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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.

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.
Contemporary Examples

The next time they met, in 1976, Ellis beaned him in the face.
‘No No,’ a Documentary on MLB Pitcher Dock Ellis, Who Pitched a No-Hitter While Tripping on Acid Marlow Stern February 4, 2014

Historical Examples

The player had been “beaned,” and his fear of a recurrence was so strong that he became “plate shy.”
A Practical Guide to Self-Hypnosis Melvin Powers

I’ll just bet you’d ‘a’ beaned me one with that as soon as not, eh, Miss Deane?
Find the Woman Arthur Somers Roche

He also recognized the one he had beaned with the kitten in the pyramid.
The Egyptian Cat Mystery Harold Leland Goodwin

On a bet, that’s the lad who wore the chauffeur’s cap and beaned the night watchman.
Dorothy Dixon Wins Her Wings Dorothy Wayne

When he knocked on the door, I opened up and beaned him with the poker.
Dorothy Dixon and the Double Cousin Dorothy Wayne

Then the Martian picked up a rock and beaned the lad from the Windy City.
Mars Confidential Jack Lait

I seen the whole thing myself—it was right after that that I got beaned.
From Place to Place Irvin S. Cobb

I reckon that feller must have beaned me with the butt of his revolver just as soon as I’d turned my back.
Dorothy Dixon Wins Her Wings Dorothy Wayne

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
(mainly US & Canadian, slang) (transitive) to hit (a person) on the head

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.”]

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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