Today its used as a derogatory term when talking about someone's backside but it comes from the nautical world. The beam of a ship is its width and usually refers the widest part. If a ship is "broad in the beam" or "beamy" then its wide and possible quite slow. Not slim, sleek or fast.
By SailingQuiz September 2019 Category: Nautical Saying
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What does Broad in the beam mean?
What is the nautical origin of the phrase "Broad in the beam"?
Definition of the nautical phrase "Broad in the beam".