Definition of beta in English:



  • 1The second letter of the Greek alphabet (Β, β), transliterated as ‘b’.

    • ‘It descends from the Phoenician symbol bth, which was adopted by the Greeks as beta, B, then by the Romans as B.’
    • ‘He named them using the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta.’
    • ‘There I learn the alphas and betas of science and a few million other very important things for the perfect and complete education.’
    • ‘But surely that alpha beta would have been earned for a course in Greek rather than Latin or Aramaic?’
    • ‘But, just in right now, Tropical Storm Gamma, the third letter of the Greek alphabet, alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and so on and so on.’
    • ‘For example, the symbol beta is really the common German letter sequence sch, and what Reeds had thought to be x is w.’
    • ‘Four changes occur in iron, which give rise to forms known as alpha, beta, gamma and delta.’
    • ‘The whole belt, promptly named United Quadrants was divided in four administrative quadrants: the alpha, beta, delta and gamma quadrants.’
    • ‘It probably had something to do with beta being the second letter in the Greek alphabet.’
    1. 1.1as modifier Denoting the second of a series of items, categories, forms of a chemical compound, etc.
      ‘beta carotene’
      ‘beta blocker’
      • ‘In 1919, Brown introduced the terms alpha, beta, and gamma to describe the three types of haemolytic reactions observed on blood agar plates.’
      • ‘During the transition from a waking - to a drowsy-sleep state, the participant might lose the dominant beta / alpha frequencies.’
      • ‘These structures contain stem cells that will differentiate into islets of Langerhans containing functioning alpha, beta and delta cells.’
      • ‘This time, the researchers shined their laser on solutions of glycine, an amino acid that can form three different crystal structures called alpha, beta, and gamma.’
      • ‘For every dominant alpha individual, well endowed with strength, cleverness, and hence females, there are more who lose out, and therefore end up as resentful and unsuccessful betas, deltas, and zetas.’
      • ‘It was obvious which male was alpha, which was beta.’
      • ‘G proteins consist of three subunits, alpha, beta, and gamma, and exist in many different classes.’
      • ‘Casein, the predominant milk protein, is made up primarily of alpha, beta and kappa casein-type molecules.’
      • ‘Thalassemia refers to a group of hereditary disorders of the control of globin synthesis, causing too much or too little synthesis of either the alpha or the beta globin chains.’
      • ‘The proteins move at different speeds; albumen fastest, then alpha 1, alpha 2, beta and then gamma.’
      • ‘The endocrine cells reside in the islets of Langherhan, and the main cells are named alpha, beta, delta, and F cells.’
      • ‘Treatment in this way causes precipitation of the alpha phase from the beta.’
      • ‘Does a fetus attain an alpha / beta / theta/delta brainwave state?’
      • ‘That smile. It shouts ‘hit me’ at every alpha male, and quite a few beta and zeta ones too.’
      • ‘There are three major caseins - alpha, beta and kappa - that differ by their size.’
      • ‘For example, the babies are taught to be satisfied with their own caste of which there are five: alphas at the top, then betas, gammas, deltas, and epsilons at the bottom.’
      • ‘Golembiewski, Billingsly & Jaeger proposed three types of change - alpha, beta and gamma.’
      • ‘There are several types of simple proteins known as globulins in the blood: alpha, beta, and gamma.’
      • ‘The G protein consists of alpha, beta, and gamma subunits.’
      • ‘Canadian researchers have found that the human brain, which remains active even in slumber, emits a medley of waves (alpha, beta and delta).’
      • ‘However, in addition to those forms of energy, such as beta, alpha, theta, delta, brain waves, other fields of energy are also believed to be created.’
      • ‘Then the hemoglobin gene duplicated, and the copies differentiated into the forms known as alpha and beta.’
    2. 1.2British A second-class mark given for a piece of work or an examination paper.
    3. 1.3informal
      short for beta test
      • ‘Keep in mind that these are shots of the private beta so the public beta will probably be different since it has changed a lot since version 0.1.’
      • ‘But Google Deskbar is in beta, so what are the bugs?’
      • ‘He also declined to say when the second Windows Vista beta would ship, although expectations are for very early in 2006.’
      • ‘Teoma, in addition to having its search results displayed on Ask Jeeves' site, is scheduled to come out of beta in the second quarter of 2002.’
      • ‘So I have been trying to cut the folks at Technorati some slack, since they have gone over to a new beta recently.’
      • ‘I encountered a now fixed Windows bug when I first installed, so it wasn't working until I reinstalled a new beta today.’
      • ‘The online help files in our version were still in beta.’
      • ‘Firefox and Mac version in beta in a couple of months.’
      • ‘Microsoft highlighted the support for Opteron as one of the major new features in the second beta.’
      • ‘Google has a new database in beta: a catalog database.’
      • ‘BizTalk Server 2006 is due for a second beta later this calendar year with final delivery planned for the first half of 2006.’
      • ‘The Windows version can be downloaded here, and there's a beta of the Linux version here.’
      • ‘In fact, however, Sun is still in beta with this CPU program and not set to launch a publicly available utility computing system for weeks.’
      • ‘At that time, MSN officials declined to discuss when and if they planned to broaden the beta to other countries.’
      • ‘I did encounter a few well-known limitations and bugs in the current beta, but I managed to get around them.’
      • ‘Like dtSearch, it offers a list of words as you type, although Google has offered a limited version of this feature in beta for its main search engine.’
      • ‘Its visual aspects won't be locked down until the second beta, to be released sometime next year.’
      • ‘Although still in beta, Google News has expanded to 4,000, mostly English-language, news sources that it crawls continuously.’
      • ‘Now that my head doesn't feel like it is going to implode due to sinus pain, I've upgraded this site from the third beta to the Developer edition, with an unsupported free license.’
      • ‘The current beta expires at the end of January but I'm sure it'll be replaced with something or other.’
    4. 1.4Astronomy followed by Latin genitive The second (typically second-brightest) star in a constellation.
      ‘Beta Virginis’
      • ‘It was hoped that the Ulysses's skill would prove decisive in the tough battleground of Beta Centauri.’
      • ‘Nearby was the representative from Beta Crucis, an old man who wore no military uniform, but an old faded suit.’
      • ‘The vote was nearly unanimous, only Simon and a few officers who's planets had close ties to Beta Crucis.’
      • ‘The orbiting pair in Beta Persei consists of a star that is a younger version of our sun, along with a hotter companion.’
      • ‘These observation included that of the occultation of the star Beta Scorpii by the moon.’
    5. 1.5as modifier Relating to beta decay or beta particles.
      ‘beta emitters’
      • ‘By 1963, the year of my parent's marriage, the average release of beta emitters from reactor effluent was 14, 500 curies per day.’
      • ‘Beta decay is one of three principal forms of radioactive decay: alpha, beta, and gamma.’
      • ‘In addition, a number of radioisotopes, both natural and man-made, have been identified as beta emitters.’
      • ‘Titanium 43 has a half-life of 0.58 second and is a beta positive emitter.’
      • ‘The emission of the electron's antiparticle, the positron, is also called beta decay.’
      • ‘Tritium, a soft beta emitter, is discharged in relatively large quantities all over the world, including the UK.’
      • ‘The reactor would shut down and harmful heavy neutrons, most destructive to human life, would be absorbed, he says - though some alpha, beta and gamma radiation might escape.’
      • ‘The sum total of alpha, beta and gamma radiation emitted per second after a week, a month, a year etc. is easy to calculate, if a bit laborious.’
      • ‘When a nucleus ejects a beta particle, one of the neutrons in the nucleus is transformed into a proton.’
      • ‘The explosion of ‘Little Boy’ also created alpha, beta, gamma and neutron rays.’
      • ‘Tritium, the radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is produced in the atmosphere, is also a beta emitter.’
      • ‘There are three types of particles: alpha, beta, and gamma.’
      • ‘The emission energies of alpha, beta, and gamma (,, and) particles vary as well as the emission range.’
      • ‘They learned, among much else, that the alphas and betas were electrically charged and that some radioelements retained their strength over long periods while others gained or lost activity over measurable time.’
      • ‘Titanium 45 has two forms, one a beta positive and gamma emitter with a half-life of 3.08 hours and a second form with a half-life of 21 days.’
      • ‘Even a seemingly tiny piece of radioisotope like plutonium can be emitting many millions of alpha, beta or gamma particles per week.’
      • ‘As a result, beta particles interact less readily with material than alpha particles.’
      • ‘How can an electron be ejected from a nucleus during a Beta Wave decay?’
      • ‘A radioactive material gives off alpha, beta, and gamma emissions.’
      • ‘Once in the body, these unstable atoms release alpha, beta, and gamma radiation that damages dividing cells.’
    6. 1.6 A measure of the movement in price of a security relative to the stock market as a whole, used to indicate possible risk.
      ‘a fund with a beta of 0.58 is less volatile’
      • ‘While mutual fund betas typically average out to less than unity-because some cash must be kept on hand for redemptions-in my sample it is almost 20% below one.’
      • ‘At age 17 the beta coefficient for Personal Meaning was - 1.88, while that for the next strongest construct, Interpersonal Understanding, was -.77.’
      • ‘It we were to equate the rate of return on a bus firm's stock to the rate of return on the market portfolio (i.e. a beta coefficient of 1.0), then the risk-adjusted nominal cost of borrowing would be 25.03%.’
      • ‘The beta coefficient is .29 for HISCFREQ and .31 for HISCQUAN.’
      • ‘This point is illustrated by the reduction in the standardised beta coefficient of NA from .45.’


Via Latin from Greek.