Meaning of beam

beam

Pronunciation: (bēm), [key]
— n.
  1. any of various relatively long pieces of metal, wood, stone, etc., manufactured or shaped esp. for use as rigid members or parts of structures or machines.
  2. a horizontal bearing member, as a joist or lintel.
  3. a rigid member or structure supported at each end, subject to bending stresses from a direction perpendicular to its length.
    1. a horizontal structural member, usually transverse, for supporting the decks and flats of a vessel.
    2. the extreme width of a vessel.
    3. the shank of an anchor.
  4. the direction perpendicular to the plane of symmetry of an aircraft and outward from the side.
  5. the widest part.
  6. the measure across both hips or buttocks: broad in the beam.
    1. Seewalking beam.
    2. (in a loom) a roller or cylinder on which the warp is wound before weaving.
    3. a similar cylinder on which cloth is wound as it is woven.
  7. the crossbar of a balance, from the ends of which the scales or pans are suspended.
  8. a ray of light: The sun shed its beams upon the vineyard.
  9. a group of nearly parallel rays.
  10. a signal transmitted along a narrow course, used to guide pilots through darkness, bad weather, etc.
  11. a narrow stream of electrons, as that emitted from the electron gun of a cathode ray tube.
  12. the angle at which a microphone or loudspeaker functions best.
  13. the cone-shaped range of effective use of a microphone or loudspeaker.
  14. See
  15. a gleam; suggestion: a beam of hope.
  16. a radiant smile.
  17. the principal stem of the antler of a deer.
  18. (of an aircraft) to be guided by a beam.
  19. The pollsters were off the beam again for the last presidential election.
    1. not on the course indicated by a radio beam.
    2. Informal.wrong; incorrect:The pollsters were off the beam again for the last presidential election.
  20. Their research is right on the beam and the results should be very valuable.
    1. on the course indicated by a radio beam, as an airplane.
    2. Naut.at right angles to the keel.
    3. Informal.proceeding well; correct; exact:Their research is right on the beam and the results should be very valuable.
—v.t.
  1. to emit in or as in beams or rays.
  2. to transmit (a signal) in a particular direction.
  3. to direct (a program, commercial message, etc.) to a predetermined audience.
—v.i.
  1. to emit beams, as of light.
  2. to smile radiantly or happily.
  3. to be received under optimum conditions; be heard loud and clear: They told me I was really beaming in.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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