Definition of bean in US English:

bean

noun

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

    • ‘Smaller than kidney beans, red beans have a unique oval shape and are typically used in chili products and mixes.’
    • ‘She returned a few minutes later with some boiled yam, an onion and tomato sauce, fried plantain and a bean casserole.’
    • ‘He said he expects much of his work will involve Great Northern beans, as well as pintos and other types of dry edible beans.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a youngster growing up in Salford he would eat only beans on toast.’
    • ‘There are also shell beans (lima, navy, kidney, mung, garbanzo and soya) that you can grow just for the bean seeds inside the pod.’
    • ‘It could be toast or a tin of beans, and we drink tea.’
    • ‘About half the nation's $629 million dry edible bean crop is grown in those two states and Michigan.’
    • ‘In another experiment, bean plants grown from seed given increasing fractions of heavy water showed stunted growth compared with control plants given normal water.’
    • ‘Black eyed beans - small white kidney shaped bean with black spot at the sproutingpoint.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 differs in several ways from small, red, dry beans now grown, beginning with improved resistance to bean common mosaic viruses.’
    • ‘These inhibitors are small proteins found in many plant seeds such as beans, a food regularly eaten by humans.’
    • ‘We went to Notcutts and bought some compost since my bean seedlings are growing into triffids and need planting out ASAP.’
    • ‘Prior to this face saving embrace of bona fide produce, I considered potatoes and red beans the only edible vegetables.’
    • ‘Adding educational content to the performance, audience members are presented with some seeds, cottonwool and directions on how to grow the beans.’
    • ‘All of the organic grains - wheat, spelt, dry edible beans - are big on the international market now.’
    • ‘The beans are the seeds of the leguminous soybean plant.’
    1. 1.1 The hard seed of coffee, cocoa, and certain other plants.
      • ‘Despite its relatively expensive price, customers keep coming back to replenish their supply of fine blends, ground coffee and beans.’
      • ‘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 beans contain copper and most of the mineral remains preserved after the beans are processed into cocoa or chocolate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A recent Oxfam report showed that coffee farmers sell their beans at around 60 per cent of what it costs them to produce.’
      • ‘Everyone who talks about coffee focuses on the beans.’
      • ‘Growers need to plant other crops than just coffee and when they grow coffee, they need to grow higher quality beans.’
      • ‘Most of us buy vacuum-sealed packs of roasted beans or ready ground coffee from the supermarkets.’
      • ‘Cocoa processing (crushing the beans to form cocoa powder and butter) is far more profitable than cocoa growing.’
      • ‘Cacao beans, like coffee, need to be roasted to bring out their flavor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This bean yields a thick coffee with the fragrance of walnuts.’
      • ‘The tasters did note that coffee from blade-ground beans had less body than coffee from burr-ground beans.’
      • ‘When I drink the coffee from my café, I think about the Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, who grew the beans.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, 25 million coffee farmers are struggling to survive on the prices they are paid for the beans they grow.’
      • ‘Some of the world's largest industries are built around beans: coffee and cocoa, for example.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fortunately, much of the copper is retained when the bean is processed into cocoa or chocolate.’
  • 2A leguminous plant that bears beans in pods.

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

    • ‘Like most edible crops, beans should always be rotated, the exceptions being tomatoes, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes.’
    • ‘As the beans grow, they receive two further treatments with herbicides.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Along Highway E, the beans are growing by leaps, wide leaves turned to the morning.’
    • ‘Ricin, one of the deadliest naturally occurring poisons, is derived from castor plant beans, which are grown worldwide to produce castor oil.’
    • ‘For many of these highlanders raising dairy cows is considered the best way to make a living, better than growing beans or other crops.’
    • ‘Yet, with the population explosion and reclaiming lands for cultivation, part of the forest has been converted to farmland to grow corn and beans.’
    • ‘For example, peas and beans grown one year produce nitrogen that can be used to good advantage by other vegetables the following year.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, white mold is most common in northern growing areas where short-season beans are grown.’
    • ‘Hyacinth bean, a vigorous annual vine, can quickly cover an arbor during one season.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The number growing corn, beans, and rice, the staples of the local diet, fell from 70,000 to 27,000.’
    • ‘Maize and squash were cultivated in river valleys, and after ad 1200 beans were grown too.’
    • ‘These varieties differ from typical bean plants by growing over six feet tall and being late in maturity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now I need a little cooperation from Mother Nature in the way of sunshine to get the corn and the beans growing.’
  • 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’
    ‘I didn't know beans about being a step-parent’
    • ‘I had heard of gout, but I didn’t know beans about it.’
    • ‘Having the world's best beans doesn't mean beans unless they are roasted correctly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There really isn't much to recycle in the ordinary light bulb, even the combination of glass and metal doesn't amount to beans.’
  • 4dated, informal A person's head, especially when regarded as a source of common sense.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You gotta use your bean to get this right so, as they say in the military, listen up.’
    • ‘Why doesn't Foley use his bean and draft legislation prohibiting tornadoes from entering or coming near to trailer parks?’
    head, skull, cranium
    View synonyms

verb

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

    ‘Boone was nearly beaned by that wild pitch’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They meet after Tom beans Sarah in the head with a football.’
    • ‘My fiancee - civilized, gentle soul - once beaned a squirrel with an ice cube to keep the varmint from stripping her sunflowers bare.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I picked up the ball and pitched as hard as I could, beaning her square in the forehead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Didn't see anything like that, though I was almost beaned by a falling pinecone.’
    • ‘Coincidentally or not, he was beaned the day after his record-setting production of 18 total bases by Clem Labine of the Dodgers.’
    • ‘I had a very strong urge to bean her with a rock, because underneath the pier is littered with big ones, but I resisted.’
    • ‘During the fifth inning though she was beaned by the ball while the opponent was at bat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I fell on some poor girl in the audience and beaned her in the head with my guitar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She hadn't been beaned in the head with anything either.’
    • ‘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.’
    hit over the head, hit on the head, hit, strike, buffet, bang, knock, thwack, slug, welt, cuff, punch, smash
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • old bean

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

      ‘great to see you, old bean!’
      • ‘Sorry old bean, but I'm not up for ‘here are 50 questions for you to answer or explain why not’.’
      • ‘Now that you mention it, Tristan old bean, it looks somewhat unique.’
      • ‘Boris old bean, don't take any notice of what Howard says; you'll be there long after he has gone.’
      • ‘You had quite a lot of sherry old bean, and as you got up to leave you mistook the window for a door.’
      • ‘I always think of him saying something like ‘you simply have to, old bean, you simply have to!’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm sorry, old bean, I'm just not going to accept those states as even proto-Socialist or pseudo-Marxian.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nice to see you thinking outside the box, old bean.’
      man, my friend
      View synonyms
  • a hill (or row) of beans

    • with negativeAnything of any importance or value.

      ‘three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world’
      • ‘As far as I can tell, MP3 and the RIAA are fighting each other over what amounts to a hill of beans.’
      • ‘When Bogart said to Bergman in Casablanca: ‘The problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world,’ he could not have been more incorrect.’
      • ‘CAFTA's passage was bought by an outrageous amount of pork barrel politics, and fake side deals that don't amount to a hill of beans.’
      • ‘The problems of three or three hundred or three hundred thousand little bloggers don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.’
      • ‘‘This was six months of anticipation with four additional weeks of delay that, in my judgment, did not amount to a hill of beans,’ Assemblyman Steven Sanders, Manhattan Democrat, told The New York Times.’
      • ‘The bottom line is that they have the power and you don't, and until you figure out how to impress their consciousness using language and symbols they can understand, all your protests and street theater won't amount to a hill of beans.’
      • ‘Ms. Hill, you see, favors people who are ‘diverse,’ which apparently means any and all who agree with her, and she doesn't care a hill of beans for anyone else, of whatever hue or gender.’
      • ‘As with the thousands that had gone before, years of sluggin’ it out in the garage and in clubs hadn't amounted to a hill of beans.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

bean

/bin//bēn/