was frequently blown out by the strong draught which was blowing along the Gave; but each time, she gave it to the person nearest her to have it re-re-lit.’
      • ‘Meanwhile Madame de Noailles read her breviary and told her beads and took little naps, wholly ignorant of the drama that was beginning its perilous unfolding before her.’
      • ‘And when she knelt down to tell her beads that night, a very strange and terrible prayer lingered on her lips the last and most earnestly of all.’
      • ‘But his heart smote him when he told his beads, and remembered what he had said to Carloman.’
      • ‘In medieval times the amethyst was a favourite amulet as a preserver of the wearer in battle, and many a pious crusader who nightly told his beads, relied also upon the purple stone that hung as a protective charm beside his rosary.’
      • ‘She had remained steadfast in her faith and had continued to tell her beads on her fingers.’
      • ‘To his great relief the Nurse enters - an Irish nun in long white robes, telling her rosary beads.’
      • ‘She resolved however not to be drawn into any action which might attract the hatred of the prince; for she knew him indeed to be a man out of her sphere, a man who went to mass, and told his beads as the church directed him.’
      • ‘Beside the well and the ruins of a place of worship in which James IV. told his beads in 1504 there are traces of a burial-ground where several families of distinction were interred.’
      • ‘Franz Werfel said of an old woman that she told her beads as though she were knitting garments for the poor.’

Origin

Old English gebed ‘prayer’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bede and German Gebet, also to bid. Current senses derive from the use of a rosary, each bead representing a prayer.

Pronunciation:

bead

/biːd/