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beta (n.)

second letter of the Greek alphabet, c. 1300, from Greek, from Hebrew/Phoenician beth (see alphabet); used to designate the second of many things. Beta radiation is from 1899 (Rutherford). Beta particle is attested from 1904. Beta male, pejorative term for a risk-avoidant, non-confrontational man perceived as a follower or supporter rather than a leader, is by 2005, transferred from zoology (birds, primates), where it is attested by 1962 (compare alpha male under alpha).

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Definitions of beta from WordNet
1
beta (adj.)
second in order of importance;
the candidate, considered a beta male, was perceived to be unable to lead his party to victory
beta (adj.)
preliminary or testing stage of a software or hardware product;
beta software
a beta version
2
beta (n.)
the 2nd letter of the Greek alphabet;
3
Beta (n.)
beets;
Synonyms: genus Beta
From wordnet.princeton.edu