Is the correct phrase “he has a bead on it” or “he has a beat on it”? 
Posted: 18 April 2010 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]
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And where does the phrase come from? First post to this discussion board.

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Posted: 18 April 2010 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome!

It’s “bead”, assuming you’re referring to the sense I assume you mean for the phrase.  It comes from the use of “bead” to refer to the little metal knob forming the forward part of a gun-sight (the part at the end of the barrel). To “have a bead on” (also, “draw a bead on") something is to have it in your sights, to have it targeted, etc.  This use of “bead” is cited in the OED2 back to 1831, “to have a bead on”, used figuratively, is cited from the 1920s.

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