to strike violently or forcefully and repeatedly.
to dash against:
rain beating the trees.
to flutter, flap, or rotate in or against:
beating the air with its wings.
to sound, as on a drum:
beating a steady rhythm; to beat a tattoo.
to stir vigorously:
Beat the egg whites well.
to break, forge, or make by blows:
to beat their swords into plowshares.
to produce (an attitude, idea, habit, etc.) by repeated efforts:
I’ll beat some sense into him.
to make (a path) by repeated treading.
to strike (a person or animal) repeatedly and injuriously:
Some of the hoodlums beat their victims viciously before robbing them.
Music. to mark (time) by strokes, as with the hand or a metronome.
Hunting. to scour (the forest, grass, or brush), and sometimes make noise, in order to rouse game.
to overcome in a contest; defeat.
to win over in a race:
We beat the English challenger to Bermuda.
to be superior to:
Making reservations beats waiting in line.
to be incomprehensible to; baffle:
It beats me how he got the job.
to defeat or frustrate (a person), as a problem to be solved:
It beats me how to get her to understand.
to mitigate or offset the effects of:
beating the hot weather; trying to beat the sudden decrease in land values.
Slang. to swindle; cheat (often followed by out):
He beat him out of hundreds of dollars on that deal.
to escape or avoid (blame or punishment).
Textiles. to strike (the loose pick) into its proper place in the woven cloth by beating the loosely deposited filling yarn with the reed.
to strike repeated blows; pound.
to throb or pulsate:
His heart began to beat faster.
to dash; strike (usually followed by against or on):
rain beating against the windows.
to resound under blows, as a drum.
to achieve victory in a contest; win:
Which team do you think will beat?
to play, as on a drum.
to scour cover for game.
Physics. to make a beat or beats.
(of a cooking ingredient) to foam or stiffen as a result of beating or whipping:
This cream won’t beat.
Nautical. to tack to windward by sailing close-hauled.
a stroke or blow.
the sound made by one or more such blows:
the beat of drums.
a throb or pulsation:
a pulse of 60 beats per minute.
the ticking sound made by a clock or watch escapement.
one’s assigned or regular path or habitual round:
a policeman’s beat.
the audible, visual, or mental marking of the metrical divisions of music.
a stroke of the hand, baton, etc., marking the time division or an accent for music during performance.
Theater. a momentary time unit imagined by an actor in timing actions:
Wait four beats and then pick up the phone.
Prosody. the accent stress, or ictus, in a foot or rhythmical unit of poetry.
Physics. a pulsation caused by the coincidence of the amplitudes of two oscillations of unequal frequencies, having a frequency equal to the difference between the frequencies of the two oscillations.
the reporting of a piece of news in advance, especially before it is reported by a rival or rivals.
Compare exclusive (def 13), scoop (def 9).
Also called newsbeat, run. the particular news source or activity that a reporter is responsible for covering.
a subdivision of a county, as in Mississippi.
(often initial capital letter) Informal. beatnik.
Informal. exhausted; worn out.
(often initial capital letter) of or characteristic of members of the Beat Generation or beatniks.
to search through; scour:
After beating about for several hours, he turned up the missing papers.
Nautical. to tack into the wind.
beat back, to force back; compel to withdraw:
to beat back an attacker.
to bring into subjection; subdue.
Informal. to persuade (a seller) to lower the price of something:
His first price was too high, so we tried to beat him down.
to ward off; repulse:
We had to beat off clouds of mosquitoes.
Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.
Informal. to defeat; win or be chosen over:
to beat out the competition.
Carpentry. to cut (a mortise).
to produce hurriedly, especially by writing or typing:
There are three days left to beat out the first draft of the novel.
Baseball. (of a hitter) to make (an infield ground ball or bunt) into a hit:
He beat out a weak grounder to third.
Also, beat up on. to strike repeatedly so as to cause painful injury; thrash:
A gang of toughs beat him up on the way home from school. In the third round the champion really began to beat up on the challenger.
British Informal. to find or gather; scare up:
I’ll beat up some lunch for us while you make out the shopping list.
beat all, Informal. to surpass anything of a similar nature, especially in an astonishing or outrageous way:
The way he came in here and ordered us around beats all!
beat a retreat. retreat (def 12).
beat around / about the bush. bush1 (def 16).
beat it, Informal. to depart; go away:
He was pestering me, so I told him to beat it.
beat the air / wind, to make repeated futile attempts.
beat the rap. rap1 (def 17).
off one’s beat, outside of one’s routine, general knowledge, or range of experience:
He protested that nonobjective art was off his beat.
on the beat, in the correct rhythm or tempo:
By the end of the number they were all finally playing on the beat.
Like Gates, Zuckerberg has infinite wealth, and he seems monomaniacal in his desire to see Facebook beat back any and all rivals.
Going Public, Facebook Will Make Mark Zuckerberg at Least $21 Billion Gary Rivlin February 2, 2012
Well,” I carefully told him, “you threatened to beat me up in a hotel bar a few months ago.
Confessions of Charlie Sheen’s Bartender Robert Schwartz February 5, 2011
It also plays well with the Republican base to beat up on the liberal media.
The GOP’s Candy Strategy Howard Kurtz October 16, 2012
She beat out popular former governor Tommy Thompson for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl.
The 2012 Election Brings a Stunning Array of Firsts for Women in Congress Abigail Pesta November 7, 2012
When they hauled me out of the car they beat me until I fell unconscious.
Iraq’s Anti-Gay Pogrom Parvez Sharma August 15, 2009
“All right, beat it now and forget you ever saw me,” he said.
Spring Street James H. Richardson
I too want to have experiences, to live where life’s beat is most intense.
Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
So that if a chestnut was a fiver, and it beat a tenner, it became at one leap a fifteener.
Dr. Jolliffe’s Boys Lewis Hough
And the pinto, for all his courage, could not meet that handicap and beat it.
Way of the Lawless Max Brand
The plan was to make a wide detour and beat the mountains thoroughly.
Mason of Bar X Ranch Henry Bennett
verb beats, beating, beat, beaten, beat
when intr, often foll by against, on, etc. to strike with or as if with a series of violent blows; dash or pound repeatedly (against)
(transitive) to punish by striking; flog
to move or cause to move up and down; flap: the bird beat its wings heavily
(intransitive) to throb rhythmically; pulsate: her heart beat fast
(transitive) to make (one’s way) by or as if by blows: she beat her way out of the crowd
(cookery) (transitive) sometimes foll by up. to stir or whisk (an ingredient or mixture) vigorously
(transitive) sometimes foll by out. to shape, make thin, or flatten (a piece of metal) by repeated blows
(transitive) (music) to indicate (time) by the motion of one’s hand, baton, etc, or by the action of a metronome
when tr, sometimes foll by out. to produce (a sound or signal) by or as if by striking a drum
to sound or cause to sound, by or as if by beating: beat the drums!
to overcome (an opponent) in a contest, battle, etc
(transitive; often foll by back, down, off etc) to drive, push, or thrust
(transitive) to arrive or finish before (someone or something); anticipate or forestall: they set off early to beat the rush hour
(transitive) to form (a path or track) by repeatedly walking or riding over it
to scour (woodlands, coverts, or undergrowth) so as to rouse game for shooting
(transitive) (slang) to puzzle or baffle: it beats me how he can do that
(intransitive) (physics) (of sounds or electrical signals) to combine and produce a pulsating sound or signal
(intransitive) (nautical) to steer a sailing vessel as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
(transitive) (slang, mainly US) to cheat or defraud: he beat his brother out of the inheritance
beat about the bush, to avoid the point at issue; prevaricate
beat a retreat, to withdraw or depart in haste
(slang) (often imperative) beat it, to go away
beat one’s breast, See breast (sense 10)
(slang) beat someone’s brains out, to kill by knocking severely about the head
(informal) beat someone to it, to reach a place or achieve an objective before someone else
(Brit) beat the bounds, (formerly) to define the boundaries of a parish by making a procession around them and hitting the ground with rods
(slang) can you beat it?, can you beat that?, an expression of utter amazement or surprise
a stroke or blow
the sound made by a stroke or blow
a regular sound or stroke; throb
an assigned or habitual round or route, as of a policeman or sentry
(as modifier): beat police officers
the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music, usually grouped in twos, threes, or fours
pop or rock music characterized by a heavy rhythmic beat
(as modifier): a beat group
(physics) the low regular frequency produced by combining two sounds or electrical signals that have similar frequencies
(horology) the impulse given to the balance wheel by the action of the escapement
(prosody) the accent, stress, or ictus in a metrical foot
(nautical) a course that steers a sailing vessel as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
the act of scouring for game by beating
the organized scouring of a particular woodland so as to rouse the game in it
the woodland where game is so roused
short for beatnik
(fencing) a sharp tap with one’s blade on an opponent’s blade to deflect it
(modifier, often capital) of, characterized by, or relating to the Beat Generation: a beat poet, beat philosophy
(postpositive) (slang) totally exhausted
Old English beatan “inflict blows on, thrash” (class VII strong verb; past tense beot, past participle beaten), from Proto-Germanic *bautan (cf. Old Norse bauta, Old High German bozan “to beat”), from PIE root *bhau- “to strike” (see batter (v.)). Of the heart, c.1200, from notion of it striking against the breast. Meaning “to overcome in a contest” is from 1610s (the source of the sense of “legally avoid, escape” in beat the charges, etc., attested from c.1920 in underworld slang).
Past tense beat is from c.1500, probably not from Old English but a shortening of Middle English beted. Dead-beat (originally “tired-out”) preserves the old past participle. Meaning “strike cover to rouse or drive game” (c.1400) is source of beat around the bush (1570s), the metaphoric sense of which has shifted from “make preliminary motions” to “avoid, evade.” Command beat it “go away” first recorded 1906 (though “action of feet upon the ground” was a sense of Old English betan). To beat off “masturbate” is recorded by 1960s. For beat generation see beatnik.
c.1300, “a beating, whipping; the beating of a drum,” from beat (v.). As “throb of the heart” from 1755. Meaning “regular route travelled by someone” is attested from 1731, also “a track made by animals” (1736), from the sense of the “beat” of the feet on the ground (late Old English), or perhaps that in beat the bushes to flush game (c.1400), or beat the bounds (1560s). Extended to journalism by 1875. Musical sense is by 1842, perhaps from the motion of the conductor and the notion of “beating the time”:
It is usual, in beating the time of a piece of music, to mark or signalize the commencement of every measure by a downward movement or beat of the hand, or of any other article that may be used for the purpose …. [“Godfrey Weber’s General Music Teacher,” 1842]
Earlier in music it meant a sort of grace note:
BEAT, in music, a transient grace note, struck immediately before the note it is intended to ornament. The beat always lies half a note beneath its principal, and should be heard so closely upon it, that they may almost seem to be struck together. [“The British Encyclopedia,” London, 1809]
“defeated, overcome by effort,” c.1400, from past tense of beat (v.). Meaning “tired, exhausted,” is by 1905, American English.
v. beat, beat·en (bēt’n), beat·ing, beats
To strike repeatedly.
To pulsate; throb.
A stroke, impulse, or pulsation, especially one that produces a sound as of the heart or pulse.
A fluctuation or pulsation, usually repeated, in the amplitude of a signal. Beats are generally produced by the superposition of two waves of different frequencies; if the signals are audible, this results in fluctuations between louder and quieter sound.
Very tired; all in, pooped: You have been on the go right around the clock. You look beat (1830s+)
Alienated from the general society and expressing this by a wandering life, the avoidance of work, the advocacy of sexual freedom, the use of narcotics, a distinctive style of dress and grooming, and the adoption of certain aspects of Far Eastern religions: the beat generation/ beat poets (1950s+ Beat talk)
Boring; stupid; lame (1980s+ Teenagers)
: anything I knew that I hadn’t told the beat man at the news conference
A loafer; drifter; deadbeat, moocher (mid-1800s+)
News printed or broadcast first, before one’s competitors; scoop: The News scored an important beat (1900+ News media)
The area or subject matter that one is assigned to handle: cop on his beat/ a reporter on the courthouse beat (1700s+)
The asi meter of a piece of music, esp the insistent percussive rhythm of some jazz styles and rock and roll (1930s+)
A short pause; heartbeat: I waited a beat, then started for the garage/ It may take a couple of beats to absorb the shock of this new length (1950s+ Theater)
To baffle; nonplus: It beats me how she can do so much (1830s+)
To avoid a fine or conviction: He beat the burglary rap (1920s+ Underworld)
To rob or defraud: I sure got beat when I bought that old clunker (1850+)
downbeat, offbeat, upbeat
beat a dead horse
beat a path to someone’s door
beat a retreat
beat around the bush
beat into one’s head
beat one’s brains out
beat one’s head against the wall
beat someone at his or her own game
beat the air
beat the band
beat the bushes for
beat the clock
beat the drum for
beat the Dutch
beat the living daylights out of
beat the meat
beat the pants off
beat the rap
beat to it
- Beat a dead horse
something that has ceased to be useful or relevant. beat / flog a dead horse, to persist in pursuing or trying to revive interest in a project or subject that has lost its usefulness or relevance. a large, solid-hoofed, herbivorous quadruped, Equus caballus, domesticated since prehistoric times, bred in a number of varieties, and used […]
- Beat a path to someone’s door
Come to someone in great numbers, as in Ever since she appeared on television, agents have been beating a path to her door. The term beat a path alludes to the trampling action of many feet. [ Late 1500s ]
the forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action. the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat. an asylum, as for the insane. a retirement […]
a low plant with many branches that arise from or near the ground. a small cluster of shrubs appearing as a single plant. something resembling or suggesting this, as a thick, shaggy head of hair. Also called bush lot. Canadian. a small, wooded lot, especially a farm lot with trees left standing to provide firewood, […]