Definition of beam in English:

beam

noun

  • 1A long, sturdy piece of squared timber or metal used to support the roof or floor of a building:

    ‘there are very fine oak beams in the oldest part of the house’
    ‘the cottage boasts a wealth of exposed beams’
    • ‘This features a quarry tiled floor, oak timber beams and numerous storage presses.’
    • ‘The village pub dates back to the 15th century and the renovation sees its original oak beams and tiled floors on full display.’
    • ‘Wood flooring, room-spanning collar-tie beams, and a refinished wood ceiling blend the spaces together.’
    • ‘This is fitted with white wall and floor units and an integrated oven, and has a pitched ceiling with exposed timber beams and an oak floor.’
    • ‘He didn't trust the crumbling clay-and-straw roof, much less the rickety wooden beams supporting the second floor.’
    • ‘These joists were the ceiling beams for the first floor great room.’
    • ‘Here, behind the building's exposed beams, Sze stacked scores of small white jewelry boxes into precarious ziggurats.’
    • ‘The slab is designed as a continuous plate supported by the floor beams and edge girders.’
    • ‘This has a dark flagstone floor, exposed roof beams, a Stanley oil-fired range with a tiled backdrop and an attractive stone surround.’
    • ‘An alternative would be to acquire some of the expensive freestone, and use that to make the door or window frame, supported by wooden beams during the building process.’
    • ‘The kitchen has a tiled floor, roof beams, ceiling spotlights and a fitted oven, hob and grill.’
    • ‘The breakfast room has a tiled floor and exposed roof beams.’
    • ‘With sturdy metal beams as their building blocks, architects and engineers could erect monumental skyscrapers hundreds of feet in the air.’
    • ‘Some of the principal beams, old ship's timbers, survived although they look rather lonely, silhouetted against the sky.’
    • ‘Inside, a lofty ceiling with exposed beams helps keep the non-air-conditioned space well-ventilated.’
    • ‘The finished apartments will have exposed original timber beams, oak flooring, glazed balconies and spiral staircases.’
    • ‘The concave roof of the island building, supported by beams suspended in tension, has its center in the sky.’
    • ‘But the deck doesn't flatten out because the horizontal beam underneath holds it in place.’
    • ‘The low, irregular ceiling is crisscrossed with beams made from ships' timbers and a log fire crackles merrily in the hearth.’
    • ‘The smallest table measures three metres by four metres and can shake in any direction, simulating a quake and testing the movement of beams and columns.’
    • ‘The first scene set in the interior of the shop uses the tiled floor and roof beams to establish orthogonals and transversals.’
    • ‘A timber deck is supported on I beams which transfer its loads to the hoops.’
    • ‘All the rooms feature natural stone tiled floors and exposed beams.’
    • ‘It transpired that the oak beam supporting the floor had collapsed.’
    • ‘The college is a big high building and it has very thick oak beams to support the ceiling.’
    joist, purlin, girder, spar, support, strut, stay, brace, scantling, batten, transom, lintel, stringer, baulk, board, timber, plank, lath, rafter
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A narrow, raised horizontal piece of squared timber on which a gymnast balances while performing exercises:
      ‘a compulsory set of exercises on floor, vault, bars, and beam’
      • ‘When the gymnast misses the beam the device instantly picks up the slack on the gym elastics, preventing her crashing to the ground.’
      • ‘On the beam, in the floor exercises and on the vault she demonstrated original elements for the first time in the world.’
      • ‘The water rushing underneath the beam had a slightly dizzying effect on her, but she had to keep her eyes on the beam so she could tell where she was putting her feet.’
      • ‘American junior Courtney Kupets also qualified to all four events, and led the field on bars and beam.’
      • ‘She showed great form, expressive dance and world class difficulty on bars and beam.’
      • ‘I think they were especially successful in the floor exercises, the beam and the vaults.’
      • ‘She made it in the Zone meet Wednesday and made some nice improvements on bars and beam.’
      • ‘Khorkina fell from bars and beam but managed a bronze medal on the floor exercise.’
      • ‘When we think of women swinging on bars, somersaulting on beams, tumbling on carpets and soaring over vaults at the Olympic Games, we do not necessarily think of Pamela Anderson.’
      • ‘Her teammate was Maria's only real rival, but blew her chances with a fall from the beam.’
      • ‘But bars and beam are both my strongest events, and they are less demanding on my back.’
      • ‘The team was impressive especially on beam where gymnasts after gymnast nailed difficult combinations.’
      • ‘In the event finals held Wednesday, Dong added the golds on vault, beam, and floor exercise to her all-around and team golds.’
      • ‘On beam, she missed valuable connections and removed some of her bonus elements for an 8.750.’
      • ‘His final result of 39.025 could have been higher if it were not for an error in coming off the beam.’
      • ‘Good in all exercises, but excels on the asymmetrical bars and the beam.’
      • ‘Raducan had been the defending World and World Cup champion on both beam and floor exercise.’
      • ‘Although she had troubles on bars and beam, she showed great promise for the future.’
      • ‘This action is also seen in gymnastics in free exercise and beam routines, in the backhand stroke in racket sports, and in softball batting.’
      • ‘I started working the sideways back handspring on beam before I saw her do it.’
      • ‘Nancy Smith is another gymnast and enjoys exercising on the bars, beam and the vault.’
    2. 1.2 A horizontal piece of squared timber or metal supporting the deck and joining the sides of a ship:
      ‘the watertight skin and deck were put on over this framework of ribs and beams’
      • ‘One part of the outer hull is punctured by a support beam from the larger ship.’
      • ‘It is mounted on a support beam under my rear deck.’
      • ‘The entire deck is supported by steel beams with a complete steel deck over the cabin and engineroom.’
      • ‘I had never dived on a real pirate ship, and I imagined fully rigged masts, broad wooden beams, and a blonde-haired damsel gracing the bow of an eerie ghost ship.’
      • ‘At the aft end of the ventilation hatches, a curved beam spans the deck.’
      • ‘Startled, I jerked my hand away, smacking my head on one of the upper deck's support beams in the process.’
      • ‘The vessel's massive beam - nearly 30 feet at its widest - provides both stability and comfort.’
    3. 1.3Nautical The direction of an object visible from the port or starboard side of a ship when it is perpendicular to the centre line of the vessel:
      ‘there was land in sight on the port beam’
      • ‘The next challenge was to dodge the shipping as it headed to and from Lands End just off the port beam.’
      • ‘He was then told she was in sight on the starboard beam.’
      • ‘The whales surfaced again about half a mile off the port beam, having dived beneath us, then turned north and headed towards Mazatlan.’
      • ‘Just to Doremi's side a seagull was flying, keeping time with the ship as both moved north, with the sun to their starboard beam.’
      • ‘A Republican Navy cruiser slid into position off the liner's starboard beam.’
    4. 1.4 A ship's breadth at its widest point:
      ‘a cutter with a beam of 16 feet’
      • ‘She is one hundred and sixty eight feet in length, twenty four feet across the beam and weighs 330 tons.’
      • ‘With her three pearl white parallel hulls she had a 25-foot beam.’
      • ‘The new vessel is almost two metres longer than their previous one and, coupled with a wider beam, means it is capable of being launched in more stormy conditions.’
      • ‘Built in 2000, the M/Y Harmony G is a small ship with a beam of 20 feet and draft of 10 feet.’
      • ‘She was constructed of teak and reported as being 84 tons, 56 feet in length and having a beam of 18 feet 6 inches.’
      • ‘This is really a very large boat with a beam of 8-foot 6-inches and a hull weight of an astonishing 4900 pounds.’
    5. 1.5informal The width of a person's hips:
      ‘notice how broad in the beam she's getting?’
      • ‘To put it politely she was a little "broad in the beam" and we couldn't quite squeeze her into the entrance.’
      • ‘But Lycra isn't for everyone, especially anyone who is broad in the beam or self-conscious.’
      • ‘She is, at 53, shorter than you'd expect, broad in the beam and still so extravagantly beautiful she appears unreal.’
      • ‘He had a touch of Jennifer Lopez's Latin good looks, but was less broad in the beam.’
      • ‘Annick is, to use one of my mother's expressions, a little broad in the beam.’
      wideness, breadth, broadness, thickness, spread, span, diameter, girth
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6 The main stem of a stag's antler:
      ‘the wide beams sprouted ten main tines’
      • ‘One of those bucks would have to have an inside spread, as measured by the greatest length between main antler beams, of at least 13 inches.’
      • ‘The main beam of an Elk’s antlers can reach up to 5 feet in length.’
      • ‘To make one, use a hacksaw to sever a section of the main beam, and hollow out the softer center with a rotary rasp.’
      • ‘In all cases, they consist of a single tine removed from a palmate section of an antler beam.’
      • ‘Because the main beam of a buck swoops to the rear and then juts forward, it can trick the eye.’
    7. 1.7 The crossbar of a balance.
      • ‘The sequence of the above manifestations decidedly suggests the swing of a pendulum or beam of a balance in coming to rest, and for this widespread phenomenon the name oscillatory effect is proposed.’
      • ‘A triple-beam balance gets its name because it has three beams that allow you to move known masses along the beam.’
      • ‘Directions indicated by the beam of a balance or a hanging plummet are called horizontal or vertical, respectively.’
      • ‘The original form of a weighing scale consisted of a beam with a fulcrum at its center.’
      • ‘The most usual Irish term for a balance in general, and also for the beam of a balance, was meadh [ma], which is the word in use at the present day.’
    8. 1.8 An oscillating shaft which transmits the vertical piston movement of a beam engine to the crank or pump.
      • ‘This also means that the beam can be balanced since the piston does equal work on both motions.’
      • ‘During each revolution the top beam of the connecting rod goes from horizontal to an angle as the piston rods are in a fixed plane some means of extending the beam is required.’
      • ‘The up and down motion of the piston in the cylinder is transmitted by the beam to the piston in the water pump.’
      • ‘The two pistons are connected to the beam by a complicated formation of rods known as a parallel linkage which, as a consequence of careful geometric design, transmit power in an exact vertical line.’
    9. 1.9 The shank of an anchor.
      • ‘The entire anchor sinks beam first into the ice.’
      • ‘The anchor is also slightly different, including the string that fouls the anchor reaching further up and crossing back the vertical beam of the anchor.’
      • ‘That the figure of this useful instrument may be more clearly understood, let us suppose a long massy beam of iron erected perpendicularly, at the lower end of which are two arms of equal thickness with the beam (usually called the shank).’
      • ‘A solid steel strap connects the anchor head and the beam.’
      • ‘The here intended stocks extend only along a quarter of the fluke beam, thus not across the full beam of the anchor.’
    10. 1.10historical The main timber of a horse-drawn plough.
      • ‘The traditional form of plough made by local workshops in Gloucestershire had a very distinctive long wooden beam and long straight-surfaced mouldboard.’
      • ‘These were known as a crooked ploughs because the beam curved forwards to the draft animal.’
      • ‘You can see the shiny mouldboards above and below the central beam of the plough.’
      • ‘The traditional wooden plough (maresha; Figure 1) has a pointed metal tine fitted to a handle and held by a metal hook suspended from the beam of the plough on an adjustable leather strap.’
      • ‘Through the beam there runs a wooden pole which serves to fasten the beam to the plough-body and share.’
  • 2A ray or shaft of light:

    ‘a beam of light flashed in front of her’
    ‘the torch beam dimmed perceptibly’
    • ‘The double doors to his room had opened slightly, allowing a stray beam of light to stream into the dark room.’
    • ‘Turning my torch on, I guide its beam towards the dock wall.’
    • ‘Distances even to the nearest star - it takes a beam of light four whole years - are bewilderingly large.’
    • ‘A wide bright red beam emerged from the staff, shooting up to the ceiling and beyond.’
    • ‘As he stepped into a dim beam of light, I could make out his face; the face of a tortured man whose entire life had been called into question.’
    • ‘She sits for her entire first act with a single beam of light on her face, which is boldly unflattering but dramatic, and who can hate that?’
    • ‘A small lantern may seem like an odd item to include on this list, but Reid said lantern light makes a blood trail much more visible than the direct beam of a flashlight.’
    • ‘Natural light seeps through to every sump, and it is magical to drift through the maze of stalactites studded with reflective crystals, the light dancing in the beams of our torches.’
    • ‘These selective or directional cells are produced by base stations that send out narrow beams at the entrances to tunnels or along roads in rural areas.’
    • ‘The ferocious energy shot into the sky, and the colossal beam was visible from miles around, until slowly, it faded away.’
    • ‘Isis stepped out into the dim room, illuminated only by a thin beam of light coming from beneath a door a few yards away.’
    • ‘I can remember trying a new, high-powered, high-voltage HID lamp with a very wide beam and ruining the night dive for all the other divers with me.’
    • ‘Diana had to cover her eyes, one of the beams were centred right on her.’
    • ‘It is a neutron star spinning just under 100 times per second and emitting regular radio pulses like a lighthouse beam.’
    • ‘When he pressed a button on the phone, a wide blue beam shone on the pot and bucket.’
    • ‘It throws a beam of light which is so powerful it could be seen from the moon.’
    • ‘It stopped when a beam of light flashed upon it from behind.’
    • ‘She saw the beam of light of the night watcher's flashlight turning from the corner, moving forward along the corridor towards her.’
    • ‘Lighthouses are like isolated watchmen, flashing their warning beam of light in the night sky.’
    • ‘By night, a beam of light at the base of the monument would illuminate the night sky’
    ray, shaft, stream, streak, pencil, finger
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    1. 2.1 A directional flow of particles or radiation:
      ‘beams of electrons’
      • ‘When nanotubes were placed inside cells and radiated by the laser beam, the cells were quickly destroyed by the heat.’
      • ‘The gamma knife is a focused array of 201 intercepting beams of gamma radiation.’
      • ‘The reason: the electrons in the beam are particles with mass.’
      • ‘Now imagine we've got two laser beams hitting the atom, one coming from the left, the other from the right.’
      • ‘Radiotherapy involves the exposure of parts of the body to radiation, beams of high-energy X-rays, gamma rays or particles.’
      • ‘When a beam of such energetic electrons collides with an atom, gamma rays burst forth.’
      • ‘Designed much like a compound microscope, the electron microscope uses a beam of electrons focused through magnetic lenses.’
      • ‘Depending on the atomic species, ion beams can be used to dope semiconductors even as they carve out circuit patterns.’
      • ‘The experiment was to study the properties beams of radioactive isotopes created at the Bevatron.’
      • ‘In a Bose-Einstein condensate, a clump of atoms shares the same quantum wave function, just like the photons in a laser beam.’
      • ‘Once upon a time, it was chiefly the tool of physicists who used beams of charged particles to explore the things that make atoms.’
      • ‘Operated by trained Customs staff, the scanners work by transmitting an X-ray beam at the target vehicle or container.’
      • ‘They determine how the radiation beams should be arranged to best destroy the tumor and spare the normal tissues surrounding the tumor.’
      • ‘When high-energy beams of radiation pass through the food, it damages the DNA of these microorganisms.’
      • ‘The data were reduced taking into account the neutron beam transmission through the quartz substrate and corrected for the background.’
      • ‘An aspect of the present invention includes a method for homogenizing a beam of electromagnetic radiation.’
      • ‘A second method for creating controlled nuclear fusion makes use of a laser beam or a beam of electrons or atoms.’
      • ‘To probe the electroweak force, future experiments will collide beams of high-energy electrons with those of positrons.’
      • ‘An optical communication system for transmitting multiple optical beams, each at a different wavelength is disclosed.’
      • ‘As a test sample, the IBM team created a dilute system of single electron spins by irradiating a block of glass with a weak beam of gamma rays.’
    2. 2.2 A series of radio or radar signals emitted as a navigational guide for ships or aircraft:
      ‘the detector simply pinpoints the radar beams that other ships transmit’
      • ‘It is true that, in bad weather, radar beams can be reflected off waves, causing false echoes or making the screen unreadable.’
      • ‘So in 1985 the Navy launched Geosat, a satellite that measured the height of the sea surface by bouncing a radar beam off it.’
      • ‘This modulation can be monitored by the diffraction efficiency of a probe beam (TG signal).’
      • ‘The radar system will also incorporate the agile beam steering capabilities developed for the APG - 77.’
      • ‘Radar detectors do just what their name implies - they detect the radar beams that are emitted from a police officer or state trooper's radar guns.’
      • ‘Radar beams penetrated through Venus's thick cloud layers to reveal these surface images of both sides.’
      • ‘Snowflakes grow rapidly as cloud temperatures rise towards 0 deg C, but this level may be below the radar beam.’
      • ‘The unit installs at the transom and emits sonar beams that ‘look’ out to 240 feet on either side of the boat.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, radar beam refraction over the lakes remains poorly understood.’
      • ‘The two transmitted beams cross at the lower troposphere, bouncing back to the receiving end.’
      • ‘In addition to detecting enemy aircraft, the radar beam also echoed from precipitation, which proved a valuable tool in war planning.’
      • ‘Not reflected sunlight, but reflected radar beams read by satellite, have given Antarctica new dimensions.’
      • ‘The surrounding glacially scoured landscape is also generally free of topography that can obstruct the radar's beam.’
      • ‘That's the radar beam actually shooting up through the eye of this storm.’
      • ‘The transceiver sends out a radar beam into the environment that reflects off whatever it hits.’
      • ‘The phased array radar provides instantaneous beam steering which gives the advantage of vast reaction time against airborne threats.’
      • ‘The beams would guide a pilot to the airstrip, but in conditions of zero visibility, they did not provide altitude.’
      • ‘The system reflected the radar beam off the ionosphere to detect objects from ranges of 500 to nearly 2,000 miles.’
      • ‘The spacecraft also examined the properties of the Venusian atmosphere in ultra-violet light and measured how radio beams are deflected by the clouds.’
      • ‘This causes the upward-looking beam of an airport radar to be refracted downward so it is reflected off of autos, ships, and surface objects.’
      warning fire, warning light, signal fire, signal light, bonfire, smoke signal, signal, danger signal, guiding light
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  • 3A radiant or good-natured look or smile:

    ‘a beam of satisfaction’
    • ‘The blond-haired boy bit his lip as a wide beam spread over his face.’
    • ‘The beam of satisfaction from the children after counting to 20 or writing the English alphabet on their slate perfectly is one I will remember for a long time.’
    • ‘A wide beam spread across my face in realisation at what lay in front of us.’
    • ‘The baby was a tiny piece of heaven, always smiling his adorable toothless beam, and batting those long lashes as he reached out to touch everything.’
    • ‘‘Morning ladies’ she greeted, still smiling with that I-can-do-no-wrong beam.’
    grin, smile, bright look
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verb

  • 1[with object and adverbial of direction] Transmit (a radio signal or broadcast) in a specified direction:

    ‘the satellite beamed back radio signals to scientists on Earth’
    • ‘The signals are then beamed back into space, and broadcast by three civilian geostationary satellites.’
    • ‘A global Christian organisation already beams a shortwave signal from transmitters just outside Kununurra.’
    • ‘The moment will be beamed by satellite transmission to television and radio stations around the world.’
    • ‘A donated satellite truck will be parked outside, beaming daily newscasts into over 1 million homes.’
    • ‘The researchers conducted their experiments by beaming radio waves at aquariums stocked with different species of aquatic life.’
    • ‘The microwave-based system operates on the basis of line-of-sight signals, whereby a signal is beamed from a mast to the receiver on the television set.’
    • ‘A network of TV and radio stations beams its message across the airwaves.’
    • ‘The same airwaves used to beam wireless phone calls can be used to transmit Net data.’
    • ‘The data is stored in the helmet after a hit and then beamed by radio waves to a computer on the sidelines.’
    • ‘The satellite broadcast is being beamed out to more than 30 regional locations around the UK.’
    • ‘This signal cannot carry as much information as a high-gain signal where the available power is concentrated to beam the signal accurately back to its target.’
    • ‘In one experiment, Clementine beamed radio signals into shadowed craters near the Moon's south pole.’
    • ‘They're more amenable to control within State borders than radio waves beamed out from transmission towers, relay stations and satellites.’
    • ‘The basic pulsar model involves a magnetic dipole field tilted with respect to the rotation axis, beaming radio waves along the dipole axis as the star spins.’
    • ‘Traditional analogue signals, which have beamed television into homes across the country since transmissions started, are to be withdrawn.’
    • ‘The concert is expected to be beamed to venues in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling and Inverness.’
    • ‘The reading will be beamed by satellite to television and radio stations around the world.’
    • ‘BBC World Service programmes in Spanish are beamed by satellite to more than 20 stations in Mexico and more than 100 throughout Latin America.’
    • ‘Data will be beamed using FM radio frequencies that currently allow you see station IDs on your tuner's display.’
    • ‘The live coverage by the three channels, which experts estimate beams into tens of millions of Arab homes, plays a key role in shaping how this part of the world views a conflict.’
    broadcast, transmit, relay, put out, send out, disseminate
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    1. 1.1beam someone up/down[with object] (in science fiction) transport someone instantaneously to or from a spaceship:
      ‘mission controller, beam me up!’
      • ‘Quantum entanglement-the mysterious phenomenon that allows a quantum state to be transmitted huge distances apparently instantaneously-may never allow Scotty to beam you up, but it could do wonders for chip manufacture.’
      • ‘On the starship Enterprise, all Captain Kirk and his ‘Star Trek’ crew just have to signal Scottie the engineer to beam them up with the pull of a lever.’
      • ‘Anyway, this bunch of geeks at ANU managed to do this thing, dreaming of Star Trek and Scotty beaming them up.’
      • ‘Juno followed in, just as Tamika had Himeko beam them down.’
      • ‘Kildare Town residents were bemused when a statue of Lord Edward Fitzgerald appeared in Market Square recently as if he appeared by magic or as if aliens had beamed him down.’
      • ‘You better beam me up, and we'll attack his starship while he's down here.’
      • ‘I'll go find Himeko so she can beam us down into the Colony.’
      • ‘Sailor Ensign Chino said that she was only able to beam us down in a deserted area just to the southeast of the city.’
      • ‘Up here you have to at least be waiting for the mother ship behind the comet to arrive in orbit, beam you up, and take you to the outer rim of the galaxy before people give you a second glance.’
      • ‘They ought to beam him down to us, to demonstrate the existence of intelligent civic life on the planet Northern Ireland.’
      • ‘Then she initiated the transporter, and Sailor Engineer Galetea was beamed down to the Jupiter Colony.’
      • ‘The Hudson is a hip hotel, the kind of place where the bar floor is lit from below and the showers look like they could beam you up.’
      • ‘Head to the transporter room and I'll beam you down.’
      • ‘The team from the Starship Enterprise have been beamed down.’
      • ‘Rushwind activates his wrist-comm and tells them to prepare to beam them up.’
      • ‘Himeko, I need you to beam us down to the Second Moon Base.’
  • 2[no object, with adverbial of direction] (of a light or light source) shine brightly:

    ‘the sun's rays beamed down’
    • ‘Suddenly, a bright light beamed on the werewolf's face, and it hid its eyes.’
    • ‘He ran his hand through his hair and closed his eyes as the sun rays beamed down on him.’
    • ‘I awoke to the bright rays of sunlight beaming on me.’
    • ‘The floor shined from sunlight beaming in through the huge windows on the right side of the wall.’
    • ‘Suddenly, a bright light beamed from the center of the tree, and a woman appeared before us.’
    • ‘Fluorescent lights beamed down on his unremarkable features.’
    • ‘In almost every town, big and small, street lights beam just as much light up and out as they do down, illuminating much more than just the street.’
    • ‘The sun rays beamed into the cavern, dancing across Kaloth's closed eyelids, causing him to awake.’
    • ‘I turned back around looking straight at her, as the cabin lights were beaming into my eyes.’
    • ‘You could make out David's outline on your front steps, the huge Mercedes' lights beaming out upon the eternal darkness that was your yard.’
    • ‘For many people, external lighting seldom goes beyond a security light beaming down on the front garden to scare off intruders.’
    • ‘The bright lights were still beaming down as bright as ever.’
    • ‘Shane blinked a few times to get used to the bright rays of sunshine beaming in through the window.’
    • ‘We continued our journey, more identical doors whipping by, the fluorescent lights beaming into my face before sweeping over the cart's roof.’
    • ‘The walls were covered with beautiful Christmas lights beaming all over.’
    • ‘Light suddenly beamed out as a door slammed against a wall from below her.’
    • ‘It was exhilarating to stand in the store, glaring fluorescent light beaming down upon hundreds of shiny cases, each one containing a story.’
    • ‘Sunlight beaming through large windows gleamed off the bright linoleum floor.’
    • ‘The light of the moon beamed down on them, illuminating the streets, not a single soul in sight to see the climax.’
    • ‘The sun shined brightly and the rays of light beamed into the King and Queen's room as the windows were opened.’
    shine, radiate, glare, glitter, gleam, shimmer, glimmer, twinkle, flash, flare, streak
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  • 3[no object] Smile radiantly:

    ‘she beamed with pleasure’
    • ‘Audrey beamed and giggled, smiling at the camera's every now and then.’
    • ‘Organisers of the new Yorkshire Forward quality customer care scheme whose logo is a huge smile, are beaming with pleasure.’
    • ‘When Ritblat is friendly, his charm is total and his crocodile smile beams from his tanned face; when he is upset no one wants to be in the same room or at the other end of a telephone.’
    • ‘Melanie blushes and beams while Chris smiles and giggles.’
    • ‘Several hundred people chanted, cheered and danced as ‘London’ was read out, and smiles beamed from the faces of young and old.’
    • ‘Her voice was high pitched in anger, but it faded away once she caught a glimpse of that familiar smile beaming at her from the passenger seat of the car beside them.’
    • ‘On Sunday at beer time he was beaming and all smiles.’
    • ‘Philip flushes as Libbie beams with satisfaction.’
    • ‘People gawked and stared, and he stared back with a grin beaming from ear to ear.’
    • ‘They smile at me and beam with pride at their young charges.’
    • ‘A slow smile and a brisk hello as the stall owner beams at me.’
    • ‘Seeing the girl's sweet, youthful smile made Marius beam as well.’
    • ‘Tammy Armstrong sits in a café sipping coffee between ash blonde braids, a smile beaming across her face.’
    • ‘He kisses her and beams while she smiles strangely.’
    • ‘Emmeline rushed to where sister lie, a smile beaming on her face.’
    • ‘On the other side, the statue of the late Al Waxman, King of Kensington, beams down on us with its ever-present smile.’
    • ‘The Parisian beamed with a big smile, before going back to join his friends at his own table.’
    • ‘Sharon always faces the latest crisis head on, picks herself up, dusts herself off, beams that adorable smile and goes on.’
    • ‘Sitting centre-stalls, listening to the opening bombast of the Brahms First, I saw the old-timers around me beam with relief and satisfaction.’
    • ‘Grace was sitting at the wheel, beaming with a proud smile.’
    • ‘So when Irfan Pathan beams that dazzling smile after taking yet another wicket for the India he so proudly represents, he fills my heart with more than cricketing pride.’
    • ‘They greeted him warmly, their smiles beaming without their make-up.’
    bright, cheery, sparkling, flashing, brilliant, dazzling, intense, gleaming, radiant
    grin, smile, dimple, grin like a cheshire cat, twinkle, smirk, laugh
    grinning, smiling, laughing
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    1. 3.1[with object] Express (an emotion) with a radiant smile:
      ‘the instructress beamed her approval’
      • ‘Martina tries not to beam her pleasure too obviously.’
      • ‘She stood so confidently, her eyes and smile beaming some secret we may have shared.’
      • ‘Her smile beamed adoration, shining the glow of her affection upon her favorite son.’
      • ‘For the first time since yesterday, Nazuna face formed a smile, and she beamed an incredulous look at Ryouseika's father.’
      • ‘Shock, surprise, fright, nervousness, anxiety, shyness, then finally pleasure as she beams a terrific smile at me.’
      • ‘Mr. Kessler beamed his approval at her improvement and Leslie walked with them out to Mr. Kessler's van.’
      • ‘The clerk beamed the same merry & insincere smile, and held up his source material: a Trivial Pursuit card.’
      • ‘The brunette's head sprang up and she beamed a truly cheerful smile.’
      • ‘He waved at presspersons, beaming his inimitable smile.’
      • ‘Her hope was shot down when her friend beamed a happy smile and let her eyes sparkle,’
      • ‘As she stood straight again, beaming her radiance, the door opened revealing a rather exotic looking woman who was definitely not Giles.’
      • ‘I beamed my approval and choked down the lump in my throat.’
      • ‘When I approach to thank him for the dance, he clasps my hand and shakes it vigorously, beaming appreciation.’
      • ‘I turned to grin at my best friend who beamed right back.’
      • ‘The round Indian woman beamed her approval then shoved me into the back of the minivan.’
      • ‘Akidan beamed her hate at Raymond in a single, evil glare.’
      • ‘Elaine's eyes beam their pleasure, which is so obvious that Beth winces inwardly.’
      • ‘The Barbie looked at her, every bit of its plastic smile beaming its approval.’
      • ‘From somewhere beyond the majestic ceiling's painted clouds, Balanchine must have beamed approval.’
      grinning, smiling, laughing
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • a beam in one's eye

    • A fault that is greater in oneself than in the person one is finding fault with:

      ‘economic forecasters should consider the beam in their own eye before criticizing the government's figures’
      • ‘But, of course, others out there can sometimes notice the blockage, like a beam in our eye.’
      • ‘He does not think that he has a beam in his eye.’
      • ‘The wood concept is later reinforced with the analogy that one should not complain about the poor spiritual vision of another (splinter in the eye) when one has a beam in their eye.’
      • ‘He is a beam in my eye!’
      • ‘The fact is that we all have a beam in our eye, but most people only see the sliver.’
      • ‘The problem is that many people reverse this idea and argue that so long as we have the smallest mote in our eye, we cannot criticize another for having a beam in his eye.’
      • ‘These folks pretty much always have a beam in their eye.’
      • ‘I know there's a beam in my eye, so it's too bad I so enjoy pointing out the specks in others’.’
  • off (or way off) beam

    • informal On the wrong track; mistaken:

      ‘you're way off beam on this one’
      • ‘Palace were first to set their sights on goal but former Manchester United starlet Jovan Kirovski and Aki Riihilahti were way off beam with efforts from outside the box.’
      • ‘He has written at least two articles with which I heartily agree but today's is way off beam.’
      • ‘So you get a variety of views, but some of them are way off beam.’
      • ‘While we were occasionally off beam in the past at least our hearts were in the right place.’
      • ‘For one thing, the basic premise is completely off beam.’
      • ‘I don't know what Walsh's politics are, but his radar was certainly off beam and he has paid the price.’
      • ‘I believe ‘Neighbours’ became a preferred route only later in her development, so to claim that now as the basis for the management split seems way off beam to my thinking.’
      • ‘The trust has always endeavoured to provide low cost facilities to river users and the person who demands, as a right, that the work of the trust is available to them without charge is way off beam.’
      • ‘In order to spare you any possible disappointment, I should say up front that Robinson is wrong - utterly and mind-bogglingly off beam.’
      • ‘George Orwell wasn't wrong about much but he was way off beam with his famously jaundiced view of sport.’
      • ‘Well, the deduction may not be way off beam, but there are also those among youngsters who spend their time meaningfully.’
      • ‘Comments like the system is going to collapse I think are just way off beam.’
      • ‘The rivalry between the sides has become more intense with every passing year, and unless my calculations are off beam this will be their seventh meeting in the final in the last dozen years.’
      • ‘Indeed much of the public reading of the party and its intentions has been seriously off beam for quite some time now.’
      • ‘I want to know, because his choice of songs is a little bit off beam if you ask me.’
      mistaken, incorrect, inaccurate, wrong, erroneous, off-target, out, on the wrong track, wide of the mark, awry
      View synonyms
  • on the beam

    • informal On the right track:

      ‘I've had a couple of stormy sessions with the old rascal trying to keep him on the beam’
      • ‘Rather, the title was a tribute to Bhardwaj's dedication, the way she basically overcame physical and financial difficulty to stay on the beam, so to speak.’
      • ‘And when we come back we'll also have Katie on the beam.’
      • ‘By and large, SRI's survey was right on the beam.’
      • ‘We were on the beam all the way, and passed to the side of the temporary field built by Wilkinson by approximately half a mile.’
      • ‘Neil Patel's set makes the most of the small Playwrights Horizons stage, Kaye Voyce's costumes look suitably lived in, and Frances Aronson's lighting is on the beam.’
  • on her (or its) beam ends

    • (of a ship) heeled over on its side; almost capsized.

      • ‘Anchoring in Delaware Bay on 10 April 1801, the ship was caught in winds and an ebb tide which laid her over on her beam ends to ground, thereby occasioning need for extensive repair and refitting.’
      • ‘At daylight, the vessel was located on her beam ends, lying on her side where she had drifted.’
      • ‘The vessel went over on her beam ends at 9 o'clock Monday morning, and eleven men were washed overboard and lost.’
      • ‘The ship was standing on its beam ends with a 13 second period.’
      • ‘The ship then came broadside to, and each sea struck her on the side and threw her down on her beam ends.’
      • ‘The strongest gusts exposed weaknesses in crews’ teamwork, and more than one yacht was laid on its beam ends, capsized, with crews wondering if and when the keel would restore balance.’
      • ‘Though LC has never been knocked down on her beam ends, it still could occur under the right conditions.’
      • ‘On the way to the shore a sea struck the lifeboat broadside and pitched it on its beam ends.’
      • ‘This manoeuvre caused the jib sails to be blown out and with a lurch she went on her beam ends again with the main and mizzen yards under water.’
      • ‘This kayak wants to go straight, and fast turns should be negotiated on its beam ends.’
      • ‘When I was about 10 days old, the ship encountered a hurricane and was thrown on its beam ends and set so low that the seas came in through the cabin skylights, completely flooding the cabins.’
      • ‘The lightship, itself, in 36 hours of gale force winds was thrown on its beam ends and shipped heavy seas notwithstanding that it was running its engine.’
      • ‘As I was making the dogleg at Raft Island, a quick jibe and a gust put my unballasted craft on its beam ends.’
      • ‘Then, as salvagers watched, the Dows reared on its beam ends, dipped its bow into the seas, and slid to the bottom.’
      • ‘It is important to check the bolts and the fittings on the stove and oven to make certain that even in a knockdown, with the boat lying for a moment on its beam ends, it will remain securely in place.’
      • ‘Next day the vessel was discovered in a creek at Ulbster on her beam ends with the sea washing over her.’
      • ‘All hands feverishly shoveled coal while the ship lay over almost on her beam ends, with her keel showing when she rolled.’
      • ‘The ship was taken aback and thrown on her beam ends, in which situation she remained two hours.’
      • ‘She was struck by a heavy sea, thrown on her beam ends or rolled over, and finally righted with the loss of both masts.’
      • ‘At 6 p.m. the Gneisenau heeled over very suddenly, showing the men gathered on her decks and then walking on her side as she lay for a minute on her beam ends before sinking.’
  • on one's beam ends

    • Near the end of one's resources; desperate:

      ‘if they were on their beam ends they might brave an audience with Fisher’
      • ‘At times I was actually on my beam ends - but happy.’
      • ‘And this was our darkest hour when we were absolutely on our beam ends and very nearly sunk.’
      • ‘And those guys pretend they're on their beam ends.’
      • ‘Similarly, they tend to disapprove of a 42-year-old millionaire dressing like a student on his beam ends.’
      • ‘Gentleman gives the impression that field sports are on their beam ends.’
      • ‘We are pretty well on our beam ends as far as Christmas fare is concerned.’
      • ‘We were on our beam ends the day we finally reached Cape Smith.’
      • ‘‘He was down on his beam ends,’ she recalled.’
      • ‘Thrown on their beam ends, they were presently planning something else, eager to shake dice with destiny and with courage unbroken.’
      • ‘I underwent on 25th, in going through the Ghwozhe Pass, I caught a violent fever, and the next day was laid on my beam ends, and did not get round again till the middle of last month.’
      • ‘The Orwell we encounter at the beginning of this book is Eric Blair, the Old Etonian drop-out and insecure drifter, more or less on his beam ends.’
      • ‘We were repeatedly laid over on our beam ends and washed over by the seas as if we were a half tide rock.’
      destitute, poverty-stricken, impoverished, indigent, penniless, insolvent, impecunious, ruined, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English bēam ‘tree, beam’, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch boom and German Baum.

Pronunciation

beam

/biːm/