draw a bead on
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
draw a bead on (someone or something)
1. To aim at someone or something with the sights on a firearm. I managed to draw a bead on the enemy sniper, but had to wait until I received the order to fire.
2. By extension, to focus one's attention on someone or something so as to deal with or attack him, her, or it. The candidate drew a bead on his opponent's poor political record in the UN during the debate. The president has pledged to draw a bead on the growing problem of adolescent obesity.
3. To thoroughly understand, appreciate, or comprehend someone or something. The team just has to draw a bead on the severity of the cyber attack before we can implement any meaningful fixes. I couldn't get my head around him at first, but I'm finally starting to draw a bead on my sister's boyfriend.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
draw a bead on someone or somethingand get a bead on someone or something
1. . Lit. to locate someone or something in the sights of a gun. Fred drew a bead on the target and pulled the trigger. The hunter drew a bead on the deer.
2. Fig. to prepare to deal with or obtain someone or something. As soon as I get a bead on how widespread the problem really is, I will set up a meeting about it.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
draw a bead on
Take careful aim, as in The debater drew a bead on his opponent. This term, dating from about 1830, alludes to the bead on a revolver or rifle, that is, a small knob in the foresight. [c. 1930]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
draw (or get) a bead ontake aim at with a gun. chiefly North American
1994 Ontario Out of Doors Few moose will pose majestically right at the water's edge while you draw a bead on them.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
draw a bead on (someone), to
To take careful verbal aim at a person. An Americanism dating from about 1830, the term comes from aiming a revolver or rifle, on which the “bead” was a small knob on the foresight. It was being used figuratively by about 1930.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer