a. The bill of a bird, especially one that is strong and curved, such as that of a hawk or a finch.
b. A similar structure in other animals, such as turtles, insects, or fish.
2. A usually firm, tapering tip on certain plant structures, such as some seeds and fruits.
3. A beaklike structure or part, as:
a. The spout of a pitcher.
b. A metal or metal-clad ram projecting from the bow of an ancient warship.
4. Informal The human nose.
5. Chiefly British Slang
a. A schoolmaster.
b. A judge.
[Middle English bek, from Old French bec, from Latin beccus, of Celtic origin.]
beaked (bēkt) adj.
(click for a larger image)beak
top to bottom: black skimmer, pileated woodpecker, and American goldfinch
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.