Imagine the sound of the wind blowing through an empty space and you’ll have this blog for the past few weeks! I’ve had a total aversion to being on any computer I didn’t absolutely have to be on, so poor bloggykins got neglected. Which has meant an extended break from editing and a lot of new words going on in my brain.
Still, I did find an excellent origin story during the break! Again, it was one of those phrases that I’ve always heard and often used, but just suddenly thought one day “I wonder what it actually means”. The phrase varies a bit according to application, but the core idea is “getting a bead on [someone/something]”. Now that’s a curious use of the word “bead” right?
It is – as I’m sure the gun fans out there already know – referring to a bump on a gun barrel that is used to help you aim. Which is why “to have a bead on”, “get a bead on” or “draw a bead on” someone or something is like “having [whatever] in your sights”. Except I have to say that the latter phrase sometimes means you’re aiming to take them down, whereas “having a bead on” doesn’t seem to get used that way, with just the aspect of focussing on what/whoever.
Given how many phrases there are that relate to guns and weapons I’m not entirely surprise by the origin of this one, but not being a gun person I had no idea they had “beads” and so would never have guessed it!