9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[been] /bin/
the edible nutritious seed of various plants of the legume family, especially of the genus Phaseolus.
a plant producing such seeds.
the pod of such a plant, especially when immature and eaten as a vegetable.
any of various other beanlike seeds or plants, as the coffee bean.
  1. a person's head.
  2. a coin or a bank note considered as a coin:
    I can't pay for the ticket, I don't have a bean in my jeans.
British Informal. a minimum amount of money:
They've been disinherited and now haven't a bean.
beans, Informal. the slightest amount:
He doesn't know beans about navigation.
verb (used with object)
Slang. to hit on the head, especially with a baseball.
beans, (used to express disbelief, annoyance, etc.).
full of beans, Informal.
  1. energetic; vigorously active; vital:
    He is still full of beans at 95.
  2. stupid; erroneous; misinformed.
spill the beans, Informal. to disclose a secret, either accidentally or imprudently, thereby ruining a surprise or plan:
He spilled the beans, and she knew all about the party in advance.
Origin of bean
before 950; Middle English bene, Old English bēan; cognate with Old Norse baun, Old Frisian bāne, Dutch boon, Old Saxon, Old High German bona (German Bohne), probably < Germanic *babnō, cognate with Russian bob, Latin faba < European Indo-European *bhabh-
Related forms
beanlike, adjective
Can be confused
bean, been, Ben, bin.


[been] /bin/
Alan L(aVern) born 1932, U.S. astronaut.
Roy ("Judge") 1825?–1903, U.S. frontiersman and justice of the peace: called himself “the law west of the Pecos.”. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bean
  • Cocoa and chocolate are both prepared from seeds of the cocoa bean.
  • Suppose there were no way to observe the development of two dicotyledonous plants from their seeds-the apple tree and the bean.
  • Deans often function as bean counters, looking at student credit hours taught per department, but that happens everywhere.
  • Don't argue so much against budget-emphases and bean-counting and vocational dispositions.
  • But the bean harvests have failed recently, and cattle have come down with strange illnesses.
  • If you agree that jelly-bean pointillism is a great idea, you'll also be sure to appreciate these replicas of famous masterpieces.
  • To eliminate the coffee smell, wash burlap coffee bean bags in warm water and air-dry before use.
  • She likes to read on her bean bag chair and in the car on long trips.
  • If she were to pick only one jelly bean from a pack, it would probably be green.
  • The cooked grains were gelatinous and matched the appearance of bean starch she had cooked in her laboratory for comparison.
British Dictionary definitions for bean


any of various leguminous plants of the widely cultivated genus Phaseolus producing edible seeds in pods See French bean, lima bean, scarlet runner, string bean
any of several other leguminous plants that bear edible pods or seeds, such as the broad bean and soya bean
any of various other plants whose seeds are produced in pods or podlike fruits
the seed or pod of any of these plants
any of various beanlike seeds, such as coffee
(US & Canadian, slang) another word for head
(slang) cool beans, excellent; impressive
(slang) not have a bean, to be without money: I haven't got a bean
(informal) full of beans
  1. full of energy and vitality
  2. (US) mistaken; erroneous
(informal) spill the beans, to disclose something confidential
(mainly US & Canadian, slang) (transitive) to hit (a person) on the head
Word Origin
Old English bēan; related to Old Norse baun, Old Frisian bāne, Old High German bōna bean
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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Word Origin and History for bean

Old English bean "bean, pea, legume," from Proto-Germanic *bauno (cf. Old Norse baun, Middle Dutch bone, Dutch boon, Old High German bona, German Bohne), perhaps from a PIE reduplicated base *bha-bha- and related to Latin faba "bean."

As a metaphor for "something of small value" it is attested from c.1300. Meaning "head" is U.S. baseball slang c.1905 (in bean-ball "a pitch thrown at the head"); thus slang verb bean meaning "to hit on the head," attested from 1910.

The notion of lucky or magic beans in English folklore is from the exotic beans or large seeds that wash up occasionally in Cornwall and western Scotland, carried from the Caribbean or South America by the Gulf Stream. They were cherished, believed to ward off the evil eye and aid in childbirth.

Slang bean-counter "accountant" recorded by 1971. To not know beans (American English, 1933) is perhaps from the "of little worth" sense, but may have a connection to colloquial expression recorded around Somerset, to know how many beans make five "be a clever fellow."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bean

be-all and end-all

noun phrase

Something regarded as the most important element: the be-all and end-all of series finales

[1605; fr Shakespeare's Macbeth, ''That but this blow Might be the be all, and the end all.'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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bean in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with bean
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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