Middle English bec, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin beccus, from Gaulish beccus, *bekkos, from Proto-Celtic *bekkos (“beak, snout”), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bak-, *baḱ- (“pointed stick, peg”). Cognate with Breton beg (“beak”).
beak (plural beaks)
- A rigid structure projecting from the front of a bird's face, used for pecking, grooming and for eating food.
- A similar structure forming the jaws of an octopus, turtle, etc.
- The long projecting sucking mouth of some insects and other invertebrates, as in the Hemiptera.
- The upper or projecting part of the shell, near the hinge of a bivalve.
- The prolongation of certain univalve shells containing the canal.
- (nautical) The metal point fixed on the bows of a war galley, used as a ram.
- (slang) A justice of the peace, magistrate, headmaster or other person of authority.
- He's up before the beak again tomorrow.
- I clapp'd my peepers full of tears, and so the old beak set me free; I began to weep, and the judge set me free.
2014 January 24, Matthew Norman, “Hercules of the Yard can fix boorish Britain: There's a long list of possible miscreants for the Essex PC who made a splash over a puddle [print version: 25 January 2014]”, The Daily Telegraph, page 27:
- That an unnamed 22-year-old will be up before the Colchester beak in March under the Road Traffic Act's recherché section 3 – covering inconsiderate driving and with a maximum fine of £5,000 – may at first sight seem a facetious use of court resources.
- (slang) The human nose, especially one that is large and pointed.
- Anything projecting or ending in a point, like a beak, such as a promontory of land.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Carew to this entry?)
- A beam, shod or armed at the end with a metal head or point, and projecting from the prow of an ancient galley, in order to pierce the vessel of an enemy; a beakhead.
- (nautical) That part of a ship, before the forecastle, which is fastened to the stem, and supported by the main knee.
- (architecture) A continuous slight projection ending in an arris or narrow fillet; that part of a drip from which the water is thrown off.
- (botany) Any process somewhat like the beak of a bird, terminating the fruit or other parts of a plant.
- (farriery) A toe clip.
- 2009, Ranko Matasović, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, page 60: