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the bill of a bird; neb.
any similar horny mouthpart in other animals, as the turtle or duckbill.
anything beaklike or ending in a point, as the spout of a pitcher.
Slang. a person’s nose.
Entomology, proboscis (def 3).
Botany. a narrowed or prolonged tip.
Nautical. (formerly) a metal or metal-sheathed projection from the bow of a warship, used to ram enemy vessels; ram; rostrum.
Typography. a serif on the arm of a character, as of a K.
Also called bird’s beak. Architecture. a pendant molding forming a drip, as on the soffit of a cornice.
Chiefly British Slang.

a judge; magistrate.
a schoolmaster.

Contemporary Examples

The Duck Dynasty congressman got caught sticking his beak in the wrong place.
Duck Dynasty Congressman In Sex Scandal Ben Jacobs April 6, 2014

I also like a bird’s beak knife, for fiddly decorative things like making radish flowers and skinning apples in one long peel.
The 2012 Holiday Kitchen Gift Guide Megan McArdle December 12, 2012

The key part of the costume, beyond the head-to-toe fabric, was the beak.
It’s Not Time to Worry About China’s Plague Just Yet Kent Sepkowitz July 22, 2014

Historical Examples

It kept opening and shutting its beak excitedly and uttering sharp cries, as if calling everyone to come and see the fight.
In the Morning of Time Charles G. D. Roberts

All I do know was, that I was brought before a beak and charged with stealing.
Australia Revenged Boomerang

The beak is large, short, covered, and convex; the upper exceeding the lower chap.
Oregon and Eldorado Thomas Bulfinch

He brought them alive in his beak, and gave them to his companion.
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 3, August, 1850. Various

It stuns him, and if he recovers from that his beak is usually broken so that he must starve.
Field and Hedgerow Richard Jefferies

My master’s a law-cove, and he’ll ‘ave y’ up before the beak.
The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume

The nose alone was natural; it stood up thin and hooked, like the beak of an eagle.
The Prince of India, Volume I Lew. Wallace

the projecting jaws of a bird, covered with a horny sheath; bill
any beaklike mouthpart in other animals, such as turtles
(slang) a person’s nose, esp one that is large, pointed, or hooked
any projecting part, such as the pouring lip of a bucket
(architect) the upper surface of a cornice, which slopes out to throw off water
(chem) the part of a still or retort through which vapour passes to the condenser
(nautical) another word for ram (sense 5)
a Brit slang word for judge, magistrate, headmaster, schoolmaster

mid-13c., “bird’s bill,” from Old French bec “beak,” figuratively “mouth,” also “tip or point of a nose, a lance, a ship, a shoe,” from Latin beccus (cf. Italian becco, Spanish pico), said by Suetonius (“De vita Caesarum” 18) to be of Gaulish origin, perhaps from Gaulish beccus, possibly related to Celtic stem bacc- “hook.” Or there may be a link in Old English becca “pickax, sharp end.” Jocular sense of “human nose” is from 1854 (but also was used mid-15c. in the same sense).


A mayor, magistrate, or trial judge •Still current in British slang (1830s+)
The nose: The beak-buster in the opening round was the first punch Moore had thrown


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