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[beem-endz] /ˈbimˌɛndz/
plural noun
Nautical. the ends of the transverse deck beams of a vessel.
on her beam-ends, Nautical. heeled so far on one side that the deck is practically vertical:
The schooner was blown over on her beam-ends.
on one's / the beam-ends, Slang. in desperate straits, especially financial straits.
Also, on the beam's ends.
Origin of beam-ends
1765-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beam-ends
Historical Examples
  • If we head back for the land we may be thrown on our beam-ends, I will say.

  • Crewe picked him up at Monte Carlo, when he was on his beam-ends.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • The vessel had encountered bad weather; her ballast had shifted, and she lay on her beam-ends about eight miles west of St Kilda.

  • Hove so completely over the beam-ends that the keel is above the water.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • They could see that the wreck was a small vessel on her beam-ends.

  • Two other vessels had been driven higher on shore, but lay on their beam-ends.

    Paddy Finn W. H. G. Kingston
  • For already the men had planned, if the slightest chance offered, to try and get the masts out while she lay on her beam-ends.

    Labrador Days Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • Over went the schooner, till she lay helplessly on her beam-ends.

    Mark Seaworth William H.G. Kingston
  • “Knocks you on to your beam-ends,” suggested Captain Bontnor.

    The Grey Lady Henry Seton Merriman
  • I sprang on deck, and found that a squall had thrown the vessel on her beam-ends.

    Hurricane Hurry W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for beam-ends


plural noun
the ends of a vessel's beams
on her beam-ends, (of a vessel) heeled over through an angle of 90°
on one's beam-ends
  1. out of resources; destitute
  2. desperate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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