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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
bead /bid/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. Jewelrya small object of glass, wood, etc., with a hole through it, often put on a string with others of its kind in necklaces, etc.
  2. beads, [plural]
    • Jewelrya necklace of beads.
    • a rosary.
  3. a small drop of liquid or a bubble in a liquid: Beads of sweat popped out on his head.

  1. to form beads or a bead on: [+ object]The perspiration beaded his face.[no object]The moisture beaded on the glass.
  1. Idiomsdraw or get a bead on, [+ object] to take careful aim at (a target):The hit man got a bead on his victim.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
bead  (bēd),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Jewelrya small, usually round object of glass, wood, stone, or the like with a hole through it, often strung with others of its kind in necklaces, rosaries, etc.
  2. beads: 
    • Jewelrya necklace of beads:You don't have your beads on this evening.
    • a rosary.
    • [Obs.]devotions;
  3. any small globular or cylindrical body.
  4. a drop of liquid:beads of moisture.
  5. a bubble rising through effervescent liquid.
  6. Usually,  beads. a mass of such bubbles on the surface of a liquid.
  7. Militarythe front sight of a rifle or gun.
  8. Automotivea reinforced area of a rubber tire terminating the sidewall and fitting within the rim of a wheel. See illus. under  tire. 
  9. Electricitya glass, ceramic, or plastic insulator that contains and supports the inner conductor in a coaxial cable.
  10. Chemistrya globule of borax or some other flux, supported on a platinum wire, in which a small amount of some substance is heated in a flame as a test for its constituents.
  11. Metallurgythe rounded mass of refined metal obtained by cupellation.
  12. Furniture, Architecture[Archit., Furniture.]a small molding having a convex circular section and, usually, a continuous cylindrical surface;
  13. Building, Building, Metallurgy[Welding.]a continuous deposit of fused metal, either straight(stringer bead) or zigzag(weave bead).
  14. count, say, or  tell one's beads, to say one's prayers, using rosary beads:There were a few old women counting their beads in the hushed silence of the chapel.
  15. Idiomsdraw or  get a bead on, to take careful aim at:The marksman drew a bead on his target.

  1. to form or cause to form beads or a bead on.
  2. to ornament with beads.
  3. Building[Carpentry.]to form a bead on (a piece).

  1. to form beads;
    form in beads or drops:perspiration beading on his forehead.
beadlike′, adj. 
  • bef. 900; Middle English bede prayer, prayer bead (where, on a rosary each bead symbolizes a prayer, the word for the notion symbolized was transferred to the designating object), Old English gebed prayer; akin to bid1, German Gebet
    • 4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged droplet, globule, blob, dot.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

bead /biːd/ n
  1. a small usually spherical piece of glass, wood, plastic, etc, with a hole through it by means of which it may be strung with others to form a necklace, etc
  2. a small drop of moisture
  3. a small bubble in or on a liquid
  4. a small metallic knob acting as the sight of a firearm
  5. draw a bead onto aim a rifle or pistol at

  6. Also called: astragal a small convex moulding having a semicircular cross section
  7. count one's beads, say one's beads, tell one's beadsto pray with a rosary
  1. (transitive) to decorate with beads
  2. to form into beads or drops
Etymology: Old English bed prayer; related to Old High German gibet prayer

ˈbeaded adj

'bead' also found in these entries:

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