verb (past beat; past participle beaten /ˈbiːt(ə)n/)[with object]
- 1Strike (a person or an animal) repeatedly and violently so as to hurt or injure them, typically with an implement such as a club or whip: aristocratic women were often beaten by their husbands the victims were beaten to death with baseball batsMore example sentences
hit, strike, batter, thump, hammer, punch, knock, thrash, pound, pummel, slap, smack, crack, thwack, cuff, buffet, maul, pelt, drub, rain blows on; assault, attack, abuse; flay, whip, lash, cudgel, club, birch• informal wallop, belt, bash, whack, clout, clobber, slug, tan, biff, bop, sock, deck, plug, lay into, do over, knock about/around, rough up, fill in, knock into the middle of next week, beat the living daylights out of, give someone a good hiding• dated chastise
- The other two reached out and pulled the Aussie from the river and then, using long clubs, beat the shark to death.
- The documentary makers interviewed former workers who stated that some dogs were beaten to death, instead of being given a lethal injection, in order to save money.
- Police launched a murder hunt today after a cricket club member was beaten to death next to the pitch last night.
- 1.1Strike (an object) repeatedly so as to make a noise: he beat the table with his handMore example sentences
- He has been asked to stop beating his drum so fiercely after complaints about the noise.
- At this time, it is forbidden to beat drums or make other loud noises.
- The father beats a drum and the son buries his head in a covered pit.
- 1.2 [no object] (Of an instrument) make a rhythmical sound through being struck: drums were beating in the distanceMore example sentences
- Long after the final whistle had blown at their semi-final, the sound of drums beating and fans chanting could be heard outside the stadium.
- Her laughter was deep, right from the stomach, and it sounded like merry drums beating away.
- Then there was a sound of drums beating filling the air with its fury.
- 1.3Strike (a carpet, blanket, etc.) repeatedly in order to remove dust: upright cleaners have a motorized head which beats the carpet to loosen the dirtMore example sentences
- She approaches an emotion with the finesse of someone beating a carpet.
- Training a dog, beating a carpet or rug, and washing clothes are also banned on the heath.
- Ava beat the rug with a vengeance, watching the dust fly through the air and circle in the late summer breeze.
- 1.4Flatten or shape (metal) by striking it repeatedly with a hammer: pure gold can be beaten out to form very thin sheetsMore example sentences
- The most expensive is wrought iron, where the metal is beaten into shape.
- The metal can be beaten out so thinly that it has hardly any solidity left, when it appears as gold by reflected light but green by transmitted light.
- The piece of metal was then beaten with some kind of hammer, before being put back into the fire.
- 1.5 (beat something against/on) Strike something against (something): she beat her fists against the woodMore example sentences
- In total frustration, he swept a few dishes in front of him onto the floor and beat his fists on the table, knocking a few more dishes to the floor.
- Toddlers will be beating their fists on their high chairs in fury.
- If things aren't back to normal by Monday, it will be because I've knocked myself out beating my head against the desk.
- 1.6 [no object] Strike repeatedly at or on something: Sidney beat on the door with the flat of his hand Emmie began to beat at the flamesMore example sentences
- Meanwhile, Gregor's sister and father beat on his bedroom door, calling him to leave for work.
- She looked around for something to cover herself and again Noah beat on the door.
- I heard him beat against the door, and then fall to his feet with a strangled sigh.
- 1.7Move across (an area of land) repeatedly striking at the ground cover in order to raise game birds for shooting: they hire boys to beat the Yorkshire moors for game birdsMore example sentences
- The estate staff and sundry villagers would be involved in beating the woods and picking up the game.
- Local lords also demanded that peasants beat the woods during hunts and pay special additional taxes.
- Many beaters like to carry their own stick, to help them get up and down banks, as well as for beating the undergrowth.
- 2Defeat (someone) in a game or other competitive situation: she beat him easily at chess Juventus were beaten 2-1More example sentences
- Lauren easily beat her father five games to one, and poked fun at his age and physical fitness.
- There wasn't much shame in that because I thought we competed hard in the four games and we were beaten by a better side.
- ‘There's no chance of me ever beating you at this game,’ I had said.
- 2.1Overcome (a problem or disease): the battle to beat car crime he beat heroin addiction in 1992More example sentences
- He says the only hope of beating the disease is to ensure that knowledge spreads faster than virus.
- Chloe had to have a kidney removed at North Manchester Children's Hospital in the battle to beat her illness.
- But now his best chance of beating the disease is if a matching bone marrow donor can be found.
- 2.2Do or be better than (a record or score): he beat his own world recordMore example sentences
- The moment you set a goal and achieve it, somebody will eventually beat your record and surpass your goal!
- I never imagined that you'd be able to beat the top score like that.
- The team is confident that it will beat the current record of 245 mph, and say that it could even reach 300 mph on future runs.
- 2.3 • informal Be better than: you can’t beat the taste of fresh raspberriesMore example sentences
- But it was hard to beat the Falconry Display as far as the kids were concerned, and parents too if they would admit it.
- The drinks may not be free, but you can't beat the convenience.
- There is a more casual bar, but it is hard to beat the experience of eating in the new Two Sisters dining-room, next to the snug lounge bar with its crackling log fire.
- 2.4 • informal Baffle: it beats me how you manage to work in this heatMore example sentences
- How she recovered so fast from last night beats the hell out of me.
- Why anyone would want to drive at 150 mph with the roof down beats me.
- It beats me how anybody could play such a boring game.
- 3Succeed in getting somewhere ahead of (someone): the defender beat him to the ballMore example sentences
- He beat him to the ball and touched down under the posts.
- The full forward beat the goalie to the ball to get the touch at full stretch but his effort along the ground was less than an inch wide of the post.
- He gets into pass-blocking position so quickly that most defenders are unable to beat him with pure speed.
- 3.1Take action to avoid (difficulty or inconvenience): they set off early to beat the trafficMore example sentences
- Plans to beat traffic congestion when Royal Ascot comes to York will be tested in the city next month at its biggest race meeting of the year.
- Plans for a new motorway linking the M6 and M56 have been put forward to beat congestion.
- If you bought early to beat the Christmas rush, it may be too late to ask for a refund if you don't find the goods are faulty until Christmas Day
- 4 [no object] (Of the heart) pulsate: her heart beat faster with panicMore example sentences
- Her heart was beating wildly, and panic was rising in her stomach.
- An AED delivers a life saving electric shock that starts the heart beating and pumping again.
- Her heart started beating hard, pounding against her ribcage.
- 5(Of a bird) move (the wings) up and down: doves wheel around the rooftops, beating their wingsMore example sentences
- The little hummingbirds beat their wings faster and their flight is even more graceful than normal.
- A ruby-throated hummingbird beats its wings 50 to 70 times per second.
- I stared after the birds as they beat their wings in strange rhythm.
- 5.1 [no object] (Of a bird) fly making rhythmic wing movements: an owl beat low over the salt marshMore example sentences
- The bird soared away from us, its broad wings beating slowly.
- Soaring above the gorge was a large black bird, its wings spread, beating against the wind.
- His long wings beat slow, steady beats, as if accentuating the overall extenuation of the bird.
- 6Stir (cooking ingredients) vigorously to make a smooth or frothy mixture: beat the butter until light and fluffy beat the cream into the mixtureMore example sentences
- Next, beat ingredients for the cream cheese layer until smooth.
- Egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar are beaten vigorously in a double boiler until thick and foamy.
- Pour the hot melted butter over the whisked eggs in a steady stream, beating the ingredients together well.
- 7 (beat it) • informal Leave: [in imperative]: now beat it, will you!More example sentences
- No, I told Mack to scram, beat it, skedaddle, hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.
- The thing does not move an inch, as if to say ‘put me in a utility closet or beat it.’
- A young U.S. officer, whose unit had commandeered the house, saw them coming and barked: "Go on, go on! Beat it!"
- 8 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Sailing Sail into the wind, following a zigzag course with repeated tacking: we beat southwards all that first dayMore example sentences
- I came about and headed for home but my little boat didn't beat into the wind very well.
- It is said, too, that sailors, beating up against the wind in the Gulf of Finland, sometimes see a strange sail heave in sight astern and overhaul them hand over hand.
- He stuck with the vessel and slowly managed to beat to windward.
nounBack to top
- 1A main accent or rhythmic unit in music or poetry: the glissando begins on the second beatMore example sentences
- In mensural music beats fall naturally into groups of two or three with a recurring accent on the first of each group.
- Conductors became the drill sergeants of music; the beat is seen rather than heard.
- This time, focus all your attention on making a stress on the second and last beats of each bar.
- 1.1A strong rhythm in popular music: the music changed to a funky disco beatMore example sentences
- It gives you what you'd expect - strong beats, ironic raps and bizarre alter egos.
- The show is a pure play on energy, filled with funky beats and strong singing and dancing.
- There is a structure under there somewhere, with each song held together by a strong beat.
- 1.2 [in singular] A regular, rhythmic sound or movement: the beat of the wipers became almost hypnoticMore example sentences
- A pulsar, of course, beeps with a regular beat, but it also has a sort of echo.
- To live according to the regular beat of man-made time, we have to carry time around with us.
- She settles down the steady beat of kitchen sounds that announce the preparation of dinner for yet another autumn night.
- 1.3The sound made when something, especially a musical instrument, is struck: he heard a regular drum beatMore example sentences
- Women who were washing laundry outside their houses, and talking to their neighbour about the latest village gossip, looked up in surprise at the sound of hoof beats.
- After another few minutes' silence, they heard distinct sounds of hoof beats.
- I woke to the jolting sound of hoof beats, thundering down a dirt path.
- 1.4A pulsation of the heart.More example sentences
- In essence, your heart requires fewer beats to pump the same amount of blood.
- Taking long breaths to hide the agitated beats of my thudding heart, I leaned forward more intently to analyze the picture.
- In her ears echoed the sounds of her beating heart as its beats began to grow weak and slow.
- 1.5A periodic variation of sound or amplitude due to the combination of two sounds, electrical signals, or other vibrations having similar but not identical frequencies.More example sentences
- As two tones become more similar, the ‘beat frequency’ becomes lower.
- When the second pump had been stopped, the beat effect ceased and the vibration consequently assumed a stable trend.
- 2The movement of a bird’s wings: the beat of the swallow’s wings as they dive after midgesMore example sentences
- You can feel the beats of their large wings as they fly just inches above you.
- Ten minutes after break of day John will listen for the beat of wings and sure as light they will wheel in and come to rest to be fed, in the field across the road.
- The details are lost amid the uneven songs of the pigeons, the beat of wings and scrape of claw on slate.
- 3An area allocated to a police officer and patrolled on foot: his beat was in North London public clamour for more policemen on the beatMore example sentences
- 28 per cent said that they had never seen a police officer on the beat in their area.
- Police are putting extra patrols on the beat in Grimsby after a racist attack left an asylum seeker with serious facial injuries.
- I would put more police on the beat instead of driving round in cars or sat behind a desk.
- 3.2An area regularly frequented by someone: a few, new to their beat, looked at him with interestMore example sentences
- Wardens each have beats which are rotated regularly and can expect to cover an average of up to six miles a day.
- Reporters are required to check their beat everyday -- in person.
- Workers in this contexts have similar ways of looking out for each other, including on worker telling another when she is leaving her ‘beat’ to service a punter, so that the woman who remains behind can raise the alarm if necessary.
- 3.3 • informal A person’s area of interest: his beat is construction, property, and hotelsMore example sentences
- Others have found international reporting to be a beat that interests them far more than any domestic story.
- Because I work the entertainment beat, frequent contact was inevitable.
- Because she's a real reporter who happens to be stuck on the movie beat for the moment.
- 3.4A stretch of water fished by an angler: you don’t necessarily have to fish on the priciest beats to find good sportMore example sentences
- The beats of the Norwegian Flyfishers Club are fished on a rotational basis, giving each angler equal rights, and a maximum of four anglers per beat.
- We fished a beat that had a small narrow island about a third of the way down.
- Each beat fishes best at a different height of water.
- 4A brief pause or moment of hesitation: she waited for a beat of three seconds[from the use of a stage direction referring to such a pause]More example sentences
- The gentleman moves past, pausing for a beat to smile at the child.
- Bailey pauses for a beat while the squadron groan.
- Chris hesitates for a beat before rushing up and knocking Johnnie down in a quick flurry of shots.
- 5 • informal short for beatnik.More example sentences
- Perhaps he was a Beat born too early.
- He was a beat in the 50s, met and performed with Warhol in the early 60s, was always on the edge of everything.
- It reminds me of my parents, they were beats and hippies then converted to Protestant Christianity.
adjectiveBack to top
- 1 [predic.] • informal Completely exhausted: I’m beat—I need an hour or so to restMore example sentences
- He ducked out in the stretch and he looked beat before straightening out and accelerating.
- It's a long drive, and by the time we check in to our hotel, I am beat.
- I was invited down there by Jimmy, who seemed completely beat.
- 2 [attributive] Relating to the beat generation or its philosophy: beat poet Allen GinsbergMore example sentences
- At the minute I'm mostly reading beat poets.
- Made in 2003, he calls it a homage to his hero, the beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
- North Beach was home to the beat poets, who some say launched the youth revolution.
beat about the bush
- Discuss a matter without coming to the point: he never beat about the bush when something was annoying himMore example sentences
prevaricate, vacillate, evade/dodge the issue, be non-committal, hedge, hedge one's bets, quibble, parry questions, fudge the issue, mince one's words, stall, shilly-shally, hesitate; British hum and haw• rare tergiversate
- So, without any further beating about the bush, I present this week's question.
- But then everybody must stop beating about the bush and tell it like it is.
- ‘I don't think we ought to beat about the bush,’ he joked.
beat someone at their own game
- see game1.
beat the bounds
- • historical Mark parish boundaries by walking round them and striking certain points with rods: a large procession, headed by the clergyman, would beat the bounds over a period of two daysMore example sentences
- For anyone unable to do the St Richard's sponsored walk on May 15, on May 16 there will be a nine-mile walk to beat the bounds of the parish.
- Many other parish councils organised beating the bounds events and there was already a leaflet outlining a suitable route around the parish.
- The Gould and Dickens families organised an unofficial walk to ensure the continuity of the beating the bounds whose origins have been lost in the depths of time.
beat one's breast
- see breast.
beat the bushes
- North American • informal Search thoroughly: I was out beating the bushes for investors to split the riskMore example sentences
- The choice is whether to focus on one dream candidate or to beat the bushes and conduct a thorough search.
- As the tightest presidential election in Mexican history hits the homestretch for July 2, the front-runners are beating the bushes for every vote they can get.
- Rather than desperately beating the bushes for MBAs, by the 1990s, US firms were swamped with them.
beat the clock
- Perform a task quickly or within a fixed time limit: frozen mixed vegetables help you beat the clock with this soupMore example sentences
- A trainee army officer braved sub-zero temperatures to beat the clock in stamina-sapping ski and shoot races.
- We get one of those scenes in which a safecracker tries to beat the clock.
- Surgeons are being paid three times their normal daily wages by desperate health chiefs racing to beat the clock over waiting times targets.
beat the drum for
- see drum1.
be beaten at the post
- Be defeated at the last moment.More example sentences
- The girls played superbly but were beaten at the post losing by one match overall to the Australian team.
- Nearly everybody has a tale to tell how they got beaten at the post when buying real estate.
- Though he was beaten at the post he managed to create a course record.
beat the pants off
- • informal Prove to be vastly superior to: it’s an ugly lump of plastic, but it sure beats the pants off the UK modelMore example sentences
- But of course the best scenario is we beat the pants off our competition and go on as if nothing happened.
- It's not an easy thing, coming out with something that beats the pants off your tablemates.
- It is rare when a company introduces a new line of apparel that literally beats the pants off its competitors.
beat a path to someone's door
- (Of a large number of people) hasten to make contact with someone regarded as interesting or inspiring: the students and their professors beat a path to his doorMore example sentences
- If they can make this work, they will have tyre-manufacturers beating a path to their door.
- It is easy to understand why conservationists and wildlife lovers have been beating a path to the company 's door.
- He said: ‘The nation's retailers are beating a path to our door.’
beat a (hasty) retreat
- Withdraw quickly in order to avoid something unpleasant: as the bombs started to go off, they beat a hasty retreat across the fieldMore example sentences
- Jonathan then lunged for the boy at the door, who quickly turned around and beat a hasty retreat away from the house, forgetting his flowers and his car.
- But speaking outside a regional police chiefs conference in Bali today, there was no sign that he's beating a retreat from his position.
- On our arrival, anxious parents start gathering up their little ones and beating a retreat.
beat the system
- Succeed in finding a means of getting round rules, regulations, or other means of control: it may be that we secretly admire those who try to beat the systemMore example sentences
- We had tried to beat the system, but the system had beaten us.
- No matter what you do, they're going to look for ways to beat the system, and sometimes they'll succeed.
- Follow these seven rules and you too can beat the system and earn money from your plastic.
- Indicate or follow a musical tempo with a baton or other means.More example sentences
- The robot replaced the bandleader during one song, beating time with a baton in its pistoning arm.
- Not many conductors have ever had to beat time to a chamber ensemble on his left while, on the right, deejay, rapper and band are zipping off an unscripted rhythm.
- Their teacher would beat time with her pencil on the music rack.
beat someone to it
- Succeed in doing something or getting somewhere before someone else: you’d better get a move on or they’ll beat you to itMore example sentences
- She knew how I felt about succeeding in my challenge, and she wanted to beat me to it.
- He and five of his colleagues reached the Pole only to discover that they had been beaten to it by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.
- You better put in for that time off from the job now, before somebody else beats you to it.
if you can't beat them, join them
- • humorous If you are unable to outdo rivals in some endeavour, you might as well cooperate with them and thereby possibly gain an advantage.More example sentences
- Steve took the view that if you can't beat them, join them.
- You're saying if you can't beat them, join them.
- But they have increasingly taken the view that if you can't beat them, join them, and begun offering similar, competitive services.
to beat all ——s
- Infinitely better than all the things of the specified type: a PC screen saver to beat all screen saversMore example sentences
- In spite of a storm to beat all storms, there was a record turn out of punters to the Table Quiz.
- Word is beginning to filter through that there s a festival to beat all festivals planned for the culture-rich village of Milltown over the August bank holiday weekend.
- The company will present one lucky reader with the prize to beat all prizes, an all expenses paid rugby party at their house with 20 of their close friends.
to beat the band
- North American • informal In such a way as to surpass all competition: they were talking to beat the bandMore example sentences
- Well, the charm seems to be continuing, as I have been pumping out lyrics to beat the band.
- There they were confronted and astonished to find themselves in a specially arranged Marquee glittering with banners, ballons and welcome streamers wishing Mary a Happy 40th and a barbeque to beat the band.
- We sang away to beat the band and after the miracle of modern technology took hold we didn't sound too bad at all.
beat someone back
- Force (someone trying to do something) to retreat: I was beaten back by the flamesMore example sentences
- There were women fighting to get in, but the flames beat them back.
- We tried for a summit attempt on May 29 but we were beaten back by the weather.
- They had tried to get into the house through the back door, on their knees, but they were beaten back by the heat and smoke.
- (Of the sun) radiate intense heat and brightness: the sun beat down on them with fiery intensityMore example sentences
- With the heat beating down on them, people queued up in front of fresh fruit juice stalls to quench their thirst.
- The sun was beating down heating the cold morning air.
- I was standing on the pavement, the heat beating down on the back of my neck.
- (Of rain) fall hard and continuously: the rain continued to beat down on himMore example sentences
- The rain was beating down hard and both Daryl and Melissa were soaked to the bone.
- The merciless rain beat down so hard, even the thick canopy of the dark woods gave way to the crashing heavy droplets.
- I leaned wearily into MaryAnn's shoulder and sat for a moment, drying my tears and listening to the rain beat down on the roof and windows of the chapel.
beat something down
- Quell defence or resistance: the senator had beaten down my last defenceMore example sentences
- Above all, realize that if you really care about literature, if you really love literature, then you might help it more by encouraging it than by beating it down.
- While other people might be beaten down, he seems to rise to the occasion.
- Once the enemy artillery had been beaten down, artillery could then be used to support the final stages of the infantry attack.
- Fight to suppress a feeling or emotion: she beat down a gush of self-pityMore example sentences
- He fought with an emotion inside himself until it had been beaten down, then he smiled slightly.
- If one has pride, Franklin advises him to ‘disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it .’
- A feeling of guilt washed over her, but she beat it down and refused to accept it.
beat someone down
- Force someone to reduce the price of something: I had at least attempted to beat him down on the charter priceMore example sentences
- He beat me down on the price. He got a bargain from a naive schoolboy and I still resent him now for that.
- Legitimate net design guys like me struggle to get clients, who then beat us down on price.
- Friends say if you ask to borrow a fiver, he'd beat you down to £4.
beat someone/thing off
- Succeed in resisting an attacker or an attack: we beat off the raiders with sticks and broom handlesMore example sentences
- In January 1583, he marched to Antwerp to assert his authority but his attack was beaten off.
- They stood firm and beat him off, inflicting another 12,000 casualties on Frederick's army.
- But much of his time was devoted to beating off attacks on his authority.
- Win against a challenge or rival: the firm had beaten off competition from 260 other submissionsMore example sentences
- It was no surprise that CAR magazine voted it their No.1 car of 2003, beating off competition from the BMW M3 CSL and Ferrari 360 CS.
- In the men's event, Roger Hammond beat off Jeremy Hunt and Jamie Alberts to lift the crown.
- Rogers beat off four rivals to land the job.
beat something out
- 1Produce a loud, rhythmic sound by striking something: he beat out a rhythm on the drumsMore example sentences
- I took the drumsticks back and started beating a rhythm out.
- The sound she beat out was at once primal and primitive, yet nuanced, complex, flowing.
- He is lightly beating out a rhythm which gradually increases in intensity.
- 2Extinguish flames by striking at them with a suitable object: he made a frantic dash to grab an armful of branches and beat out the flamesMore example sentences
- It carried on relentlessly burning, melting the sole of his shoes as he finally beat the flames out.
- It screamed as flames surrounded it; screaming, it tried to beat them out.
- Other men knocked them to the ground and began to beat the flames out savagely.
- Assault and injure someone by hitting, kicking, or punching them repeatedly: they threatened to beat him up if he didn’t hand over the moneyMore example sentences
- The youngsters have kicked his door, threatened to beat him up and thrown eggs at his door in Manor Road, Dovercourt.
- It's a social problem, where it's becoming acceptable to attack people and beat them up in this way.
- I used to dread getting the results of tests because my name would always be called out first, as the highest score and then classmates would threaten to beat me up during the break.
- (beat oneself up) • informal Reproach or criticize oneself excessively.More example sentences
assault, attack, mug, batter, thrash, pummel, pound• informal knock about/around, do over, work over, clobber, rough up, fill in, kick in, jump, paste, lay into, lace into, sail into, pitch into, get stuck into, beat the living daylights out of, let someone have itBritish • informal have a go at, duff someone upNorth American • informal beat up on
- May be we should just accept the fact that with this season ‘to be merry’, comes a certain dose of celebratory excess, and not beat ourselves up for it.
- Stop beating yourself up about your weight; you are fine as you are!
- Let's stop beating ourselves up about this and make use of it.
beat up on someone
- North American way of saying .More example sentences
- I frankly believe that you spend all this time beating up on somebody else because you don't have that much to say yourself.
- But I wish people would stop beating up on him for running.
- As a result, they're working with him, rather than beating up on him.
- More example sentences
- ‘They are beatable,’ he stated, ‘just like any other team.’
- The record is certainly beatable, and I'm quite convinced that a decent athlete could easily go under nine hours.
- He is going to be hard to beat, but he is definitely beatable.
Old English bēatan, of Germanic origin.