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material composed of or adorned with beads.
narrow, lacelike trimming or edging.
narrow openwork trimming through which ribbon may be run.
Architecture, Furniture.

a bead molding.
all of the bead moldings in a single design.

a small, usually round object of glass, wood, stone, or the like with a hole through it, often strung with others of its kind in necklaces, rosaries, etc.

a necklace of beads:
You don’t have your beads on this evening.
a rosary.
Obsolete. devotions; prayers.

any small globular or cylindrical body.
a drop of liquid:
beads of moisture.
a bubble rising through effervescent liquid.
Usually, beads. a mass of such bubbles on the surface of a liquid.
the front sight of a rifle or gun.
a reinforced area of a rubber tire terminating the sidewall and fitting within the rim of a wheel.
Electricity. a glass, ceramic, or plastic insulator that contains and supports the inner conductor in a coaxial cable.
Chemistry. a globule of borax or some other flux, supported on a platinum wire, in which a small amount of some substance is heated in a flame as a test for its constituents.
Metallurgy. the rounded mass of refined metal obtained by cupellation.
Architecture, Furniture. a small molding having a convex circular section and, usually, a continuous cylindrical surface; astragal.
Welding. a continuous deposit of fused metal, either straight (stringer bead) or zigzag (weave bead)
to form or cause to form beads or a bead on.
to ornament with beads.
Carpentry. to form a bead on (a piece).
to form beads; form in beads or drops:
perspiration beading on his forehead.
count / say / tell one’s beads, to say one’s prayers, using rosary beads:
There were a few old women counting their beads in the hushed silence of the chapel.
draw / get a bead on, to take careful aim at:
The marksman drew a bead on his target.
Contemporary Examples

Vibrant color surfaced in textile and in beading and embroidery.
How World Wars Made Females More Androgynous Liza Foreman July 21, 2014

For the past few days, 17-year-old Jeanne has been working on a beading project at KOFAVIV.
Haiti’s Horrendous Teenage Prostitution Problem Lisa Armstrong June 16, 2011

Historical Examples

The top may be finished by crocheting a beading and scallops of the colored wool.
Hand-Loom Weaving Mattie Phipps Todd

It bore no ornamentation, save the beading of silver about its edges.
A. D. 2000 Alvarado M. Fuller

Their dress was perfectly superb; it was a close fitting majos dress, ornamented with silver lacing and beading.
The International Magazine, Vol. IV. New-York, December 1, 1851. No. V. Various

beading can be worked on this strip, as shown (see beading).
Woodworking for Beginners Charles Gardner Wheeler

Baste a piece of beading over this raw edge right around the back of the apron.
The Library of Work and Play: Needlecraft Effie Archer Archer

Night wove its shuttle across the sky, beading the dusk with stars.
Caravans By Night Harry Hervey

Allow the deck to project one-eighth of an inch all around; this will serve as a beading around the hull.
Harper’s Young People, July 6, 1880 Various

He could see the beading of sweat about her eyes and lips as she looked up at him.
Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives

another name for bead (sense 6)
Also called beadwork (ˈbiːdˌwɜːk). a narrow strip of some material used for edging or ornamentation
a small usually spherical piece of glass, wood, plastic, etc, with a hole through it by means of which it may be strung with others to form a necklace, etc
a small drop of moisture: a bead of sweat
a small bubble in or on a liquid
a small metallic knob acting as the sight of a firearm
draw a bead on, to aim a rifle or pistol at
(architect, carpentry) Also called astragal. a small convex moulding having a semicircular cross section
(chem) a small solid globule made by fusing a powdered sample with borax or a similar flux on a platinum wire. The colour of the globule serves as a test for the presence of certain metals (bead test)
(metallurgy) a deposit of welding metal on the surface of a metal workpiece, often used to examine the structure of the weld zone
(RC Church) one of the beads of a rosary
count one’s beads, say one’s beads, tell one’s beads, to pray with a rosary
(transitive) to decorate with beads
to form into beads or drops

mid-14c., bede “prayer bead,” from Old English gebed “prayer,” with intensive or collective prefix *ge- + Proto-Germanic *bidjan “to pray, entreat” (cf. Middle Dutch bede, Old High German beta, German bitte, Gothic bida “prayer, request”), from PIE *gwhedh- “to ask, pray.” Shift in meaning came via beads threaded on a string to count prayers, and in phrases like to bid one’s beads, to count one’s beads. German cognate Bitte is the usual word for conversational request “please.” Also related to bid (Old English biddan) and Gothic bidjan “to ask, pray.” Sense transferred to “drop of liquid” 1590s; to “small knob forming front sight of a gun” 1831 (Kentucky slang); hence draw a bead on “take aim at,” 1841, U.S. colloquial.

1570s, “to adorn with beads,” from bead (n.). Meaning “to string like beads” is from 1883. Related: Beaded; beading.


: a ballyhoo expert


Advertising or publicity, esp of a raucous and colorful sort; flack, hype: to peddle a product with sheer ballyhoo


: They ballyhooed him right into office

[1908+; ”a short sample of a sideshow, presented with a barker’s spiel”]
see: draw a bead on


Read Also:

  • Beadle

    a parish officer having various subordinate duties, as keeping order during services, waiting on the rector, etc. sexton (def 2). George Wells, 1903–1989, U.S. biologist and educator: Nobel Prize in Medicine 1958. Historical Examples He was ordered to take it off, and when he refused, it was removed by a beadle. The Reign of Mary […]

  • Beadledom

    a stupid or officious display or exercise of authority, as by petty officials. Historical Examples And then beadledom seemed crazed, and, joined with the many ale-bibbers, were turned out to do good service in the show. The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth Timothy Templeton noun petty officialdom

  • Beadroll

    noun (archaic) a list of persons for whom prayers are to be offered Historical Examples To Jock himself it gave a keen momentary pang to see his own name only third in that beadroll of honour; but so it was. Sir Tom Mrs. Oliphant In our beadroll of the world’s greatest writers I shall mention […]

  • Beadsman

    a person who prays for another as a duty, especially when paid. an inmate of a poorhouse; almsman. Historical Examples “I ken that baith you and I are owre lang here,” replied the beadsman, as he hurried out. Wilson’s Tales of the Borders and of Scotland Various A beadsman was an inmate of an almshouse […]

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