From Middle English bekyr, biker, from Old Norse bikarr (“cup”), from Old Saxon bikeri (“cup”), from Proto-West Germanic *bikārī, from Late Latin bīcārium (“wine vat, jug”), of disputed origin. Possibly from Ancient Greek βῖκος (bîkos, “earthenware jug, wine jar”), or from Latin bacarium (“wine vat, vase”).
Cognate with Saterland Frisian Bieker (“mug, cup, beaker”), Dutch beker (“beaker, cup”), German Becher (“beaker, cup, goblet”), Danish bæger (“beaker”), Italian bicchiere (“cup, glass (for drink)”). Doublet of pitcher.
beaker (plural beakers)
- A flat-bottomed vessel, with a lip, used as a laboratory container.
- A drinking vessel without a handle, sometimes for the use of children.
- A mug.
- (slang, Antarctica) A scientist.
- 2008, Kim Stanley Robinson, Antarctica, page 52:
- […] at every meal break he shambled into the galley black-fingered and smelling of engine-grease and concrete floors, to contemplate over his meal the beakers at their round tables chatting away, completely oblivious […]