Pronunciation Noun

bead (plural beads)

  1. (archaic) Prayer, later especially with a rosary. [from 9thc.]
    • 1760, Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Penguin 2003, p.115:
      That he must believe in the Pope;—go to Mass;—cross himself;—tell his beads;—be a good Catholick, and that this, in all conscience, was enough to carry him to heaven.
  2. Each in a string of small balls making up the rosary or paternoster. [from 14thc.]
  3. A small round object.
    1. A small round object with a hole to allow it to be threaded on a cord or wire. [from 15thc.]
    2. A small round solid object.
    3. A small drop of water or other liquid. [from 16thc.]
      beads of sweat
    4. A bubble, in spirits.
    5. A small round ball at the end of a barrel of a gun used for aiming.
      She drew a bead on the target and fired.
      • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
        But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ […] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window […], and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, little dreaming that the deadly tube was levelled at them.
  4. (heading) A ridge, band, or molding.
    1. A rigid edge of a tire that mounts it on a wheel; tire bead. [from 20thc.]
    2. (architecture) A narrow molding with semicircular section.
  5. Knowledge sufficient to direct one's activities to a purpose.
    We now have a bead on the main technical issues for the project
  6. (chemistry, dated) A glassy drop of molten flux, as borax or microcosmic salt, used as a solvent and color test for several mineral earths and oxides, as of iron, manganese, etc., before the blowpipe.
    the borax bead;  the iron bead, etc.
  7. Front sight of a gun.
Translations Translations Translations Verb

bead (beads, present participle beading; past and past participle beaded)

  1. (intransitive) To form into a bead.
    The raindrops beaded on the car's waxed finish.
  2. (transitive) To apply beads to.
    She spent the morning beading the gown.
  3. (transitive) To form into a bead.
    He beaded some solder for the ends of the wire.
  4. (transitive) To cause beads to form on (something).
    • 1941, Emily Carr, Klee Wyck, "Greenville,"
      Only the hum of the miserable creatures stirred the heavy murk that beaded our foreheads with sweat as we pushed our way through it.

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