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besetting

[bih-set-ing]
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adjective
  1. constantly assailing or obsessing, as with temptation: a besetting sin.

Origin of besetting

First recorded in 1540–50; beset + -ing2

beset

[bih-set]
verb (used with object), be·set, be·set·ting.
  1. to attack on all sides; assail; harass: to be beset by enemies; beset by difficulties.
  2. to surround; hem in: a village beset on all sides by dense forest.
  3. to set or place upon; bestud: a gold bracelet beset with jewels.
  4. Nautical. to surround (a vessel) by ice, so that control of the helm is lost.

Origin of beset

before 1000; Middle English besetten, Old English besettan. See be-, set
Related formsbe·set·ment, nounbe·set·ter, nounpre·be·set, verb (used with object), pre·be·set, pre·be·set·ting.un·be·set, adjective

Synonyms

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2. encircle, enclose, besiege, beleaguer. 3. stud, decorate, ornament.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for besetting

besetting

adjective
  1. tempting, harassing, or assailing (esp in the phrase besetting sin)

beset

verb -sets, -setting or -set (tr)
  1. (esp of dangers, temptations, or difficulties) to trouble or harass constantly
  2. to surround or attack from all sides
  3. archaic to cover with, esp with jewels
Derived Formsbesetter, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for besetting

beset

v.

Old English besettan "to put, place; own, keep; occupy, settle; cover, surround with, besiege," from Proto-Germanic *bisatjan (cf. Old Saxon bisettjan, Dutch bezetten, Old High German bisezzan, German besetzen, Gothic bisatjan); see be- + set (v.). The figurative sense also was in Old English. Related: Beset (past tense); besetting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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