bed /bɛd/


I. noun

1. a piece of furniture for sleep or rest, typically a framework with a mattress

a large double bed
she was in bed by nine.
2. a bed and associated facilities comprising a place for a patient in a hospital

the unit has 20 geriatric beds.
3. a bedroom

[in combination]

a three-bed detached house.
4. a place or article used by a person or animal for sleep or rest

a bed of straw.
‹informal› used with reference to a bed as the typical place for sexual activity

he’s incredibly good in bed.
6. an area of ground, typically in a garden, where flowers and plants are grown

a bed of tulips.
7. a flat base or foundation on which something rests or is supported, in particular:
8. the foundation of a road or railway.

the pavement consists of granite blocks set on a bed of cobblestones and cement.
(chiefly N. Amer.) the open part of a truck, wagon, or cart, where goods are carried.

the spare tyre in the forward bed of the truck.
10. the flat surface beneath the baize of a billiard table.
11. a stratum or layer of rock

a bed of clay.
12. a layer of food on which other foods are served

the salad is served on a bed of raw spinach.
13. the bottom of the sea or a lake or river.

the gravelly bed of the stream.
14. [with modifier] a place on the seabed where shellfish, especially oysters or mussels, breed or are bred

an oyster bed.
II. verb [with obj.]

1. provide with sleeping accommodation

the children were bedded in the attic.
2. [no obj.] ( bed down) settle down to sleep or rest for the night in an improvised place

you can bed down in the shed.
3. ( bed someone/thing down) settle a person or animal down to sleep or rest for the night.

she is grooming the horses and bedding them down for the night.
‹informal› have sexual intercourse with.

he should bed a woman of his own age and leave this girl alone.
5. transfer (a plant) from a pot or seed tray to a garden plot

I bedded out some houseplants.
6. fix firmly; embed

the posts should be firmly bedded in concrete.
7. lay or arrange (something, especially stone) in a layer.

crazy paving has to be bedded on a solid base of hard core.
8. [no obj.] ( bed in) settle down and become established

a period of calm will allow the changes to bed in.
III. phrases

1. bed and board /ˌbɛd ən ˈbɔːd /

(Brit.) lodging and food, typically forming part of someone’s wages.

she had bed and board and two shillings a day pay.
2. bed of nails
a. a board with nails pointing out of it, as lain on by fakirs and ascetics.
b. a problematic or uncomfortable situation.

he took over the Liberal leadership after that bed of nails had been vacated by Lord Rosebery.
3. a bed of roses
[usu. with negative] used in reference to a situation or activity that is comfortable or easy

farming is no bed of roses.
4. be brought to bed

‹archaic› give birth to a child

she was brought to bed of a daughter.
5. get out of bed on the wrong side ( ‹or US› get up on the wrong side of the bed)
start the day in a bad mood, which continues all day long.

did you get out of bed on the wrong side this morning?
6. in bed with
a. having sexual intercourse with.

he found the missus in bed with one of the neighbours.
b. in undesirably close association with

he was in bed with the Mob.
7. keep one’s bed

‹archaic› stay in bed because of illness.
8. one has made one’s bed and must lie in (or on) it
one must accept the consequences of one’s actions.
9. put someone to bed
prepare someone, typically a child, for rest in bed

Clare put her to bed and gave her a mug of cocoa.
10. put something to bed
‹informal› make a newspaper or book ready for press.

the newspaper will often be put to bed the day before the publication date.
b. deal with conclusively

I hope that puts to bed all the nonsense
the university debate needs putting to bed.
one theatre season has been put to bed and another is just springing to life.
11. take to one’s bed
stay in bed because of illness.

he took to his bed for a week with a chill.
– origin Old English bed, bedd (noun), beddian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bed and German Bett.

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