There are 2 main definitions of bed in English:

Share this entry

bed 1

Pronunciation: /bed/


1A piece of furniture for sleep or rest, typically a framework with a mattress and coverings: a large double bed she was in bed by nine getting out of bed is a real struggle
More example sentences
  • Many of these fires happen when someone falls asleep in bed or on upholstered furniture such as a sofa while smoking.
  • If your pain is severe, your doctor may suggest that you rest in bed for a day or two.
  • The bed was the largest piece of furniture in the room and stood against the south wall, opposite the door.
cot, cradle, crib, berth;
brass bed, bunk bed, camp bed, canopy bed, captain's bed, daybed, featherbed
trademark Hide-A-Bed, Murphy bed, sofa bed, spool bed, trundle bed, waterbed, divan, futon, four-poster
informal the sack, the hay
1.1A bed and associated facilities making up a place for a patient in a hospital or for a guest at a hotel: a round of hospital staff layoffs and bed closings few can afford a bed in a hotel
More example sentences
  • Nurses working for the Auckland Mental Health Service are refusing to admit patients unless hospitals have beds and staff available.
  • He said he recognised that acute hospitals had beds occupied by patients who could be discharged if appropriate facilities were available.
  • ‘The targets have meant hospitals pushing patients through beds even when they should be closed for cleaning to get rid of infection,’ he said.
1.2A place or article used by a person or animal for sleep or rest: a bed of straw
More example sentences
  • Life is austere and, as his fellow workers do, he makes and sleeps in a straw bed.
  • He walks outside and heads for the barn where he finds Stuart and Nick hard at work forking new hay for the animals' beds.
  • I pushed past him into the small room and set the child down on the circular bed of animal furs as gently as possible.
1.3The time for sleeping: a glass of milk before bed
More example sentences
  • She does well with her routine, bed at 7pm generally sleeping through to 5am.
  • Around eight in 10 who ate 20g of Stilton before bed had bizarre visions in their sleep.
  • I had spent a wonderful day at the London Aquarium but it was finally time for bed so I curled up and went to sleep.
1.4 informal Used with reference to a bed as the typical place for sexual activity: some men care very little about pleasing their partners in bed she’d gone to bed with Tony
More example sentences
  • I'm pretty good in bed if I do say so myself.
  • She also says that any man who's obsessed with football is terrible in bed.
  • Here is a lovely guy who is kind, generous and good to me and who is great in bed and I am telling him to back off - why?
2The bottom of the sea or a lake or river: the gravelly bed of the stream
More example sentences
  • The lads are covering a total distance of 144 miles, across sand, stones, mountains, dried lakes, river beds and dunes.
  • A mystery remains, however, over the way features resembling flood plains, river beds and gorges were created on Mars.
  • The little silvery streams criss-crossing the river bed are enough for them to eke out a living.
bottom, floor, ground
2.1A place on the seabed where shellfish, especially oysters or mussels, breed or are bred: vast beds of oysters
More example sentences
  • After the island came a long beach stroll; oystercatchers plundered the mussel beds and crows feasted on small crabs.
  • The island has an untouched oyster bed while the general area has mussel and cockle beds.
  • Oyster beds can really get messed up by a big storm coming through.
3An area of ground, typically in a garden, where flowers and plants are grown: a bed of tulips vegetable beds
More example sentences
  • As soon as the ground can be worked, dig or till compost or other organic matter into the soil to prepare flower and vegetable beds for spring planting.
  • The best camellias are usually grown in beds or in areas where the soil and surroundings offer a friendly home for them.
  • Therefore, roses are generally most successful if grown in beds away from large plants.
patch, plot, border, strip
4A stratum or layer of rock: a bed of clay
More example sentences
  • Within the Wessex Formation there are two beds of potential stratigraphic significance.
  • The vivianite occurs in dark brown and dark gray beds of glacial silt and clay.
  • Offset by the blue of sky, the massive beds of rock stand out in surprising colours.
5A layer of food on which other foods are served: the salad is served on a bed of raw spinach
More example sentences
  • Chilli peppers are included in a mixture of minced lamb and flavourings served on a bed of Basmati rice.
  • Serve hot on a bed of onion, tomato and cucumber rings and plenty of tomato sauce or any chutney of your choice.
  • The baked lamb is served on the bed of rice liberally garnished with almonds and ghee.
6A flat base or foundation on which something rests or is supported: place each paver on a bed of concrete
6.1The foundation of a road or railroad: the rubble and dirt will help to provide a stable bed for the new road
More example sentences
  • Workers again placed concrete mud beds on the subgrade under the drains and attached angle iron to them with concrete anchors.
  • Three and a half years passed by, but not one mile of road bed or train tracks was made.
  • When the train stopped our car was positioned well beyond the station area over the gravel road bed.
6.2chiefly North American The open part of a truck, wagon, or railroad car, where goods are carried: the spare tire in the forward bed of the truck
More example sentences
  • In one, he's standing beside the open bed of a pickup truck on which lies a giant, dead buck.
  • Teenagers sat in the beds of pickup trucks with their hands covering their open mouths.
  • We see them in sports bars, dark lounges, or spilling from the beds of pick-up trucks.
6.3The flat surface beneath the baize of a billiard table.
Example sentences
  • The profile of the rail cushion, which is the cushion's angle in relation to the bed of the table, varies between table types.
  • Candle light was replaced by oil lamps, but a tray was still necessary to prevent drips of oil from damaging the cloth covering the bed of the table.
  • Because the beds of these tables were made of wood, they warped within just a few years.

verb (beds, bedding, bedded)

1 [no object] Settle down to sleep or rest for the night, typically in an improvised place: he usually bedded down on newspapers in the church porch
More example sentences
  • After several hours of chatting and singing, the night grew late and the people began to bed down to sleep.
  • The Avenue features street kids, many of whom live from night to night, bedding down wherever they can find shelter.
  • The rest bedded down in one of the shelters, detox centres, hospital emergency departments, or police cells.
1.1 (bed someone/something down) Settle a person or animal down to sleep or rest for the night.
Example sentences
  • We bedded him down on Friday night, tired and a little drunk, in the living room, at 2am, next to a radiator and directly opposite the morning sun, which our house faces.
  • Stable boys were bedding the horses down for the night or sweeping the stabling area clean.
  • The other horses were brought in and the two girls were kept busy, fetching fresh water and hay for the horses, while the horsemen groomed the animals and bedded them down.
1.2 informal Have sexual intercourse with: he should bed a woman his own age
More example sentences
  • She wooed her by writing her a fabulous part in the nursing academy's Christmas play, and bedded her in the dormitory soon after.
  • Rock musicians spend all their time bedding models and ingesting narcotics.
  • You don't deserve a man who's killed other men and bedded other women.
2Transfer (a plant) from a pot or seed tray to a garden plot: I bedded out these houseplants
More example sentences
  • I have bedded my tomato plants in the greenhouse and some more in the veg patch, whilst the wife has potted her crab apple tree in the planter.
  • I dealt with it by spending the day in the garden, potting and bedding-in a batch of new flowers.
  • Some fifteen boxes of daylilies and irises were sent over last weekend, and they will need to be bedded soon.
3 (usually be bedded in/on) Fix firmly; embed: the posts should be firmly bedded in concrete
More example sentences
  • He commented on the ease with which slabs were removed, demonstrating that they were not firmly bedded to 75% depth in accordance with our printed recommendations.
  • The track in Australia is not deeply bedded on a firm base and much of it lacks proper drainage.
  • She returned to the task of bolting together the sides of her small greenhouse and bedding them into the soil.
3.1Lay or arrange (something, especially stone) in a layer.
Example sentences
  • The Formation with a total thickness of 2,500 m in the area generally consists of calcareous sandstone, greywacke and silt interbeds, with some massive and median-thickly bedded limestones.
  • The veins extend perpendicularly from the thrust fault across the skarn and pinch out in overlying rhythmically bedded limestone.
  • The sedimentary rocks are well bedded and dominated by mudstones with beds 2-5 m thick.



bed of nails

A board with nails pointing out of it, as lain on by fakirs and ascetics.
Example sentences
  • He watches a fakir twirl on his nose on a bed of nails.
  • It's like walking on broken glass, lying on a bed of nails and having a concrete block broken on your chest.
  • The devoted England fan who showed his passion by lying on a bed of nails during the clash with Brazil has been invited to go to Japan and repeat the performance - during the World Cup final.
1.1A problematic or uncomfortable situation.
Example sentences
  • Motherhood is a bed of nails that requires a lot of adjustment before you can get comfortable.
  • So a third term for the prime minister would immediately be a bed of nails unless he made major concessions to his critics.
  • However, those who suffered extreme injustice would have to go through a tough test before they were permitted to see the local governor - they would have to lie on a bed of nails.

bed of roses

[often with negative] Used in reference to a situation or activity that is comfortable or easy: farming is no bed of roses
More example sentences
  • There are hardly any women in racing and it is not a bed of roses, but I keep my head down and let my driving do the talking.
  • People think that life is a bed of roses if you're a professional golfer, but life is very hard on the Challenge Tour.
  • We've been told, by countless shrinks and well-meaning friends, that marriage is no everlasting bed of roses.

be brought to bed

archaic (Of a woman) give birth to a child: she was brought to bed of a daughter
More example sentences
  • Nine months later she was brought to bed of a son.
  • In early fall Estelle was brought to bed of the child.
  • When the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.

get up on the wrong side of the bed

Start the day in a bad temper.
Example sentences
  • Either he got up on the wrong side of the bed today, or he's just fed up with the Franco-German international shuffle.
  • Woah, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed!
  • O.K., I see she got up on the wrong side of the bed.

in bed with

informal Having sexual intercourse with: he found his wife in bed with one of the neighbors
More example sentences
  • He found his wife in bed with another man, shot them both, and then himself.
  • In June of that year, he came home from work one night and found his wife in bed with another man.
  • Then one day, you're gonna come home and find your wife in bed with another man.
5.1In undesirably close association with: these meetings with politicians put the gay movement in bed with the dreaded Establishment
More example sentences
  • How can my views have any validity if they put me in bed with either of the above?
  • It does sound too much like our reporters are in bed with the military.
  • You should choose someone who doesn't have a history of being in bed with the bad guys.

make a bed

Fit a bed with sheets, blankets, and pillows.
Example sentences
  • Symptoms can include fatigue from simple activities like walking up stairs or making a bed.
  • I can't believe you can set up camp, masterfully handle a sword, and courageously do battle, but you can't make a bed?
  • She goes into incredible detail on everything from how to make a bed to frying an egg on the Aga.

put someone to bed

Take or prepare someone, typically a child, for rest in bed: Clare put her to bed and gave her a mug of cocoa
More example sentences
  • I had the pleasure of cooking dinner, feeding, bathing and putting Franklin to bed on my own.
  • Denise said the accident happened after she had been putting Cameron to bed in his own bedroom and someone knocked at the door.
  • Tonight, as I was changing Alex before putting her to bed, she did something she never did before.

put a newspaper to bed

informal Prepare a newspaper for press.
Example sentences
  • The vast amount of our usage is not taken from the paper, it's content we produce once the newspaper is put to bed.
  • The news was one of two late good news breaks about the health service as we put the newspaper to bed on Thursday afternoon.
  • Eventually it was done, the paper was put to bed, set up on the printing press and rolled out for dispatch.

take to one's bed

Stay in bed because of illness.
Example sentences
  • By the time she mounted the carriage for her dress fitting, she was ready to take to her bed and cry illness for the next few weeks.
  • In 1896 she again took to her bed, this time to stay.
  • Last night I took to my bed at the early hour of eight, and spent a hoarse night waking a lot and feeling crampy and sorry for myself.


Old English bed, bedd (noun), beddian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bed and German Bett.

  • The core idea of this Old English word may be ‘digging’, as if the very first beds were dug-out lairs or hollows. Medieval uses of to make a bed refer to the preparation of a sleeping place on the floor of an open hall, one which would not have existed until ‘made’. The term bed and breakfast first appeared in the late 19th century—in 1910 a ‘residential hotel’ is recorded offering ‘Bed and breakfast from 4/-’ (4 shillings or, in modern British currency, 20 pence). In the 1970s the phrase began to describe the financial practice of bed-and-breakfasting, in which dealers sell shares late in the day and buy them back early the next morning to gain a tax advantage.

Words that rhyme with bed

abed, ahead, behead, Birkenhead, bled, bread, bred, coed, cred, crossbred, dead, dread, Ed, embed, Enzed, fed, fled, Fred, gainsaid, head, infrared, ked, lead, led, Med, misled, misread, Ned, outspread, premed, pure-bred, read, red, redd, said, samoyed, shed, shred, sked, sled, sped, Spithead, spread, stead, ted, thread, tread, underbred, underfed, wed

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bed

Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of bed in English:

Share this entry

BEd 2

Pronunciation: /bēˈed/


Bachelor of Education.
Example sentences
  • Rose of Tralee Orla O'Shea swapped her tiara for a mortarboard yesterday when she graduated from Mary Immaculate teacher training college in Limerick.Orla, who was conferred with a BEd, teaches in a girls' school in Swords, Co Dublin.
  • He is studying for a BEd in English Literature and works as a freelance journalist.
  • He did his BEd. and MA in Economics from AMU and topped the list of successful candidates in MA for which he was awarded University Medal.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: BEd

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.