beam

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun a long thick solid bar used as a support
  • noun a narrow shaft of light or radiation

Agriculture

  • noun the main frame of a plough, to which the parts that cut into the soil are attached

Aviation

  • noun a long thick metal bar used as a support
  • noun a shaft of light or radiation travelling in one direction, as from a car’s headlights

Computing

  • noun a narrow set of light or electron rays

Construction

  • A horizontal structural member, such as a girder, rafter, or purlin, that transversely supports a load and transfers the load to vertical members, such as columns and walls.
  • The graduated horizontal bar of a weighing scale.

Electronics

  • A concentrated and essentially unidirectional stream of radiated energy, such as radio waves, or particles, such as electrons. Other examples include light beams, laser beams, and neutron beams.
  • A signal transmitted in a given direction, such as that of an antenna or radio beacon.

Media Studies

  • verb to broadcast radio or television signals to a particular place

Real Estate

  • noun a horizontal structure that spans a gap and supports a floor, roof or other structure above it

Sports

  • noun a narrow horizontal wooden bar on legs that women gymnasts stand on to perform balancing exercises

Origin & History of “beam”

In Old English times the word bēam (like modern German baum) meant ‘tree’ – a signification preserved in tree-names such as hornbeam and whitebeam. But already before the year 1000 the extended meanings we are familiar with today – ‘piece of timber’ and ‘ray of light’ – had started to develop. Related forms in other Germanic languages (which include, as well as German baum, Dutch boom, from which English gets boom ‘spar’ (16th c.)) suggest a west Germanic ancestor *bauma, but beyond that all is obscure.
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