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’
    ‘rosary beads’
    ‘she fastened the beads round my neck’
    as modifier ‘a bead bracelet’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A devout Catholic and mother of seven, she was holding her beloved rosary beads when the end came.’
    • ‘She had green and gold beads for all us gals to put around our necks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He remembered that his mother had given him some prayer beads.’
    • ‘Local craft production included the manufacture of glass and stone beads, and extensive tin, bronze, and gold working.’
    • ‘In order to get authentic bead jewelry, be sure to buy it where it is crafted by hand.’
    • ‘Both gloves are dotted with clusters of tiny pearl beads.’
    • ‘We've noticed that Topshop is showing lots of bright red and turquoise bead bracelets and necklaces.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The excavators found Roman glass beads from a necklace and one gaming counter.’
    • ‘Costumes will consist of robes, jackets, skirts, trousers and tops, all made with animal skins, cotton, silks and beads.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We fingered our beads and said the second part of the Hail Mary or Our Father.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I found an inflatable pink backpack, a bead necklace and a giant bone on my walk, not all in the same place.’
    • ‘Her installation was made of crystal beads strung on transparent threads.’
    • ‘The beads, pendants, and engravings were surprisingly well-preserved.’
    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’
    • ‘Sometimes, I see beads of glistening sweat dropping off her forehead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Despite the cold, a single clear bead of sweat slid down her chest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their limbs ached from walking so far and beads of sweat dropped onto the ground from the scorching sun.’
    • ‘Again this morning, beads of moisture on the windshield.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Little beads of crystalline liquid began to form at the ends of his eyes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was appreciating each bead of water that hit my body.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He stood there holding it, examining its shimmering steel, the beads of moisture rolling off of it.’
    • ‘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 cool humidity of the low hanging clouds forms beads of moisture on the surface of each stone.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead, and continued to daydream of Alaska.’
    • ‘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.’
    droplet, drop, blob, bubble, dot, dewdrop, teardrop
    View synonyms
  • 3A small knob forming the foresight of a gun.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was in the bathroom, he said, when he noticed the red bead of an automatic weapon's sighting trained on him.’
    • ‘Rather, they decided on a single fixed-leaf rear sight with a gold bead front sight.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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 refers to diameter of the metal ring, on which the bead of the tire rests.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Styled Wheels do not have the normal recess inside of the bead for standard hubcaps to mount into.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 5An ornamental plaster moulding resembling a string of beads or having a semicircular cross section.

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

verb

[with object]
  • 1often as adjective beadedDecorate or cover with beads.

    ‘a beaded evening bag’
    • ‘Also use sew-ins on vinyls, sequined or beaded fabrics, and those with a water- or stain-repellant finish.’
    • ‘These rectangular bags, usually beaded on one side only, appear to have developed just after 1850 with the introduction of seed beads.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While working for Dinnigan he was exposed to beaded fabrics from India, many of which were badly made.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They also come braided, beaded, decorated, and high-heeled.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Intricately beaded handbags sit perfectly next to colourful, embroidered ‘kurtas’, with something to appeal to practically every taste.’
    • ‘Mountain-dwelling Hani women in patchwork costumes sell beaded headdresses and bags.’
    • ‘How about intricately beaded jewelry or a hand-knitted cable scarf?’
    • ‘He beaded belts and purses for sale at Czech rodeos and other western-themed occasions.’
    • ‘This summer I used a funky embroidered and beaded denim covered notebook with violet and lilac gel pens’
    • ‘One can see beaded slippers being made, and if able to afford it, buy a pair as a lovely memory of the place.’
    • ‘The beautiful figured mahogany drawer fronts are beaded and veneered and the early, carved cartouche is original.’
    • ‘They are both mad about the season's bright colours as well as the sophisticated button, beaded and flower detail to be found everywhere.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A turquoise bracelet, a tropical-fish tank, a vest beaded with Elvis Presley's visage, canary eyes and sequin lips.’
    • ‘She had the decency to cover herself with a brightly coloured, beaded shawl but it hardly helped.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘These pearls are beaded in the form of chains, studs or bangles.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An African Arts Week at Sunnymede Infants School, in Mons Avenue, saw children learn how to bead necklaces ready to dance to traditional music.’
      • ‘She also has strings of pearls in her hair, as well as pearls beaded into her hair.’
      • ‘I know I am, having a dippy mother to call my very own and bead me things for my birthday.’
  • 2Cover (a surface) with drops of moisture.

    ‘his face was beaded with perspiration’
    • ‘I wanted to imagine Gabe's arms around me, but I just felt prickly from the temperature and the sweat beading my skin.’
    • ‘Sweat beaded off her forehead and landed on her pillow.’
    • ‘‘You'll end up in Hell,’ Vincent interrupted, forcing out his words as sweat beaded on his forehead.’
    • ‘The water beaded and rolled off of ashen pinions.’
    • ‘‘You're an idiot,’ I told myself as I let the hot steamy water bead down my body.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tanner felt sweat bead on his upper lip: he had to stay still.’
    • ‘The tankard of beer was beaded with condensation and deliciously cold.’
    • ‘Like water beading on the surface of a freshly waxed car, the palladium formed granular clusters just a few nanometers across.’
    • ‘I started, beaded in a cold sweat, breathing hard.’
    • ‘Two glasses of iced tea sat on the counter, beaded with condensation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sweat beaded and fell from his brow like raindrops.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘Because once wouldn't be enough,’ he replied at last, tears beading his cheeks again.’
    • ‘Moisture is beaded on the windshield of the pick-up.’
    • ‘Flowers with their petals recently beaded with rain drops have a unique appeal, the very epitome of freshness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With moisture still beading on my skin, I took to my heels, only to run face first into someone's chest.’

Phrases

  • draw (or get) a bead on

    • 1Take aim at with a gun.

      ‘I drew a bead on the nape of his neck’
      • ‘He dove underneath me and I could not get a bead on him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If your scope becomes flooded with red light, that means she's got a bead on you.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Snowbirds obliged by flying in numbers sufficient for my autofocus to get a bead on them.’
      • ‘A sensor contact made him pause, take cover, and get a bead on the opening to the tunnel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 troops, wearing flak jackets, tried to get a bead on this guy.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Turner got a bead on yet another alien ship and loosed a missile from the left pylon.’
      • ‘‘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.’’
      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’
        • ‘He dove underneath me and I could not get a bead on him.’
        • ‘The purpose of the dance was to prevent snipers from getting a bead on us.’
        • ‘The Snowbirds obliged by flying in numbers sufficient for my autofocus to get a bead on them.’
        • ‘She'll look around trying to get a bead on the place.’
        • ‘She looked down at herself to get a bead on her situation, only to find she wasn't clothed.’
        • ‘The Kyrgyz soldiers draw 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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘He's good at showing different looks so offenses have a hard time getting a bead on what the defense is doing.’
        • ‘Scope in place, he drew a bead on the enemy.’
  • tell one's beads

    • Use the beads of a rosary in counting prayers.

      • ‘To his great relief the Nurse enters - an Irish nun in long white robes, telling her rosary beads.’
      • ‘But his heart smote him when he told his beads, and remembered what he had said to Carloman.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Josephine kept a long list of intentions and told her beads with the same dispatch with which she cleaned house.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She had remained steadfast in her faith and had continued to tell her beads on her fingers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And I am going to stand under the oaks and tell my beads.’
      • ‘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.’

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/