Nautical, Aeronautics. at right angles to the fore-and-aft line: The vessel was sailing with the wind directly abeam.
directly abreast the middle of a ship's side.

1830–40; a-1 + beam

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World English Dictionary
abeam (əˈbiːm)
adv, —adj
(postpositive) at right angles to the length and directly opposite the centre of a vessel or aircraft
[C19: a-² + beam]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"at right angles to the keel," c.1836, nautical, lit. "on beam;" see a- (1) + beam.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Abeam indicates a general position rather than a precise point.
On this machine, a resonance is set up in abeam by a rotating eccentric weight.
For paved road samples, the broom-swept particles and the vacuum-swept dust are individually weighed on abeam balance.
Power was reduced abeam midfield on downwind, the landing gear was lowered, and the approach flaps were extended.
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