Definition of bean in English:

bean

noun

  • 1An edible seed, typically kidney-shaped, growing in long pods on certain leguminous plants.

    ‘a tin of beans’
    ‘beans on toast’
    as modifier ‘a bean casserole’
    • ‘Prior to this face saving embrace of bona fide produce, I considered potatoes and red beans the only edible vegetables.’
    • ‘He said he expects much of his work will involve Great Northern beans, as well as pintos and other types of dry edible beans.’
    • ‘The beans are the seeds of the leguminous soybean plant.’
    • ‘As a youngster growing up in Salford he would eat only beans on toast.’
    • ‘In another experiment, bean plants grown from seed given increasing fractions of heavy water showed stunted growth compared with control plants given normal water.’
    • ‘It differs in several ways from small, red, dry beans now grown, beginning with improved resistance to bean common mosaic viruses.’
    • ‘About half the nation's $629 million dry edible bean crop is grown in those two states and Michigan.’
    • ‘We went to Notcutts and bought some compost since my bean seedlings are growing into triffids and need planting out ASAP.’
    • ‘They speak Quechua, the language of the Incas, herd alpaca and llamas and grow potatoes and beans, which they trade with their lowland neighbours for corn.’
    • ‘She returned a few minutes later with some boiled yam, an onion and tomato sauce, fried plantain and a bean casserole.’
    • ‘Smaller than kidney beans, red beans have a unique oval shape and are typically used in chili products and mixes.’
    • ‘Adding educational content to the performance, audience members are presented with some seeds, cottonwool and directions on how to grow the beans.’
    • ‘These inhibitors are small proteins found in many plant seeds such as beans, a food regularly eaten by humans.’
    • ‘Despite my best efforts I have failed to consume 20 kg of pasta, 30 jars of peanut butter and 50 tins of beans in the last month.’
    • ‘There are also shell beans (lima, navy, kidney, mung, garbanzo and soya) that you can grow just for the bean seeds inside the pod.’
    • ‘All of the organic grains - wheat, spelt, dry edible beans - are big on the international market now.’
    • ‘Black eyed beans - small white kidney shaped bean with black spot at the sproutingpoint.’
    • ‘Occupation and instruction, without dullness, can be provided by giving the students a plot of ground for growing things in - not a bed for the bean seed only, but a miniature market garden.’
    • ‘The climate of the country allows beans to grow during most of the year, so they are a natural for inclusion in many dishes.’
    • ‘It could be toast or a tin of beans, and we drink tea.’
    1. 1.1 The hard seed of coffee, cocoa, and certain other plants.
      • ‘Most of us buy vacuum-sealed packs of roasted beans or ready ground coffee from the supermarkets.’
      • ‘As you savour your morning coffee, do you ever think about who grew the beans and how much they were paid?’
      • ‘Made from tiny roasted beans, brewed coffee is a popular delivery medium for one's daily dose of caffeine.’
      • ‘Growers need to plant other crops than just coffee and when they grow coffee, they need to grow higher quality beans.’
      • ‘This bean yields a thick coffee with the fragrance of walnuts.’
      • ‘For the best cup of coffee, grind the beans right before brewing.’
      • ‘Many coffee farmers sell their beans to domestic traders for between 27 to 31 cents a pound, Robinson says.’
      • ‘Cocoa processing (crushing the beans to form cocoa powder and butter) is far more profitable than cocoa growing.’
      • ‘If they say they grind fresh beans for their coffee every morning, a box is checked off on a survey form, and follow up questions are asked in a focus group.’
      • ‘When I drink the coffee from my café, I think about the Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, who grew the beans.’
      • ‘It has been difficult for Zambia and other countries in the region to market coffee to Europe because they used to sell raw beans and not processed coffee.’
      • ‘Cocoa beans contain copper and most of the mineral remains preserved after the beans are processed into cocoa or chocolate.’
      • ‘Fortunately, much of the copper is retained when the bean is processed into cocoa or chocolate.’
      • ‘Some of the world's largest industries are built around beans: coffee and cocoa, for example.’
      • ‘The tasters did note that coffee from blade-ground beans had less body than coffee from burr-ground beans.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, 25 million coffee farmers are struggling to survive on the prices they are paid for the beans they grow.’
      • ‘Everyone who talks about coffee focuses on the beans.’
      • ‘Cacao beans, like coffee, need to be roasted to bring out their flavor.’
      • ‘A recent Oxfam report showed that coffee farmers sell their beans at around 60 per cent of what it costs them to produce.’
      • ‘Despite its relatively expensive price, customers keep coming back to replenish their supply of fine blends, ground coffee and beans.’
  • 2A leguminous plant that bears beans in pods.

    Phaseolus and other genera, family Leguminosae: numerous species, including the runner bean (P. coccineus), French bean (P. vulgaris), and broad bean (Vicia faba)

    • ‘Unfortunately, white mold is most common in northern growing areas where short-season beans are grown.’
    • ‘One warning: do not plant near beans, caraway, tomatoes, coriander or wormwood-they do not work well together.’
    • ‘The height of the structure will depend on the bean variety you're growing, but allow about 6 feet for the vines.’
    • ‘Martin, who grows sweet corn and beans, said that the fuel used in tractors has gone up by 2-3 cents a gallon just in the past month.’
    • ‘Examples include turf grass seed production, dry edible beans, white wheat, feeder pigs, and cattle for the natural beef market.’
    • ‘For many of these highlanders raising dairy cows is considered the best way to make a living, better than growing beans or other crops.’
    • ‘As the beans grow, they receive two further treatments with herbicides.’
    • ‘The number growing corn, beans, and rice, the staples of the local diet, fell from 70,000 to 27,000.’
    • ‘These varieties differ from typical bean plants by growing over six feet tall and being late in maturity.’
    • ‘The first year I tried growing beans in an open field.’
    • ‘Unlike my aged grandmothers, Casella is a wizard with beans, which he grows with tender care on an organic plot upstate.’
    • ‘Yet, with the population explosion and reclaiming lands for cultivation, part of the forest has been converted to farmland to grow corn and beans.’
    • ‘Hyacinth bean, a vigorous annual vine, can quickly cover an arbor during one season.’
    • ‘Now I need a little cooperation from Mother Nature in the way of sunshine to get the corn and the beans growing.’
    • ‘Ricin, one of the deadliest naturally occurring poisons, is derived from castor plant beans, which are grown worldwide to produce castor oil.’
    • ‘Maize and squash were cultivated in river valleys, and after ad 1200 beans were grown too.’
    • ‘Along Highway E, the beans are growing by leaps, wide leaves turned to the morning.’
    • ‘For example, peas and beans grown one year produce nitrogen that can be used to good advantage by other vegetables the following year.’
    • ‘Like most edible crops, beans should always be rotated, the exceptions being tomatoes, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes.’
  • 3informal with negative A very small amount or nothing at all of something (used emphatically)

    ‘there is not a single bean of substance in the report’
    • ‘When it comes to small businesses, the net profit doesn't mean beans because the seller is doing everything possible to keep this number low to avoid taxes.’
    • ‘Moravia that took her in and gave her a diploma as a social worker, even though she didn’t know beans about social work, or much else, for that matter.’
    • ‘Having the world's best beans doesn't mean beans unless they are roasted correctly.’
    • ‘I had heard of gout, but I didn’t know beans about it.’
    • ‘There really isn't much to recycle in the ordinary light bulb, even the combination of glass and metal doesn't amount to beans.’
    1. 3.1 Used in reference to money.
      ‘he didn't have a bean’
      • ‘Lio and Tracy have just spent their entire savings buying their first house and don't have a bean to spend on décor.’
      • ‘I personally wouldn't spend a bean on Africa and nor would I vote for a party which made it a main plank of its manifesto.’
      • ‘I don't think Selina would even bid one bean for me.’
      • ‘I have not one bean to my name after the UK jaunt.’
      • ‘Rumour has it he never spent a bean in his life.’
  • 4dated, informal A person's head, especially when regarded as a source of common sense.

    ‘this morning the old bean seems to be functioning in a slow way’
    • ‘Every time you make a decision, take any action on your own responsibility, give and order or use your bean, you are preparing yourself for greater opportunities.’
    • ‘Why doesn't Foley use his bean and draft legislation prohibiting tornadoes from entering or coming near to trailer parks?’
    • ‘You gotta use your bean to get this right so, as they say in the military, listen up.’
    head, skull, cranium
    View synonyms

verb

[with object]North American
informal
  • Hit (someone) on the head.

    ‘she picked up a rock and beaned him on the forehead’
    • ‘Outfielder Joe Medwick, another Hall of Famer who played for the Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers, was never quite as fearsome a hitter after being beaned in 1940.’
    • ‘In today's Boston Globe, there's a discussion with noted sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman, on why he thinks Matt Clement will successfully return to the mound after being beaned in the head by a line drive.’
    • ‘I had a very strong urge to bean her with a rock, because underneath the pier is littered with big ones, but I resisted.’
    • ‘Life has a way of throwing curve balls and John [Hager] got beaned by one when he acquired polio as an adult and lost the use of his legs.’
    • ‘They're still waiting, in part because his 1998 season was ruined when he was beaned at midseason, and then he struggled with his confidence.’
    • ‘In case you've lost your memory after being beaned in the head during a game of quidditch, the long-awaited sixth Harry Potter novel will be released next Friday at midnight.’
    • ‘She hadn't been beaned in the head with anything either.’
    • ‘During the fifth inning though she was beaned by the ball while the opponent was at bat.’
    • ‘Coincidentally or not, he was beaned the day after his record-setting production of 18 total bases by Clem Labine of the Dodgers.’
    • ‘Didn't see anything like that, though I was almost beaned by a falling pinecone.’
    • ‘The only positive aspect was that, short of being beaned by an errant golf ball, it looked as though I would survive the game without an injury for once.’
    • ‘He grabbed her wrists and pulled her in to kiss the place where he had beaned her and leaned her head back while faking a grimace.’
    • ‘I fell on some poor girl in the audience and beaned her in the head with my guitar.’
    • ‘About a week later, Passeau, while warming up before a game, and after enduring a torrent of abuse from Durocher, suddenly wheeled and fired the ball into the Dodger dugout, nearly beaning the Brooklyn manager.’
    • ‘My fiancee - civilized, gentle soul - once beaned a squirrel with an ice cube to keep the varmint from stripping her sunflowers bare.’
    • ‘I picked up the ball and pitched as hard as I could, beaning her square in the forehead.’
    • ‘Not two weeks ago I literally bumped into her at yoga: our mats were about twelve inches apart and we almost beaned each other rolling down out of supta konasana simultaneously.’
    • ‘They meet after Tom beans Sarah in the head with a football.’
    • ‘In 1939, York was beaned twice, but according to Baseball Hall of Fame records in neither instance was it in a game played in Washington.’
    • ‘That felt better until a bunch of 12-year-olds started beaning me in the head with their tubes.’
    hit over the head, hit on the head, hit, strike, buffet, bang, knock, thwack, slug, welt, cuff, punch, smash
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • know how many beans make five

    • informal Be sensible and intelligent.

      ‘Emily certainly knew how many beans made five’
      • ‘Meticulous Virgo rises, a sign which knows how many beans make five, master-minding everything from the logistics of regional auditions to the carefully co-ordinated packaging of a multi - media brand.’
      • ‘If you're bursting with fresh ideas, can't wait to live, breathe, and eat fresh soups, sauces etc., and can tell celery from celeriac, know how many beans make five, we'd love to hear from you.’
      • ‘PETER PEACOCK, the Scottish Education Minister, knows how many beans make five, can rattle through the three Rs and gives the impression of a man who doesn't leave an i without a dot, or a t uncrossed.’
      • ‘I have no idea if the chapter is good or not; I do know that the book's Exchange chapter was written by Jim McBee, who knows how many beans make five.’
      • ‘‘Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows,’ said the man; ‘I wonder if you know how many beans make five.’’
      • ‘We can even buy Private Eye and indulge its falsely comforting view of a man who is too dumb to know how many beans make five.’
      • ‘Because it is a cat and knows how many beans make five.’
      • ‘He could have made a good living as a buyer for a supermarket as they also know how many beans make five - million or billion, that is.’
      • ‘‘Well, Louise knows how many beans make five alright, but it's the cable companies’ money we are trying to protect,’ Lewis pointed out. ‘Surely they have the motivation to tell the repairers to install Chamelon?’’
      perceptive, discerning, percipient, perspicacious, penetrative, piercing, penetrating, discriminating, sensitive, incisive, keen, keen-witted, acute, sharp-witted, quick, quick-witted, clever, shrewd, astute, intelligent, intuitive, bright, agile, nimble, nimble-witted, alert, quick off the mark, ready, apt, fine, finely honed, rapier-like, probing, searching, insightful, knowing
      View synonyms
  • old bean

    • dated, informal A friendly form of address to a man.

      ‘great to see you, old bean!’
      • ‘But when you remember you're hundreds of feet up in a great chunk of Victorian genius, you doff your hat and remember your place, old bean.’
      • ‘I always think of him saying something like ‘you simply have to, old bean, you simply have to!’’
      • ‘Now that you mention it, Tristan old bean, it looks somewhat unique.’
      • ‘I'm sorry, old bean, I'm just not going to accept those states as even proto-Socialist or pseudo-Marxian.’
      • ‘Boris old bean, don't take any notice of what Howard says; you'll be there long after he has gone.’
      • ‘Nice to see you thinking outside the box, old bean.’
      • ‘The Duke's a very wise old bean, and his theory is that his better half is regarded as some kind of Ju Ju object.’
      • ‘Nice try old bean, but you two won't escape me this time!’
      • ‘Jolly good swipe there old bean, don't mind at all that you took a chunk of my skin off with your hurley stick.’
      • ‘You had quite a lot of sherry old bean, and as you got up to leave you mistook the window for a door.’
      • ‘Sorry old bean, but I'm not up for ‘here are 50 questions for you to answer or explain why not’.’
      man, my friend
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English bēan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch boon and German Bohne.

Pronunciation

bean

/biːn/