A bean is a seed you can eat. You might love garbanzo beans but detest large, green lima beans.

When you order rice and beans at a Mexican restaurant, you get a plate full of deliciously spiced, slightly mashed pinto or black beans. You might plant beans in your garden, vine-like climbing plants that grow pods with beans inside. Coffee and chocolate are both foods that start out as beans. If someone beans you during a softball game, it means they hit you with the ball, usually in the head — also colloquially called a bean.

Primary Meanings of bean

any of various leguminous plants grown for their edible seeds and pods
informal terms for a human head
hit on the head, especially with a pitched baseball
Full Definitions of bean

n any of various leguminous plants grown for their edible seeds and pods

bean plant
show 9 types...
hide 9 types...
bush bean
a bean plant whose bushy growth needs no supports
pole bean
a climbing bean plant that will climb a wall or tree or trellis
shell bean, shell bean plant
a bean plant grown primarily for its edible seed rather than its pod
Phaseolus vulgaris, common bean, common bean plant
the common annual twining or bushy bean plant grown for its edible seeds or pods
Dutch case-knife bean, Phaseolus coccineus, Phaseolus multiflorus, runner bean, scarlet runner, scarlet runner bean
tropical American bean with red flowers and mottled black beans similar to Phaseolus vulgaris but perennial; a preferred food bean in Great Britain
Phaseolus limensis, lima bean, lima bean plant
bush or tall-growing bean plant having large flat edible seeds
Phaseolus lunatus, butter bean, butter-bean plant, lima bean, sieva bean
bush bean plant cultivated especially in southern United States having small flat edible seeds
Phaseolus acutifolius latifolius, tepary bean
twining plant of southwestern United States and Mexico having roundish white or yellow or brown or black beans
English bean, European bean, Vicia faba, broad bean, broad-bean, broad-bean plant, field bean
Old World upright plant grown especially for its large flat edible seeds but also as fodder
Type of:
legume, leguminous plant
an erect or climbing bean or pea plant of the family Leguminosae

n any of various edible seeds of plants of the family Leguminosae used for food

edible bean
show 11 types...
hide 11 types...
goa bean
Old World tropical bean
common bean
any of numerous beans eaten either fresh or dried
soy, soya, soya bean, soybean
the most highly proteinaceous vegetable known; the fruit of the soybean plant is used in a variety of foods and as fodder (especially as a replacement for animal protein)
kidney bean
large dark red bean; usually dried
navy bean, pea bean, white bean
white-seeded bean; usually dried
pinto bean
mottled or spotted bean of southwestern United States; usually dried
Mexican bean; usually dried
black bean, turtle bean
black-seeded bean of South America; usually dried
fresh bean
beans eaten before they are ripe as opposed to dried
flageolet, haricot
a French bean variety with light-colored seeds; usually dried
field soybean
seeds used as livestock feed
Type of:
the seedpod of a leguminous plant (such as peas or beans or lentils)

n any of various seeds or fruits that are beans or resemble beans

show 7 types...
hide 7 types...
coumara nut, tonka bean
fragrant black nutlike seeds of the tonka bean tree; used in perfumes and medicines and as a substitute for vanilla
algarobilla, algarroba, algarrobilla
mesquite pod used in tanning and dyeing
calabar bean, ordeal bean
dark brown highly poisonous seed of the calabar-bean vine; source of physostigmine and used in native witchcraft
twisted seed pods of the divi-divi tree; source of tannin
algarroba, algarroba bean, carob, carob bean, locust bean, locust pod
long pod containing small beans and sweetish edible pulp; used as animal feed and source of a chocolate substitute
soy, soya bean, soybean
a source of oil; used for forage and soil improvement and as food
broad bean, fava bean, horsebean
seed of the broad-bean plant
Type of:
a small hard fruit

n informal terms for a human head

attic, bonce, dome, noggin, noodle
Type of:
human head
the head of a human being

v hit on the head, especially with a pitched baseball

Type of:
deal a blow to, either with the hand or with an instrument

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.