Beta Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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If you’re not an excessively dominant person — AKA, an alpha — then you’re likely a beta (beɪtə). Wondering what the word beta means? Not to worry; we’ll tell you. 

Read on as we unpack all there is to know about the word betta. By the end of this post, you should have a much better understanding of this interesting term and even feel comfortable using it in a sentence. 

What Is the Definition of Beta?

Not to get confused with “betta” — the name of a type of genus of the Anabantidae family — beta  can be defined as a stage of development in which a product is nearly complete but not yet ready for release. It also commonly denotes variables in physics and mathematics.  

It’s the second letter of the Greek alphabet — Β or β — after alpha and is also used as a slang insult for describing a man who is seen as weak, submissive, and effeminate.

In the world of science, beta is a modifier used when identifying a molecular position in an organic chemical compound. Beta is also commonly used as an adjective to describe hardware product or software that is in its preliminary or testing stage. 

Some words that are often associated with beta include:

  • Beta carotene
  • Beta-blockers
  • Beta values

What Does Beta Mean in the World of Finance?

Believe it or not, beta is also a term that is commonly used in investments and the stock market. In the realm of finance, beta can be defined as a measure of volatility or systematic risk of a portfolio or security when compared to the market as a whole. 

Beta defined here is also commonly referred to as the “beta coefficient” and is used in the CAPM or Capital Asset Pricing Model. Beta calculation is done by showing the securities’ response to a certain market through regression analysis. 

That said, there are many other terms to learn in relation to finance. For instance, the word alpha. Alpha is essentially a measure of performance; it does this by estimating the numeric value of a stock’s expected excess return in relation to that returns benchmark index.

Other related terms include:

  • Algorithm trading 
  • 52-week high low 
  • Arbitrage
  • Asset allocation
  • Auction Market
  • Basis Risk
  • Bear Put Spread
  • Bearish Trend

What Is the Origin of Beta?

First noted c. 1300, beta is of Semitic origin and comes from the Phoenician symbol bth and is a derivative of Greek bēta.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Beta?

To further your overall understanding of the word beta, we’ve compiled a list of synonyms and antonyms for you to review. 

A synonym is one of two words that have the same of nearly the same meaning. 

Synonyms of beta include:

  • Suspect
  • Testing
  • Being tested
  • Dubious
  • Experimental
  • Flaky 
  • Mostly working
  • New
  • Pre-release
  • Unready
  • Beta male

An antonym is a word or expression that means the opposite of another word of expression. 

Antonyms of beta include:

  • Alpha
  • Indecisive
  • Meaningless
  • Noncritical
  • Alpha Male

How Can You Use Beta in a Sentence?

Now that you’re up to speed on the meaning behind beta, you may be wondering how to use this interesting term in a sentence. Fret not; we’ve got you covered with a few sentence examples listed below:

“I tried out the game when it was in its beta version, and it was mediocre at best then. Now, however, it is nothing short of a masterpiece!” 

“The gray wolf wasn’t an alpha or a beta; he was a loner.”

“Did you take any notes today about beta decay? I started to snooze as soon as Professor Runion got to the part about electrons?”

“Yes, the beta particles may be able to penetrate our skin. But wake up, this is the real-world man; they will never make it through the metal that our suits are clearly lined with.” 

“I have a dog named Omega and a kitty named Beta.”

“I was involved with the game’s beta testing, and let me tell you — to say that it was beta software would be like calling the Atlantic Ocean a puddle.”

“I know that I have always profited better with smaller low beta stocks, but just this once, I think I am going to roll the dice on a few high beta stocks —or maybe just an individual stock for now.”

“In the wolf pack, there is an alpha male as well as a beta male.”

“Since the game is in its beta stages, bugs are to be expected.”

“When Johnny went to college, he pledged as a Phi Beta Kappa, just like his dad.”

“Alpha, beta, and gamma are only three of many proteins known as globulins in the blood.”

“The highly anticipated new system goes into beta testing next month.”


Simply put, beta is the 2nd letter of the Greek alphabet. When used in the capital asset pricing model (CPAM), it can be defined as a measure of system risk — or volatility — of a portfolio or security. 

When used in chemistry, our word of the day is one of the possible positions of an atom or group in a compound. Beta is also used in the realm of computers to refer to the version of software products used in a beta test. 


Beta Definition & Meaning |

Beta Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary

Does the Capital Asset Pricing Model Work? | Harvard Business Review