Definition of bean in English:

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Pronunciation: /biːn/


1An edible seed, typically kidney-shaped, growing in long pods on certain leguminous plants: a tin of beans beans on toast [as modifier]: a bean casserole
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.
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 runner bean (P. coccineus), French bean (P. vulgaris), and broad bean (Vicia faba).
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 (North American also beans) [with negative] informal A very small amount or nothing at all of something (used emphatically): there is not a single bean of substance in the report
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.
3.1Used in reference to money: he didn’t have a bean
More example sentences
  • I don't think Selina would even bid one bean for me.
  • Lio and Tracy have just spent their entire savings buying their first house and don't have a bean to spend on décor.
  • I have not one bean to my name after the UK jaunt.
4 informal, dated A person’s head, especially when regarded as a source of common sense: this morning the old bean seems to be functioning in a slow way
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
Hit (someone) on the head: she picked up a rock and beaned him on the forehead
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: she was laughing and shouting and generally full of beans
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.

know how many beans make five

British informal Be sensible and intelligent: Emily certainly knew how many beans made five
More example sentences
  • If you're bursting with fresh ideas, can't wait to live, breathe, and eat fresh soups, sauces etc., and can tell celery from celeriac, know how many beans make five, we'd love to hear from you.
  • We can even buy Private Eye and indulge its falsely comforting view of a man who is too dumb to know how many beans make five.
  • He could have made a good living as a buyer for a supermarket as they also know how many beans make five - million or billion, that is.

old bean

British informal, dated A friendly form of address 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.

  • Beans have long been a basic foodstuff. To spill the beans, ‘to reveal a secret’ is an American expression from the early 20th century. Full of beans, ‘lively, in high spirits’, first recorded in the mid 19th century, originally referred to horses. Beans were one of their staple foods and a well-fed horse would be full of energy and vitality. As an insulting term for an accountant, bean-counter is another US term, originating in the 1970s. The rather dated bean meaning ‘the head’ is also originally from the US. It lives on in the close-fitting hat, the beanie [1940].

Words that rhyme with bean

Aberdeen, Amin, aquamarine, baleen, been, beguine, Benin, between, canteen, careen, Claudine, clean, contravene, convene, cuisine, dean, Dene, e'en, eighteen, fascine, fedayeen, fifteen, figurine, foreseen, fourteen, Francine, gean, gene, glean, gombeen, green, Greene, Halloween, intervene, Janine, Jean, Jeannine, Jolene, Kean, keen, Keene, Ladin, langoustine, latrine, lean, limousine, machine, Maclean, magazine, Malines, margarine, marine, Mascarene, Massine, Maxine, mean, Medellín, mesne, mien, Moline, moreen, mujahedin, Nadine, nankeen, Nazarene, Nene, nineteen, nougatine, obscene, palanquin, peen, poteen, preen, quean, Rabin, Racine, ramin, ravine, routine, Sabine, saltine, sardine, sarin, sateen, scene, screen, seen, serene, seventeen, shagreen, shebeen, sheen, sixteen, spleen, spring-clean, squireen, Steen, submarine, supervene, tambourine, tangerine, teen, terrine, thirteen, transmarine, treen, tureen, Tyrrhene, ultramarine, umpteen, velveteen, wean, ween, Wheen, yean

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