blankets, sheets, etc., used on a bed; bedclothes.
bedclothes together with a matress.
litter; straw, etc., as a bed for animals.
Building Trades.

a foundation or bottom layer.
a thin layer of putty laid in the rabbet of a window frame or muntin to give a pane of glass an even backing.

Geology. arrangement of sedimentary rocks in strata.
Horticulture. of or relating to a plant especially suited to or prepared for planting in an open-air bed for ornamental displays:
bedding hyacinths; bedding begonias.
a piece of furniture upon which or within which a person sleeps, rests, or stays when not well.
the mattress and bedclothes together with the bedstead of a bed.
the bedstead alone.
the act of or time for sleeping:
Now for a cup of cocoa and then bed.
the use of a bed for the night; lodging:
I reserved a bed at the old inn.
the marital relationship.
any resting place:
making his bed under a tree.
something resembling a bed in form or position.
a piece or area of ground in a garden or lawn in which plants are grown.
an area in a greenhouse in which plants are grown.
the plants in such areas.
the bottom of a lake, river, sea, or other body of water.
a piece or part forming a foundation or base.
a layer of rock; a stratum.
a foundation surface of earth or rock supporting a track, pavement, or the like:
a gravel bed for the roadway.
Building Trades.

the underside of a stone, brick, slate, tile, etc., laid in position.
the upper side of a stone laid in position.
the layer of mortar in which a brick, stone, etc., is laid.
the natural stratification of a stone:
a stone laid on bed.

Furniture. skirt (def 6b).
the flat surface in a printing press on which the form of type is laid.
Transportation. the body or, sometimes, the floor or bottom of a truck or trailer.
Chemistry. a compact mass of a substance functioning in a reaction as a catalyst or reactant.

the canvas surface of a trampoline.
the smooth, wooden floor of a bowling alley.
the slate surface of a billiard table to which the cloth is fastened.

Zoology. flesh enveloping the base of a claw, especially the germinative layer beneath the claw.
Also called mock, mock mold. Shipbuilding. a shaped steel pattern upon which furnaced plates for the hull of a vessel are hammered to shape.
bed and board.
to provide with a bed.
to put to bed.
Horticulture. to plant in or as in a bed.
to lay flat.
to place in a bed or layer:
to bed oysters.
to embed, as in a substance:
bedding the flagstones in concrete.
to take or accompany to bed for purposes of sexual intercourse.
to have sleeping accommodations:
He says we can bed there for the night.
Geology. to form a compact layer or stratum.
(of a metal structural part) to lie flat or close against another part.
Archaic. to go to bed.
bed down,

to make a bed for (a person, animal, etc.).
to retire to bed:
They put out the fire and decided to bed down for the night.

get up on the wrong side of the bed, to be irritable or bad-tempered from the start of a day:
Never try to reason with him when he’s gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.
go to bed,

to retire, especially for the night.
to engage in sexual relations.

go to bed with, to have sexual intercourse with.
in bed,

beneath the covers of a bed.
engaged in sexual intercourse.

jump / get into bed with, to form a close, often temporary, alliance, usually with an unlikely ally:
Industry was charged with jumping into bed with labor on the issue.
make a bed, to fit a bed with sheets and blankets.
make one’s bed, to be responsible for one’s own actions and their results:
You’ve made your bed—now lie in it.
put to bed,

to help (a child, invalid, etc.) go to bed.
Printing. to lock up (forms) in a press in preparation for printing.
to work on the preparation of (an edition of a newspaper, periodical, etc.) up to the time of going to press.

Contemporary Examples

Rebecca Dana on his upcoming menswear collection, reality-TV projects—and a line of bedding.
Building Brand Lochte Rebecca Dana September 10, 2012

Am I suggesting we give Big Dogs carte blanche to run wild, bedding every pretty young thing who catches their eye?
Let Alpha Males Like David Petraeus Cheat! Michelle Cottle November 13, 2012

As I dragged my bedding into the unit, the deputy handed me a plastic bag.
I Detoxed from Heroin in Jail Tracey Mitchell June 27, 2014

Warren Jeffs, the cult leader with some 100 wives, goes on trial today, charged with bedding girls as young as 12.
Polygamy Power Play Carol McKinley July 24, 2011

The Shanars spent Sunday night out on the deck, with nothing but some pillows and bedding, tossing and turning.
We Survived the Triumph: Passengers Describe Their Doomed Carnival Cruise Winston Ross, Eliza Shapiro, Sam Register February 15, 2013

Historical Examples

There were mattresses on all the beds but on only one was there other bedding.
The Auto Boys’ Mystery James A. Braden

Bed and bedding had gone, piece by piece, to the second-hand dealers of the neighborhood.
L’Assommoir Emile Zola

At times when the nest is placed in hollow trees the bedding consists of powdered wood.
Birds and Nature, Vol. 12 No. 4 [September 1902] Various

He ate his supper and then spread his bedding on the ground just outside the door of the cabin.
Louisiana Lou William West Winter

Again Quimby retired, and returned with a generous armful of bedding, which he threw upon the brass bed in the inner room.
Seven Keys to Baldpate Earl Derr Biggers

bedclothes, sometimes considered together with a mattress
litter, such as straw, for animals
something acting as a foundation, such as mortar under a brick
the arrangement of a mass of rocks into distinct layers; stratification
a piece of furniture on which to sleep
the mattress and bedclothes on such a piece of furniture: an unmade bed
sleep or rest: time for bed
any place in which a person or animal sleeps or rests
(med) a unit of potential occupancy in a hospital or residential institution
(informal) a place for sexual intercourse
(informal) sexual intercourse
a plot of ground in which plants are grown, esp when considered together with the plants in it: a flower bed
the bottom of a river, lake, or sea
a part of this used for cultivation of a plant or animal: oyster beds
a layer of crushed rock, gravel, etc, used as a foundation for a road, railway, etc
a layer of mortar in a masonry wall
the underside of a brick, tile, slate, etc, when in position Compare back1 (sense 12)
any underlying structure or part
a layer of rock, esp sedimentary rock
the flat part of a letterpress printing press onto or against which the type forme is placed
a layer of solid particles of an absorbent, catalyst, or reagent through which a fluid is passed during the course of a chemical reaction or other process
a machine base on which a moving part carrying a tool or workpiece slides: lathe bed
a bed of roses, a situation of comfort or ease
(archaic) to be brought to bed, to give birth (to)
bed of nails

a situation or position of extreme difficulty
a bed studded with nails on which a fakir lies

(informal) get out of bed on the wrong side, to be ill-tempered from the start of the day
go to bed

(often foll by with) to have sexual intercourse (with)
(journalism, printing) (of a newspaper, magazine, etc) to go to press; start printing

(informal) in bed with, cooperating closely with (another person, organization, government, etc.) esp covertly
put to bed

(journalism) to finalize work on (a newspaper, magazine, etc) so that it is ready to go to press
(printing) to lock up the type forme of (a publication) in the press before printing

take to one’s bed, to remain in bed, esp because of illness
verb beds, bedding, bedded
(usually foll by down) to go to or put into a place to sleep or rest
(transitive) to have sexual intercourse with
(transitive) to place, fix, or sink firmly into position; embed
(geology) to form or be arranged in a distinct layer; stratify
(transitive) often foll by out. to plant in a bed of soil
Bachelor of Education

later Old English beddinge “bedding, bed covering,” from bed. Meaning “bottom layer of anything” is from c.1400.

Old English bedd “bed, couch, resting place, garden plot,” from Proto-Germanic *badjam “sleeping place dug in the ground” (cf. Old Frisian, Old Saxon bed, Middle Dutch bedde, Old Norse beðr, Old High German betti, German Bett, Gothic badi “bed”), from PIE root *bhedh- “to dig, pierce” (cf. Hittite beda- “to pierce, prick,” Greek bothyros “pit,” Latin fossa “ditch,” Lithuanian bedre “to dig,” Breton bez “grave”). Both “sleeping” and “gardening” senses are in Old English. Meaning “bottom of a lake, sea, watercourse” is from 1580s.

Old English beddian “to provide with a bed or lodgings,” from bed (n.). From c.1300 as “to go to bed,” also “to copulate with, to go to bed with;” 1440 as “to lay out (land) in plots or beds.” Related: Bedded; bedding.

bed (běd)

A piece of furniture for reclining and sleeping, typically consisting of a flat, rectangular frame and a mattress resting on springs.

Such a piece of furniture used for rest, recuperation, or treatment.

A supporting, underlying, or securing base or structure, especially an anatomical one.


A layer of sediments or rock, such as coal, that extends under a large area and has a distinct set of characteristics that distinguish it from other layers below and above it.

The bottom of a body of water, such as a lake, stream, or ocean.

Related Terms

go to bed, go to bed with someone, hotbed, musical beds, one should have stood in bed
Bachelor of Education

(Heb. mittah), for rest at night (Ex. 8:3; 1 Sam. 19:13, 15, 16, etc.); during sickness (Gen. 47:31; 48:2; 49:33, etc.); as a sofa for rest (1 Sam. 28:23; Amos 3:12). Another Hebrew word (er’es) so rendered denotes a canopied bed, or a bed with curtains (Deut. 3:11; Ps. 132:3), for sickness (Ps. 6:6; 41:3). In the New Testament it denotes sometimes a litter with a coverlet (Matt. 9:2, 6; Luke 5:18; Acts 5:15). The Jewish bedstead was frequently merely the divan or platform along the sides of the house, sometimes a very slight portable frame, sometimes only a mat or one or more quilts. The only material for bed-clothes is mentioned in 1 Sam. 19:13. Sleeping in the open air was not uncommon, the sleeper wrapping himself in his outer garment (Ex. 22:26,27; Deut. 24:12,13).

bed and board
bed and breakfast
bed of roses


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    Saint (“the Venerable Bede”) a.d. 673?–735, English monk, historian, and theologian: wrote earliest history of England. Historical Examples Bede was born in Northumbria, about 673, the time when the final conversion of England was being accomplished. A Literary History of the English People Jean Jules Jusserand Then—Bede says that they were punished for this sin—the […]

  • Bedecked

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  • Bedeguar

    a gall on roses, especially the sweetbrier, produced by a gall wasp. Historical Examples bedeguar, bed′e-gar, n. a soft spongy gall found on the branches of some species of roses, esp. Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D) Various

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