draw a bead on (someone or something)

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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.
See also: bead, draw, on

draw a bead on someone or something

 and 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.
See also: bead, draw, on

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]
See also: bead, draw, on

draw (or get) a bead on

take 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.
See also: bead, draw, on