Definition of beach in US English:



  • A pebbly or sandy shore, especially by the ocean between high- and low-water marks.

    • ‘Lazy summer days are made to be spent on the gravel flats and sandy beaches along Northern California's Russian River.’
    • ‘Every so often I notice a fireworks display off in the distance; sometimes near the East River, sometimes near the Brooklyn beaches.’
    • ‘Our adventure recon to Madagascar turns up virgin rivers, ivory beaches, and limitless possibilities.’
    • ‘Transfers between islands are by motorized canoes piloted by native guides; most nights are spent camping on empty sand beaches.’
    • ‘Perhaps because of their preference for rocky shores, marine otters have never been found along the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Patagonian coasts.’
    • ‘On clean surf beaches, also look for deeper gullies that tend to run parallel with the shore.’
    • ‘The big, big, wide sands of Blackpool beach have been awarded a blue flag by the important people in charge of Britain's beaches.’
    • ‘Souyia proved another low-key mix of tavernas and bars fronting a pebbly beach.’
    • ‘I want to walk along a tropical beach at sunset or ramble through a ruined temple at sunrise.’
    • ‘This puffin seemed immune to the wind, as it contemplated the black sand beaches below, and completely ignored us.’
    • ‘We did try and glimpse it through the launderette windows, but unfortunately we'd spent too long walking along the pebbly beach, and it was closed.’
    • ‘On the beach at Sandy Hook on the New Jersey shore one October there were hundreds of us assembled in the predawn hours, fishing for striped bass.’
    • ‘On the Comoros beaches, there are no buildings, no people, no development, no tourism.’
    • ‘Flying into Puerto Plata on the north coast, you immediately see that the country has more to offer than beaches.’
    • ‘Miles of hiking trails lead to lookouts and empty ivory beaches.’
    • ‘Back in the early 1980s I spent some time on that beach in Theodosia.’
    • ‘As often as I can, I visit the Hatteras Island beaches and face east to whitecaps and scudding clouds.’
    • ‘This can be key if you're fishing shallow water on the East Coast beaches.’
    • ‘The long sandy beaches of Spain's north coast are lashed by Atlantic surf and hemmed by rolling green hills.’
    seaside, seashore, shore, coast, coastline, coastal region, seaboard, foreshore, water's edge, margin
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[with object]
  • 1Run or haul up (a boat or ship) on to a beach.

    ‘at the water's edge a rowboat was beached’
    no object ‘crews would not beach for fear of damaging craft’
    • ‘The decision to beach the vessel was a hurried and ill-considered over-reaction, with significant consequences in terms of damage.’
    • ‘We beach the raft and pull out our cameras as raft number two begins its run through the 400 metres of white water.’
    • ‘Once, he even directed the helmsman to beach the boat, right into the teeth of an ambush, and pursued our attackers on foot, into the jungle.’
    • ‘The captain and engineer motored the ship across the harbour, intending to beach her in shallow water.’
    • ‘The centreboards make it possible to beach the boats, trailer them and get them into very shallow water.’
    • ‘Fishing boats were beached in rows near the pavement; copper-colored fishermen dried their nets on the sand and rested in the shade of their craft.’
    • ‘Fifty yards off the beach a boat swerves in, cuts its outboard and prepares to beach itself in front of us.’
    • ‘When the ship was beached, the crew disappeared into the night.’
    • ‘Shorelines may be indicated by pebbly or sandy beaches, mudflats, rocky cliffs, or reefs.’
    • ‘The travelers reached a bed of sand, which beached their little boat.’
    • ‘The marines' assault echelon had three hours to offload before tidefall threatened to beach their ships.’
    • ‘They had beached the raft and made their way on foot across a series of barren plains.’
    • ‘A rowboat was beached on the gravelly shore and abandoned there.’
    • ‘With their boat desperately in need of repair, the crew had beached the vessel, awaiting the return of assistance from Spain.’
    • ‘As the story goes, it was in May 1880 that five young yachtsmen beached their boat at Horseshoe Harbor in Larchmont, New York.’
    • ‘Fishermen from the Cinque Ports claimed a long-standing right to beach their boats and to dry their nets there.’
    • ‘The lagoon was a shelter from the weather as the ships could be beached high up on the land at high tide.’
    • ‘Dutifully, he beached his skiff, dragged his mast and sails into their shed, and finally crawled off to his shack, to welcome slumber.’
    • ‘The men quickly made for it, before the fog closed in again, and beached the lead raft, pulling the others quickly in.’
    • ‘In 1770 the ship grounded on the Great Barrier Reef, and after frantic efforts to save the ship, it was beached and repaired over the course of several weeks before resuming her voyage.’
    • ‘The boat was beached in shallow waters without further incident.’
    land, reach the shore, run ashore
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    1. 1.1 (of an angler) land (a fish) on a beach.
      • ‘This turned out to be a sort of latticework-patterned grouper thing of about three pounds, which I beached, not being sure whether it would bite me if it had the opportunity, impale me on a spine, or spit in my eye.’
      • ‘At last, after some twenty-five minutes, a stunning fish was beached: a fresh-run female steelhead of some fourteen or fifteen pounds.’
      • ‘I was ready to beach the fish on the bar, which now stood clear of all but the biggest waves.’
      • ‘With the fish leaping constantly I led it surely but gently upstream onto the shallow riffle in order to beach it.’
      • ‘After a cracking scrap of a few minutes I beached a beautiful barred pargo, a sea-bream-like fish with vertical brown bands running down the flanks and a large yellow eye.’
      • ‘I was very fortunate and beached ten sharks of between about 160 lbs and 290 lbs - all estimated weights by Terence, and he is not generous.’
      catch, capture, land, hook, reel in
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    2. 1.2no object (of a whale or similar animal) become stranded out of the water.
      • ‘Try as we may, no one has been able to fully explain why whales and dolphins beach themselves in the hundreds each year.’
      • ‘To the critics of his approach, Mr Kennedy is in the habit of retelling an involved Scottish anecdote about a whale getting itself beached.’
      • ‘Rescue workers were forced to call off attempts to rescue a 15-ton whale beached off the Lincolnshire coast last night - but vowed to return this morning.’
      • ‘Three pilot whales beached on St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, coincident with Navy maneuvers.’
      • ‘In 2000 17 whales from three species beached themselves in the Bahamas after Navy ships conducted mid-range sonar exercises.’
      • ‘Also threatened is the mysterious giant squid, unusual numbers of which have been found beached in Spain recently, some with their organs damaged almost beyond recognition.’
      • ‘The frantic battle against the clock began when locals noticed a pod of whales beached on Aughacasla Strand, on the Dingle Peninsula, at around 10 am.’
      • ‘Researchers there found the whales beached and confused, swimming in circles, many bleeding from their ears.’
      • ‘Sonar initially generated concern when 16 rare and elusive beaked whales beached themselves in the Bahamas after the Navy used a mid-range sonar in March 2000.’
      • ‘The whale, now beached, was immediately photographed for the nightly news.’
      • ‘George Tifi looks at a Minke whale calf that beached on Tuesday and was buried at Nyara yesterday.’
      • ‘Giant whale vertebrae lie beached and bleached on the shore like prehistoric, bone propellers.’
      • ‘Sights like this, a whale beached off Cairns, found with six square metres of plastic in its body cavity, have caused outrage at the killing capacity of the plastic bag.’
      • ‘The whales had beached near the Dolphin Bay boat ramp and another larger pod had come ashore near a caravan park on Mandalay Beach, four kilometres west of Busselton.’
      • ‘In September 2002, a group of beaked whales beached themselves in the Canary Islands.’
      • ‘Fishermen found a 50-foot, 50-ton sperm whale beached on the coast of Taiwan last Saturday.’
      • ‘I saw in the newspaper today where a number of Giant Squid were beached in JaLolla, California.’
      • ‘Visitors to the site where a humpback whale beached itself at the weekend were shocked to discover the mammal had already been put down yesterday.’
      • ‘At the time 14 beaked whales became beached on the same day that U.S. Navy destroyers where engaged in a sonar exercise.’
      • ‘But among the mysteries still attached to whales is why pods of them are routinely discovered beached on our shores.’
      become stranded, make stranded, become beached, make beached, strand, ground, get stuck
      stranded, stuck, marooned, high and dry, helpless
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    3. 1.3 Cause (someone) to suffer a loss.
      ‘competitive procurement seems to have beached several companies’
      • ‘Everyone else sells out quickly, leaving a beached shoal of unsold Barts.’
      • ‘At the moment Rowan Williams is beached by his institution's dysfunction.’
      • ‘As galvanic as Holliday is Cleavant Derricks as a slam-bang comic belter sadly beached by new musical tides.’
      • ‘Three years ago, after a serious heart attack while manning a dinghy in a frostbite race, Shields was beached from competition by his doctors.’
      • ‘For more than a year, takeover artist and TWA chairman Carl Icahn has been missing from the roiling waters of corporate raids, beached by huge investments in Texaco and USX.’
      • ‘He has certainly beached Smith on the trade union question.’
      • ‘Pub Rock was primarily a traditionalist movement restricted to Greater London with some overspill into the Home Counties, and, at its genesis, a means of sporadic 'employment' for musicians beached by loser '60s bands.’
      • ‘Besides, if I was going to allow them to beach me, then this could well be my last chance to work at something that had any real meaning to me.’
      • ‘A change in literary fashion left him beached with the wreckage of the realistic novel.’


Mid 16th century (denoting shingle on the seashore): perhaps related to Old English bæce, bece ‘brook’ (an element that survives in place names such as Wis bech and Sand bach), assuming an intermediate sense ‘pebbly river valley’.