beam

A beam is a long board that's used to hold up a roof or doorway. The beams in your kitchen ceiling help support the upstairs floor just above it.

In construction, beams are made of wood or metal and are used to frame a building and provide structure. In gymnastics, a beam is used for balancing and doing tricks on. If someone comments that you're getting "broad in the beam," they're disparaging the width of your body, especially your hips. In Old English, a beam first meant a tree, and later a rafter or a ship's timber.

Definitions of beam
  1. noun
    long thick piece of wood or metal or concrete, etc., used in construction
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    types:
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    box beam, box girder
    a beam built up from boards; has a hollow rectangular cross section
    cantilever
    projecting horizontal beam fixed at one end only
    girder
    a beam made usually of steel; a main support in a structure
    header
    a framing member crossing and supporting the ends of joists, studs, or rafters so as to transfer their weight to parallel joists, studs, or rafters
    header, lintel
    horizontal beam used as a finishing piece over a door or window
    joist
    beam used to support a floor or ceiling
    keel
    one of the main longitudinal beams (or plates) of the hull of a vessel; can extend vertically into the water to provide lateral stability
    keelson
    a longitudinal beam connected to the keel of ship to strengthen it
    balk, baulk, rafter
    one of several parallel sloping beams that support a roof
    rider plate
    a horizontal beam (or plate) connected to the top of a ship's vertical keel or to the keelson
    ridge, ridgepole, rooftree
    a beam laid along the edge where two sloping sides of a roof meet at the top; provides an attachment for the upper ends of rafters
    shore, shoring
    a beam or timber that is propped against a structure to provide support
    tie, tie beam
    a horizontal beam used to prevent two other structural members from spreading apart or separating
    timber
    a beam made of wood
    crossbeam, crosspiece, trave, traverse
    a horizontal beam that extends across something
    bilge keel
    either of two lengthwise fins attached along the outside of a ship's bilge; reduces rolling
    coulisse
    a timber member grooved to take a sliding panel
    floor joist
    joist that supports a floor
    I-beam
    girder having a cross section resembling the letter `I'
    sternpost
    (nautical) the principal upright timber at the stern of a vessel
    stringer
    a long horizontal timber to connect uprights
    trimmer, trimmer joist
    joist that receives the end of a header in floor or roof framing in order to leave an opening for a staircase or chimney etc.
    two-by-four
    a timber measuring (slightly under) 2 inches by 4 inches in cross section
    type of:
    piece
    a separate part of a whole
    structural member
    support that is a constituent part of any structure or building
  2. noun
    a gymnastic apparatus used by women gymnasts
    synonyms: balance beam
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    type of:
    exerciser, gymnastic apparatus
    sports equipment used in gymnastic exercises
  3. noun
    a column of light (as from a beacon)
    synonyms: beam of light, irradiation, light beam, ray, ray of light, shaft, shaft of light
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    heat ray
    a ray that produces a thermal effect
    high beam
    the beam of a car's headlights that provides distant illumination
    moon ray, moon-ray, moonbeam
    a ray of moonlight
    sunbeam, sunray
    a ray of sunlight
    laser beam
    a beam of light generated by a laser
    low beam
    the beam of a car's headlights that provides illumination for a short distance
    infrared ray
    a ray of infrared radiation; produces a thermal effect (as from an infrared lamp)
    type of:
    light, visible light, visible radiation
    (physics) electromagnetic radiation that can produce a visual sensation
  4. noun
    a group of nearly parallel lines of electromagnetic radiation
    synonyms: electron beam, ray
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    cathode ray
    a beam of electrons emitted by the cathode of an electrical discharge tube
    particle beam
    a collimated flow of particles (atoms or electrons or molecules)
    ion beam, ionic beam
    a beam of ions moving in the same direction at the same speed
    type of:
    electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic wave, nonparticulate radiation
    radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge
  5. noun
    a signal transmitted along a narrow path; guides airplane pilots in darkness or bad weather
    synonyms: radio beam
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    type of:
    sign, signal, signaling
    any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message
  6. verb
    emit light; be bright, as of the sun or a light
    “The fire beamed on their faces”
    synonyms: shine
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    beat down
    shine hard
    beacon
    shine like a beacon
    glare
    shine intensely
    flame, flare
    shine with a sudden light
    outshine
    shine brighter than
    shimmer
    shine with a weak or fitful light
    flick, flicker
    shine unsteadily
    blaze
    shine brightly and intensively
    scintillate, twinkle, winkle
    emit or reflect light in a flickering manner
    burn, glow
    shine intensely, as if with heat
    beat
    glare or strike with great intensity
    gutter
    burn unsteadily, feebly, or low; flicker
  7. verb
    broadcast over the airwaves, as in radio or television
    synonyms: air, broadcast, send, transmit
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    satellite
    broadcast or disseminate via satellite
    sportscast
    broadcast a sports event
    telecast, televise
    broadcast via television
    interrogate
    transmit (a signal) for setting off an appropriate response, as in telecommunication
    rebroadcast, rerun
    broadcast again, as of a film
    colorcast, colourcast
    broadcast in color
    type of:
    air, bare, publicise, publicize
    make public
  8. verb
    have a complexion with a strong bright color, such as red or pink
    synonyms: glow, radiate, shine
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    appear, look, seem
    give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect
  9. verb
    experience a feeling of well-being or happiness, as from good health or an intense emotion
    “She was beaming with joy”
    synonyms: glow, radiate, shine
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    type of:
    experience, feel
    undergo an emotional sensation or be in a particular state of mind
  10. verb
    smile radiantly; express joy through one's facial expression
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    type of:
    smile
    change one's facial expression by spreading the lips, often to signal pleasure
  11. verb
    express with a beaming face or smile
    “he beamed his approval”
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    type of:
    evince, express, show
    give expression to
  12. noun
    the broad side of a ship
    “they sighted land on the port beam
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    type of:
    side
    an extended outer surface of an object
  13. noun
    (nautical) breadth amidships
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    type of:
    breadth, width
    the extent of something from side to side
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