Beam (?), n. [AS. be�xa0;m beam, post, tree, ray of light; akin to OFries. bam tree, OS. bm, D. boom, OHG. boum, poum, G. baum, Icel. bamr, Goth. bahms and Gr. a growth, to become, to be. Cf. L. radius staff, rod, spoke of a wheel, beam or ray, and G. strahl arrow, spoke of a wheel, ray or beam, flash of lightning. 97. See Be; cf. Boom a spar.]


Any large piece of timber or iron long in proportion to its thickness, and prepared for use.


One of the principal horizontal timbers of a building or ship.

The beams of a vessel are strong pieces of timber stretching across from side to side to support the decks. Totten.


The width of a vessel; as, one vessel is said to have more beam than another.


The bar of a balance, from the ends of which the scales are suspended.

The doubtful beam long nods from side to side. Pope.


The principal stem or horn of a stag or other deer, which bears the antlers, or branches.


The pole of a carriage.




A cylinder of wood, making part of a loom, on which weavers wind the warp before weaving; also, the cylinder on which the cloth is rolled, as it is woven; one being called the fore beam, the other the back beam.


The straight part or shank of an anchor.


The main part of a plow, to which the handles and colter are secured, and to the end of which are attached the oxen or horses that draw it.

10. Steam Engine

A heavy iron lever having an oscillating motion on a central axis, one end of which is connected with the piston rod from which it receives motion, and the other with the crank of the wheel shaft; -- called also working beam or walking beam.


A ray or collection of parallel rays emitted from the sun or other luminous body; as, a beam of light, or of heat.

How far that little candle throws his beams ! Shak.


Fig.: A ray; a gleam; as, a beam of comfort.

Mercy with her genial beam. Keble.


One of the long feathers in the wing of a hawk; -- called also beam feather.

Abaft the beam Naut., in an arc of the horizon between a line that crosses the ship at right angles, or in the direction of her beams, and that point of the compass toward which her stern is directed. -- Beam center Mach., the fulcrum or pin on which the working beam of an engine vibrates. -- Beam compass, an instrument consisting of a rod or beam, having sliding sockets that carry steel or pencil points; -- used for drawing or describing large circles. -- Beam engine, a steam engine having a working beam to transmit power, in distinction from one which has its piston rod attached directly to the crank of the wheel shaft. -- Before the beam Naut., in an arc of the horizon included between a line that crosses the ship at right angles and that point of the compass toward which the ship steers. -- On the beam , in a line with the beams, or at right angled with the keel. -- On the weather beam, on the side of a ship which faces the wind. -- To be on her beam ends, to incline, as a vessel, so much on one side that her beams approach a vertical position.


© Webster 1913.

Beam, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Beamed (); p. pr. & vb. n. Beaming.]

To send forth; to emit; -- followed ordinarily by forth; as, to beam forth light.


© Webster 1913.

Beam, v. i.

To emit beams of light.

He beamed, the daystar of the rising age. Trumbull.


© Webster 1913.