Definition of bean in English:


Syllabification: bean
Pronunciation: /bēn


  • 1An edible seed, typically kidney-shaped, growing in long pods on certain leguminous plants.
    More example sentences
    • We went to Notcutts and bought some compost since my bean seedlings are growing into triffids and need planting out ASAP.
    • About half the nation's $629 million dry edible bean crop is grown in those two states and Michigan.
    • There are also shell beans (lima, navy, kidney, mung, garbanzo and soya) that you can grow just for the bean seeds inside the pod.
  • 1.1The hard seed of coffee, cocoa, and certain other plants.
    More example sentences
    • Some of the world's largest industries are built around beans: coffee and cocoa, for example.
    • Cocoa processing (crushing the beans to form cocoa powder and butter) is far more profitable than cocoa growing.
    • Cocoa beans contain copper and most of the mineral remains preserved after the beans are processed into cocoa or chocolate.
  • 2A leguminous plant that bears beans in pods.
    • Phaseolus and other genera, family Leguminosae: numerous species, including the scarlet runner (P. coccineus), kidney bean (P. vulgaris), and broad bean (Vicia faba)
    More example sentences
    • One warning: do not plant near beans, caraway, tomatoes, coriander or wormwood-they do not work well together.
    • Hyacinth bean, a vigorous annual vine, can quickly cover an arbor during one season.
    • Ricin, one of the deadliest naturally occurring poisons, is derived from castor plant beans, which are grown worldwide to produce castor oil.
  • 3 [with negative] (also beans) informal A very small amount or nothing at all of something (used emphatically): there is not a single bean of substance in the report I didn’t know beans about being a step-parent
    More example sentences
    • Having the world's best beans doesn't mean beans unless they are roasted correctly.
    • When it comes to small businesses, the net profit doesn't mean beans because the seller is doing everything possible to keep this number low to avoid taxes.
    • There really isn't much to recycle in the ordinary light bulb, even the combination of glass and metal doesn't amount to beans.
  • 4 informal A person’s head, typically when regarded as a source of common sense.
    More example sentences
    • You gotta use your bean to get this right so, as they say in the military, listen up.
    • Every time you make a decision, take any action on your own responsibility, give and order or use your bean, you are preparing yourself for greater opportunities.
    • Why doesn't Foley use his bean and draft legislation prohibiting tornadoes from entering or coming near to trailer parks?


[with object] informal , chiefly North American Back to top  
  • Hit (someone) on the head: Boone was nearly beaned by that wild pitch
    More example sentences
    • That felt better until a bunch of 12-year-olds started beaning me in the head with their tubes.
    • During the fifth inning though she was beaned by the ball while the opponent was at bat.
    • They're still waiting, in part because his 1998 season was ruined when he was beaned at midseason, and then he struggled with his confidence.


full of beans

informal Lively; in high spirits.
More example sentences
  • Chirpy, smiley, full of beans - these are just some of the words which do not describe first-time quarter-finalist David Gray.
  • When I last spoke to her yesterday she was full of beans, very cheerful and chirpy, so I deduce from that that all was going well.
  • They were lovely kids: bright, intelligent and full of beans.

a hill (or row) of beans

[with negative] Anything of any importance or value: three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world
More example sentences
  • Ms. Hill, you see, favors people who are ‘diverse,’ which apparently means any and all who agree with her, and she doesn't care a hill of beans for anyone else, of whatever hue or gender.
  • When Bogart said to Bergman in Casablanca: ‘The problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world,’ he could not have been more incorrect.
  • The problems of three or three hundred or three hundred thousand little bloggers don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

old bean

British informal dated A friendly form of address, usually to a man: great to see you, old bean!
More example sentences
  • Nice to see you thinking outside the box, old bean.
  • But when you remember you're hundreds of feet up in a great chunk of Victorian genius, you doff your hat and remember your place, old bean.
  • I always think of him saying something like ‘you simply have to, old bean, you simply have to!’


Old English bēan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch boon and German Bohne.

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody