- 1A bird’s horny projecting jaws; a bill: a parent bird with a caterpillar in its beakMore example sentences
- New research suggests that as testosterone in male birds increases, so does the level of carotenoids, the chemicals that create the bright coloring on birds' feathers, beaks, and legs.
- Whether the flightless birds used their beaks to impale or bludgeon their prey is unknown, Chiappe says.
- As a trombone player pulls in the slide to make a higher frequency sound by reducing the volume of the tube, so does a bird open its beak and pull back its head to reduce the volume of its vocal tract.
- 1.1The horny projecting jaw of animals other than birds, for example a turtle or squid.More example sentences
- Over the years whalers have reported finding a high number of large squid beaks in the mammals' stomachs, pegging sperm whales as primary predators of large squid.
- The whalers often discovered giant squid beaks inside the stomachs of these whales.
- The upper and the lower jaws were certainly covered with horny beaks in life, like the beak in turtles and, it can be assumed, in the Triassic rhynchosaurs.
- 1.2 • informal A person’s nose: she can’t wait to stick her beak inMore example sentences
- The vicious girlfriends are smart enough to realize how terribly they've behaved, but their solution is simply to stick their beaks into Kate's affairs again.
- Do the inhabitants of North Korean gulags take comfort that the hegemonic monster of US imperialism is unable to stick its beak into the criminal justice system they were sentenced under.
- The whole group of servants tried to stifle their giggles but Aimée's mother turned and shot an evil glare at them over her beak of a nose.
- 1.3A projection at the prow of an ancient warship, typically shaped to resemble the head of a bird or other animal, used to pierce the hulls of enemy ships.More example sentences
- ‘Heads’ was the name given to that part of sailing ships forward of the forecastle and around the beak which was used by the crew as their lavatory.
- The corvus crashed downward, its beak driving into the other ship's deck, whereupon Roman infantry dashed across.
- The designs on Bronze Age metalwork and rock carvings show boats with a beak at the prow.
- [in combination]: a yellow-beaked alpine choughMore example sentences
- In the earliest known post-Tapinocephalus Zone fauna of southern Africa (where the fossil record for late Permian tetrapods is most complete), new groups of big herbivores - the beaked and toothless dicynodonts - appear.
- Of those groups only the higher Dicynodontia were to be successful, and in fact these stocky, toothless and beaked animals remained the dominant terrestrial herbivores right up until the Carnian epoch (Late Triassic period).
- Many species will specialize on certain types of seeds; small beaked sparrows eat small seeds, large beaked sparrows eat large seeds.
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- Avicularia are small heterozooids in which the zooecium and operculum form a beak-like, snapping structure that deters small predators.
- Modern monotremes lack teeth as adults; sutures are hard to see; the rostrum is elongate, beak-like, and covered by a leathery sheath; and lacrimal bones are absent.
- S. vetula have teeth that form beak-like plates, similar to parrots.
Middle English: from Old French bec, from Latin beccus, of Celtic origin.
nounBritish • informal
- A magistrate or a schoolmaster.More example sentences
- In order to help out I moved from the fines court to the Magistrates Court next door and went up before the beak, or beakess on this occasion.
- But the union beaks decreed that because the league regulations were drawn up under English legal guidelines, they had the right to ‘prosecute’ the player under their own procedure.
- That seems a good point to me, particularly in views of recent court cases where greengrocers were up before the beaks just because they sold fruit and veg in pounds when legislation now rules that goods must be sold in metric units.
late 18th century: probably from criminals' slang.