follow Dictionary.com

Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!

bead

[beed] /bid/
noun
1.
a 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.
  1. a necklace of beads:
    You don't have your beads on this evening.
  2. a rosary.
  3. Obsolete. devotions; prayers.
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.
the front sight of a rifle or gun.
8.
a reinforced area of a rubber tire terminating the sidewall and fitting within the rim of a wheel.
9.
Electricity. a glass, ceramic, or plastic insulator that contains and supports the inner conductor in a coaxial cable.
10.
Chemistry. a 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.
Metallurgy. the rounded mass of refined metal obtained by cupellation.
12.
Architecture, Furniture. a small molding having a convex circular section and, usually, a continuous cylindrical surface; astragal.
13.
Welding. a continuous deposit of fused metal, either straight (stringer bead) or zigzag (weave bead)
verb (used with object)
14.
to form or cause to form beads or a bead on.
15.
to ornament with beads.
16.
Carpentry. to form a bead on (a piece).
verb (used without object)
17.
to form beads; form in beads or drops:
perspiration beading on his forehead.
Idioms
18.
count / say / 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.
19.
draw / get a bead on, to take careful aim at:
The marksman drew a bead on his target.
Origin
900
before 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
Related forms
beadlike, adjective
Synonyms
4. droplet, globule, blob, dot.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for count beads

bead

/biːd/
noun
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: a bead of sweat
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 on, to aim a rifle or pistol at
6.
(architect, carpentry) Also called astragal. a small convex moulding having a semicircular cross section
7.
(chem) a small solid globule made by fusing a powdered sample with borax or a similar flux on a platinum wire. The colour of the globule serves as a test for the presence of certain metals (bead test)
8.
(metallurgy) a deposit of welding metal on the surface of a metal workpiece, often used to examine the structure of the weld zone
9.
(RC Church) one of the beads of a rosary
10.
count one's beads, say one's beads, tell one's beads, to pray with a rosary
verb
11.
(transitive) to decorate with beads
12.
to form into beads or drops
Derived Forms
beaded, adjective
Word Origin
Old English bed prayer; related to Old High German gibet prayer
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for count beads

bead

n.

mid-14c., bede "prayer bead," from Old English gebed "prayer," with intensive or collective prefix *ge- + Proto-Germanic *bidjan "to pray, entreat" (cf. Middle Dutch bede, Old High German beta, German bitte, Gothic bida "prayer, request"), from PIE *gwhedh- "to ask, pray." Shift in meaning came via beads threaded on a string to count prayers, and in phrases like to bid one's beads, to count one's beads. German cognate Bitte is the usual word for conversational request "please." Also related to bid (Old English biddan) and Gothic bidjan "to ask, pray." Sense transferred to "drop of liquid" 1590s; to "small knob forming front sight of a gun" 1831 (Kentucky slang); hence draw a bead on "take aim at," 1841, U.S. colloquial.

v.

1570s, "to adorn with beads," from bead (n.). Meaning "to string like beads" is from 1883. Related: Beaded; beading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for count beads
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with count beads

bead

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for bead

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for count

7
10
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for count beads