beak

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bec, borrowed from Anglo-Norman bec, Old French bec, from Latin beccus, from Gaulish *bekkos, from Proto-Celtic *bekkos (beak, snout), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bak-, *baḱ- (pointed stick, peg). Cognate with Breton beg (beak). Compare Saterland Frisian Bäk (mouth; muzzle; beak); Dutch bek (beak; bill; neb)

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia
  • (UK) IPA(key): /biːk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːk

Noun[edit]

beak (plural beaks)

an Australasian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) with her beak wide open
  1. (anatomy)
    1. A rigid structure projecting from the front of a bird's face, used for pecking, grooming, foraging, carrying items, eating food, etc.
      Synonym: bill
    2. A similar structure forming the jaws of a turtle, platypus, etc.
    3. The long projecting sucking mouth of some insects and other invertebrates, as in the Hemiptera.
    4. The upper or projecting part of the shell, near the hinge of a bivalve.
    5. The prolongation of certain univalve shells containing the canal.
    6. (botany) Any process somewhat like the beak of a bird, terminating the fruit or other parts of a plant.
  2. (by extension)
    1. Anything projecting or ending in a point like a beak, such as a promontory of land.
      • 1609, Richard Carew, The Survey of Cornwall. [], new edition, London: [] B. Law, []; Penzance, Cornwall: J. Hewett, published 1769, →OCLC:
        At the townes end, Cuddenbeak, an ancient house of the Bishops, from a well aduanced Promontory, which intituled it Beak
    2. (architecture) A continuous slight projection ending in an arris or narrow fillet; that part of a drip from which the water is thrown off.
    3. (farriery) A toe clip.
    4. (nautical) That part of a ship, before the forecastle, which is fastened to the stem, and supported by the main knee.
    5. (nautical) A beam, shod or armed at the end with a metal head or point, and projecting from the prow of an ancient galley, used as a ram to pierce the vessel of an enemy; a beakhead.
    6. (entomology) Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Libythea, notable for the beak-like elongation on their heads.
  3. (slang)
    1. A person's nose, especially one that is large and pointed.
      Synonyms: honker, schnozzle
      • 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “Which Introduces Some Very Physical Phenomena”, in The Land of Mist, New York, N.Y.: A[lbert] L[evi] Burt Company, published 1926, →OCLC, page 186:
        "You mind your own business, curse you!" growled Silas. "I've told you before now not to push that long, sheeny beak of yours into my affairs. If you was a man I'd know better how to speak to you."
    2. (especially MTE) A person's mouth.
      Shut your beak!
      • 1998, Joseph O'Connor, The Salesman, London: Secker & Warburg, →ISBN, page 43:
        'Did you think that bloody question up by yourself, pal?' Seánie snapped, and the guy opened and closed his beak a few times — I suppose he must have been surprised that a priest would talk like that.
      • 2020 October 19, u/southsidejane, “How do we stop the violence in the city (Serious Answers only ) how do we make the different hoods in Toronto make amends and squash the beef.”, in Reddit[2], r/Torontology, archived from the original on 8 January 2024:
        Typical Yankee detractor, nize your beak.
    3. (uncountable, Southern England) Cocaine.
      • 2007 August 24, Audrey Gillan, anonymous quotee, “The Nogzy, the Crocky and the bizzies - a teen ’soldier’ speaks”, in Alan Rusbridger, editor, The Guardian[3], London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2022-07-09:
        I just stay in bed till about 2pm. Then I sit around and smoke weed. Sometimes we do beak [cocaine] or garys [ecstasy or MDMA] but I don't do that on the street because your jaw swings like fuck and you would need a good kip half the time. I do it every weekend though and it's fucking great. I'm being good tonight. I'll have a Bud and a smoke.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

beak (third-person singular simple present beaks, present participle beaking, simple past and past participle beaked)

  1. (transitive) To strike with the beak.
  2. (transitive) To seize with the beak.
  3. (intransitive, Northern Ireland) To play truant.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:play truant
    • 2008 January 11, jemmy hope (username), “Re: Sandy Row”, in Belfast Forum[4]:
      Knew the Jampot well. I spent many an afternoon while I was beaking school in that fine establishment.
    • 2017, Paddy Armstrong, Life After Life: A Guildford Four Memoir:
      I was living at home at her age, by and large doing what my parents told me, apart from beaking school.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Unknown; originally cant; first recorded in 17thC; probably related to obsolete cant beck "constable".[1][2][3]

Noun[edit]

beak (plural beaks)

  1. (slang, Britain) A justice of the peace; a magistrate.
    • 1859, George Meredith, chapter XXXVIII, in The Ordeal of Richard Feverel. A History of Father and Son. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: Chapman and Hall, →OCLC:
      They take up men, Dick, for going about in women's clothes, and vice versaw, I suppose. You'll bail me, old fellaa, if I have to make my bow to the beak, won't you?
    • 1866, Temple Bar: A London Magazine for Town and Country Readers:
      Harry looked rather bulky, you know, Tom, and the slop (policeman) says, 'Hallo, what you got here?' and by [blank] he took us both before the beak.
    • 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “(please specify the chapter number)”, in The Land of Mist (eBook no. 0601351h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, published April 2019:
      Thus does history repeat itself, and that foolish beak, with Tom Linden before him, was but Felix judging Paul.
    • 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]”, in The Daily Telegraph[5], 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.
    • 2014 April 12, Christopher Middleton, “Dream home: one of Chelsea's most historic houses is for sale: We deliver our verdict on a London landmark that comes with an impeccable legal pedigree [print version: What price justice? In this case, a cool £14.5m]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Property)[6], London, page P9:
      In 1854, ill health forced Henry [Fielding] to stop running the organisation that later became the Bow Street Runners, London's first professional police force, and John [Fielding] took over. This despite having lost his sight in a naval accident at the age of 19. He was known as the Blind Beak, and was said to be able to recognise as many as 3,000 criminals by their voices alone.
  2. (slang, British public schools) A schoolmaster (originally, at Eton).
    • 1907, E.M. Forster, The Longest Journey, Part II, XX [Uniform ed., p. 201]:
      It’s easy enough to be a beak when you’re young and athletic, and can offer the latest University smattering. The difficulty is to keep your place when you get old and stiff, and younger smatterers are pushing up behind you. Crawl into a boarding-house and you’re safe. A master’s life is frightfully tragic.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Century Dictionary [1]
  2. ^ Jonathon Green (2024), “beak”, in Green’s Dictionary of Slang
  3. ^ James Lambert The Macquarie Australian Slang Dictionary (Sydney: Macquarie Library) 2004: page 12.
  • Ranko Matasović (2009) Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, →ISBN, page 60

Anagrams[edit]

Basque[edit]

Noun[edit]

beak

  1. absolutive plural of be
  2. ergative singular of be

Tyap[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

beak

  1. bow down