beadlike, adj.
/beed/, n.
1. a small, usually round object of glass, wood, stone, or the like with a hole through it, often strung with others of its kind in necklaces, rosaries, etc.
2. beads,
a. a necklace of beads: You don't have your beads on this evening.
b. a rosary.
c. Obs. devotions; prayers.
3. any small globular or cylindrical body.
4. a drop of liquid: beads of moisture.
5. a bubble rising through effervescent liquid.
6. Usually, beads. a mass of such bubbles on the surface of a liquid.
7. the front sight of a rifle or gun.
8. a reinforced area of a rubber tire terminating the sidewall and fitting within the rim of a wheel. See illus. under tire.
9. Elect. a glass, ceramic, or plastic insulator that contains and supports the inner conductor in a coaxial cable.
10. Chem. a globule of borax or some other flux, supported on a platinum wire, in which a small amount of some substance is heated in a flame as a test for its constituents.
11. Metall. the rounded mass of refined metal obtained by cupellation.
12. Archit., Furniture. a small molding having a convex circular section and, usually, a continuous cylindrical surface; astragal.
13. Welding. a continuous deposit of fused metal, either straight (stringer bead) or zigzag (weave bead).
14. count, say, or tell one's beads, to say one's prayers, using rosary beads: There were a few old women counting their beads in the hushed silence of the chapel.
15. draw or get a bead on, to take careful aim at: The marksman drew a bead on his target.
16. to form or cause to form beads or a bead on.
17. to ornament with beads.
18. Carpentry. to form a bead on (a piece).
19. to form beads; form in beads or drops: perspiration beading on his forehead.
[bef. 900; ME bede prayer, prayer bead (where, on a rosary each bead symbolizes a prayer, the word for the notion symbolized was transferred to the designating object), OE gebed prayer; akin to BID1, G Gebet]
Syn. 4. droplet, globule, blob, dot.

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Small object, usually pierced for stringing.

It may be made of virtually any material
wood, shell, bone, seed, nut, metal, stone, glass, or plastic
and is worn or affixed to another object for decorative or, in some cultures, magical purposes. The earliest Egyptian beads (с 4000 BC) were made of stone, feldspar, lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, hematite, or amethyst and were variously shaped (sphere, cone, shell, animal head). By 3000–2000 BC, gold beads in tubular shapes were in use. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, trade in beads was enormous. Today the richness of beadwork varies with fashion.

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      small, usually round object made of glass, wood, metal, nut, shell, bone, seed, or the like, pierced for stringing. Among primitive peoples, beads were worn as much for magical as for decorative purposes; hence, little variation was allowed in their shapes and materials. In Arab countries in the 20th century, single blue talismanic (amulet) beads are attached to domestic animals, children, brides, and even automobiles to avert bad luck. Because of the value attached to them as light articles of trade and as substitutes for coinage, beads yield valuable information about ancient trade and cultural patterns.

      In prehistoric times, beads were worn not only around the neck but around the hips, over the ears, threaded through the nose, and even attached to the eyelashes. In the Stone Age, the earliest beads probably were plant seeds; but, by Acheulian times, collars of seashells and small fossils were bored for stringing, and, from the Aurignacian and Magdalenian periods, whole necklaces of pierced shells have survived, some of them carried long distances from the sea. Collars made of the pierced canine teeth of Arctic foxes and of chamois and human teeth pierced for stringing also have been found. A type of bilobed bead carved out of mammoth ivory was often worn in Siberian Paleolithic settlements. It was perhaps ancestral to a bone or stone bead of double-ax shape that was popular in the Neolithic period, especially in northern Europe, Britain, and southern France. Beads of stone, bone, and amber, pierced through their narrower ends, became common in the Late Neolithic Period in Scandinavia and are found in Megalithic graves of western Europe.

      The earliest Egyptian (Egypt) beads, dating from about 4000 BC, are generally made of stone, usually steatite (soapstone), covered with a near-glass glaze; glass itself is not found until much later. In the pre-dynastic period appeared beads of blue faience that continued essentially the same until Roman times. Other favourite materials were green feldspar, lapis lazuli (possibly from Persia), carnelian, turquoise, hematite, and amethyst. Usually these materials were made into spherical, barrel-shaped, or discoidal beads; but locust, falcon, crouching-baboon, hippopotamus-head, and conus-shell shapes are well represented. Phoenician workshops at Carthage and in the Egyptian delta made fancy beads in the form of comic human faces and animal heads.

      In the Sumerian (Sumer) and Indus valley civilizations (Indus civilization), variously shaped gold beads were in use by the early 3rd millennium BC. There were tubular, spherical, and melon-shaped beads, but most distinctive was a tubular bead with two semicircular wings attached to each side, as though in imitation of a plant seed. By 2000 BC a spherical bead resembling a nasturtium seed, with light flutings along the line of the piercing, was in use; it remained popular with the Babylonians and lasted into Assyrian times. Meanwhile, the Minoan and Mycenaean peoples of Crete and the Aegean (Aegean civilizations) developed gold beads of great originality and beauty in the shapes of polyps, lilies, and lotuses; there are also a number of spherical Mycenaean gold beads decorated with granulated patterns. Beads of opaque glass with impressed circlets of glass of a different colour came to Britain and western Europe in the Late Bronze Age. Their precise origin is unknown, but they probably were manufactured in the Mediterranean.

      Among the Indians of North and South America, a great quantity of stone and shell beads commonly was worn, the latter being either complete shells or shaped out of shell. On the whole, except in the classical Inca civilizations of Peru, beads of fine stone were rare. Some, of a curious shape that suggests a double ax, are Peruvian, but there are elaborate Aztec and Inca beads of jadeite and other coloured stones in shapes such as frogs and human skulls. A number of sites in Peru, Guiana, and Honduras have yielded elaborate tubular gold-filigree beads.

      Since the European Middle Ages, beads have been used extensively for trade and barter. Explorers have found them invaluable as gifts for primitive (primitive culture) peoples, and, during the 17th and 18th centuries, this trade in beads was enormous. Their importance was well known to the Spanish conquistadores, whose gifts of Renaissance glass beads manufactured in Venice are said to have been worn until recent times by primitive peoples of Brazil. The use of beads as personal decoration has continued on and off throughout history, the richness of ornamentation varying with fashions.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bead — (b[=e]d), n. [OE. bede prayer, prayer bead, AS. bed, gebed, prayer; akin to D. bede, G. bitte, AS. biddan, to ask, bid, G. bitten to ask, and perh. to Gr. pei qein to persuade, L. fidere to trust. Beads are used by the Roman Catholics to count… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bead — bead; bead·ed; bead·er; bead·flush; bead·i·ly; …   English syllables

  • bead — [bēd] n. [ME bede, prayer, prayer bead < OE bed < biddan, to pray, ask: see BID1] 1. a small, usually round piece of glass, wood, metal, etc., pierced for stringing 2. [pl.] ROSARY (sense 1a) 3. [pl.] a string of beads; necklace …   English World dictionary

  • bead´i|ly — bead|y «BEE dee», adjective, bead|i|er, bead|i|est. 1. small, round, and shiny; beadlike: »The mouse has beady eyes …   Useful english dictionary

  • bead|y — «BEE dee», adjective, bead|i|er, bead|i|est. 1. small, round, and shiny; beadlike: »The mouse has beady eyes …   Useful english dictionary

  • bead — ► NOUN 1) a small piece of glass, stone, etc., threaded in a string with others to make a necklace or rosary. 2) a drop of a liquid on a surface. 3) a small knob forming the foresight of a gun. 4) the reinforced inner edge of a tyre. ► VERB 1)… …   English terms dictionary

  • Bead — Bead, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Beaded}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Beading}.] To ornament with beads or beading. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bead — Bead, v. i. To form beadlike bubbles. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bead — [bi:d] n [: Old English; Origin: bed, gebed prayer ; because people counted beads while saying their prayers] 1.) one of a set of small, usually round, pieces of glass, wood, plastic etc, that you can put on a string and wear as jewellery ▪ She… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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  • bead — [ bid ] noun count usually plural 1. ) a small usually round piece of plastic, glass, metal, etc. with a hole through it, that you put on a string or chain with other beads and wear as jewelry: a string of beads 2. ) a small drop of a liquid such …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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