Bean



the edible nutritious seed of various plants of the legume family, especially of the genus Phaseolus.
a plant producing such seeds.
the pod of such a plant, especially when immature and eaten as a vegetable.
any of various other beanlike seeds or plants, as the coffee bean.
Slang.

a person’s head.
a coin or a bank note considered as a coin:
I can’t pay for the ticket, I don’t have a bean in my jeans.

British Informal. a minimum amount of money:
They’ve been disinherited and now haven’t a bean.
beans, Informal. the slightest amount:
He doesn’t know beans about navigation.
Slang. to hit on the head, especially with a baseball.
beans, (used to express disbelief, annoyance, etc.).
full of beans, Informal.

energetic; vigorously active; vital:
He is still full of beans at 95.
stupid; erroneous; misinformed.

spill the beans, Informal. to disclose a secret, either accidentally or imprudently, thereby ruining a surprise or plan:
He spilled the beans, and she knew all about the party in advance.
Alan L(aVern) born 1932, U.S. astronaut.
Roy (“Judge”) 1825?–1903, U.S. frontiersman and justice of the peace: called himself “the law west of the Pecos.”.
Contemporary Examples

To mark the event at a New Hampshire farm, the couple served up chicken and bean chili to the assembled crowd.
Ann Romney’s Milk-and-Cookies Style Emphasizes Mitt’s Softer Side Robin Givhan December 19, 2011

“It was the law of the jungle, especially for the big guys,” bean says of 1990s Russia .
Oligarch v. Oligarch: London’s Courts Attract Litigious Tycoons Mike Giglio July 22, 2012

This has occurred with bean bag chairs, children’s sweaters, and the Coco The Monkey Teething Toy.
9-Year Old With an Uzi? America Is Tougher on Toys Than Guns Cliff Schecter August 27, 2014

Together we grimly ingested dishes of MSG with bean sprouts on the side.
The Capital Goes Nuts Simon Schama November 5, 2008

I was offered my first book contract, for The bean Trees, the day I came home from the hospital with my first child.
Barbara Kingsolver: How I Write Noah Charney December 4, 2012

Historical Examples

Dan, nearly ten, and fast growing into a bean pole, was considered old beyond his years.
Dan Carter Cub Scout Mildred A. Wirt

Remove the strings with a knife, and take off both ends of the bean.
Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches Eliza Leslie

A cloud of the perfume of a West Indian bean went up from it, sweet and warm.
Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

If the water is hard, a piece of soda the size of a bean should be added.
The Skilful Cook Mary Harrison

After all, when Bunthorne asked for a not-too-French French bean he showed more commonsense than he intended.
Books and Characters Lytton Strachey

noun
any of various leguminous plants of the widely cultivated genus Phaseolus producing edible seeds in pods See French bean, lima bean, scarlet runner, string bean
any of several other leguminous plants that bear edible pods or seeds, such as the broad bean and soya bean
any of various other plants whose seeds are produced in pods or podlike fruits
the seed or pod of any of these plants
any of various beanlike seeds, such as coffee
(US & Canadian, slang) another word for head
(slang) cool beans, excellent; impressive
(slang) not have a bean, to be without money: I haven’t got a bean
(informal) full of beans

full of energy and vitality
(US) mistaken; erroneous

(informal) spill the beans, to disclose something confidential
verb
(mainly US & Canadian, slang) (transitive) to hit (a person) on the head
n.

Old English bean “bean, pea, legume,” from Proto-Germanic *bauno (cf. Old Norse baun, Middle Dutch bone, Dutch boon, Old High German bona, German Bohne), perhaps from a PIE reduplicated base *bha-bha- and related to Latin faba “bean.”

As a metaphor for “something of small value” it is attested from c.1300. Meaning “head” is U.S. baseball slang c.1905 (in bean-ball “a pitch thrown at the head”); thus slang verb bean meaning “to hit on the head,” attested from 1910.

The notion of lucky or magic beans in English folklore is from the exotic beans or large seeds that wash up occasionally in Cornwall and western Scotland, carried from the Caribbean or South America by the Gulf Stream. They were cherished, believed to ward off the evil eye and aid in childbirth.

Slang bean-counter “accountant” recorded by 1971. To not know beans (American English, 1933) is perhaps from the “of little worth” sense, but may have a connection to colloquial expression recorded around Somerset, to know how many beans make five “be a clever fellow.”

noun phrase

Something regarded as the most important element: the be-all and end-all of series finales

[1605; fr Shakespeare’s Macbeth, ”That but this blow Might be the be all, and the end all.”]

JavaBeans
see:

full of beans
not have a bean
not know beans
not worth a dime (bean)
spill the beans
tough break (beans)

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