beat vs bead :

beat or bead

In American English when you focus narrowly on something or define it carefully you “get a bead” or “draw a bead” on it. In this expression the term “bead” comes from the former name for the little metal bump on the end of a gun barrel which helped the shooter aim precisely at a target. “Beat” is often mistakenly substituted for “bead” by people who imagine that the expression has something to do with matching the timing of the person or activity being observed, catching up with it.

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  • n  a regular route for a sentry or policeman
    in the old days a policeman walked a beat and knew all his people by name
  • n  the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart
    he could feel the beat of her heart
  • n  the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music
    the conductor set the beat
  • n  a single pulsation of an oscillation produced by adding two waves of different frequencies; has a frequency equal to the difference between the two oscillations
  • n  a member of the beat generation; a nonconformist in dress and behavior
  • n  the sound of stroke or blow
    he heard the beat of a drum
  • n  (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
  • n  a regular rate of repetition
    the cox raised the beat
  • n  a stroke or blow
    the signal was two beats on the steam pipe
  • n  the act of beating to windward; sailing as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
  • v  come out better in a competition, race, or conflict
    Agassi beat Becker in the tennis championship
    We beat the competition
  • v  give a beating to; subject to a beating, either as a punishment or as an act of aggression
    Thugs beat him up when he walked down the street late at night
    The teacher used to beat the students
  • v  hit repeatedly
    beat on the door
    beat the table with his shoe
  • v  move rhythmically
    Her heart was beating fast
  • v  shape by beating
    beat swords into ploughshares
  • v  make a rhythmic sound
    The drums beat all night
  • v  glare or strike with great intensity
    The sun was beating down on us
  • v  move with a thrashing motion
    The eagle beat its wings and soared high into the sky
  • v  sail with much tacking or with difficulty
    The boat beat in the strong wind
  • v  stir vigorously
    beat the egg whites
    beat the cream
  • v  strike (a part of one's own body) repeatedly, as in great emotion or in accompaniment to music
    beat one's breast
    beat one's foot rhythmically
  • v  be superior
    Reading beats watching television
    This sure beats work!
  • v  avoid paying
    beat the subway fare
  • v  make a sound like a clock or a timer
    the grandfather clock beat midnight
  • v  move with a flapping motion
  • v  indicate by beating, as with the fingers or drumsticks
  • v  move with or as if with a regular alternating motion
  • v  make by pounding or trampling
    beat a path through the forest
  • v  produce a rhythm by striking repeatedly
    beat the drum
  • v  strike (water or bushes) repeatedly to rouse animals for hunting
  • v  beat through cleverness and wit
    I beat the traffic
  • v  be a mystery or bewildering to
    This beats me!
  • v  wear out completely
    I'm beat
  • s  very tired
    so beat I could flop down and go to sleep anywhere

  • n  a small ball with a hole through the middle
  • n  a shape that is spherical and small
    beads of sweat on his forehead
  • n  a beaded molding for edging or decorating furniture
  • v  form into beads, as of water or sweat, for example
  • v  decorate by sewing beads onto
    bead the wedding gown
  • v  string together like beads
News & Articles

  • Eats Beat
    EATS BEAT * Square 1682 - American Kitchen & Cocktails (121 S. 17th St., 215-563-5008, has a summer happy hour, 4-7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through Aug. 30. Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. is Center City SIPS day. Expect $5 wines
    June 13, 2013 - Philadelphia Daily News
  • Timbers beat Rowdies 2-0 in US Open Cup
    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Michael Nanchoff and Jack Jewsbury scored and the Portland Timbers beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 on Wednesday night to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
    June 13, 2013 - The Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports
  • Beat Publication Celebrates Rock’s Cast of Characters
    Beat, a new music publication from England, celebrates rock’s cast of characters.
    June 12, 2013 - New York Times