on the beam


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off the beam

Mistaken, inaccurate, or incorrect; going against or straying away from the correct line of thinking. Hyphenated if used before a noun. I'm saddened that the president would choose to make remarks about our troops that are so off the beam. The CEO's off-the beam plans ended up costing the company nearly half a billion dollars in lost revenue.
See also: beam, off

on the beam

1. On or along the correct or proper track or way of thinking. A reference to the former practice in which aircraft would home in on a radio beam in order to navigate to their destination. A: "So this piece slots in here, and we connect these two wires together, right?" B: "Yeah, now you're on the beam!" We're bringing in a consultant to get the project back on the beam
2. Performing a gymnastics routine on the balance beam. Despite expectations, the American gymnast finished a disappointing sixth on the beam at this year's Olympics. It was her first time in her career that she took the top spot on the beam.
3. slang High on marijuana. Judging by how ridiculous they're acting, and the smell in the air, they must be on the beam.
4. In aviation, homing in on a radio beam in order to navigate to a destination. Now that we're back on the beam, we'll be able to fly to our destination without difficulty.
5. Apt or astute. Did you hear James's interpretation of the novel? That guy's really on the beam.
See also: beam, on

on the beam

Fig. exactly right; thinking along the correct lines. That's the right idea. Now you're on the beam! She's not on the beam yet. Explain it to her again.
See also: beam, on

off the beam

Off course, on the wrong track, as in He's way off the beam with that argument. This colloquial term and its antonym, on the beam, meaning "on the right track," allude to directing aircraft by means of radio beams. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]
See also: beam, off

on the beam

see under off the beam.
See also: beam, on

on the beam

1. mod. homing in on an aviation radio beam. (No longer a major navigational device.) The plane was on the beam and landed safely in the fog.
2. mod. on the right course or track. (From sense 1) That is exactly right. You are right on the beam.
3. and beaming mod. under the effects of marijuana. (Drugs.) Walter is on the beam again. How can he hold a job?
4. mod. smart; clever. That was well done, Tom. You’re on the beam.
See also: beam, on

on the beam

1. Following a radio beam. Used of aircraft.
2. On the right track; operating correctly.
See also: beam, on

on the beam

On course; on the right track. This colloquialism originated about the mid-twentieth century, when aircraft began to be directed by radio beams. Its converse is off the beam, meaning “wrong” or “incorrect.” Both expressions began to be transferred to other enterprises almost at once.
See also: beam, on