View synonyms for beat


[ beet ]

verb (used with object)

, beat, beat·en or beat, beat·ing.
  1. to strike violently or forcefully and repeatedly:

    Before there were vacuum cleaners, you had to hang rugs on a line and beat them with a stick to get the dust out.

    Synonyms: flog, buffet, cudgel, pommel, baste, maul, drub, batter, belabor

  2. to dash against:

    We could hear the rain beating the trees outside the window.

  3. to flutter, flap, or rotate in or against:

    The hummingbird beat the air with its wings.

  4. to overcome in a contest; defeat:

    They beat us by 12 points.

    Synonyms: overpower, vanquish, subdue, conquer

  5. to win over in a race (used with to ):

    I'll beat you to the corner!

  6. to be superior to:

    Making reservations beats waiting in line.

    Synonyms: excel, surpass, outdo

  7. Informal. to be incomprehensible to; baffle:

    It beats me how he got the job.

  8. to mitigate or offset the effects of:

    One way to beat the hot weather is to go swimming.

    We beat the interest rate hike by consolidating our debt into a line of credit.

  9. to sound, such as on a drum:

    She beat a steady rhythm on the bongos.

  10. to stir vigorously:

    Beat the egg whites well.

  11. to break, forge, or make by blows:

    The blacksmith beat the red-hot iron into a horseshoe.

  12. to produce (an attitude, idea, habit, etc.) by repeated efforts:

    He made his piano student practice scales one hour a day in the hopes it would beat some discipline into him.

  13. to make (a path) by repeated walking:

    Kids had beaten a path through the woods to the river.

  14. to strike (a person or animal) repeatedly and injuriously:

    Some of the hoodlums beat their victims viciously before robbing them.

  15. Music. to mark (time) by strokes, such as with the hand or foot or with a metronome:

    She beat time to the music with her foot.

  16. Hunting. to scour (the forest, grass, or brush), and sometimes make noise, in order to rouse game.
  17. Slang. to swindle; cheat (often followed by out ):

    He beat him out of hundreds of dollars on that deal.

  18. to escape or avoid (blame or punishment).
  19. Textiles. to strike (the loose pick) into its proper place in the woven cloth by beating the loosely deposited filling yarn with the reed.

verb (used without object)

, beat, beat·en or beat, beat·ing.
  1. to strike repeated blows; pound:

    She kept beating on my door, so I finally opened it.

  2. to throb or pulsate:

    His heart began to beat faster.

  3. to dash; strike (usually followed by against or on ):

    The sound of hail beating on the roof was deafening.

  4. to make a sound when struck:

    We could hear drums beating in the distance.

  5. to play, such as on a drum:

    I began beating softly on the drums, picking up the rhythm as they sang.

  6. to achieve victory in a contest; win:

    Which team do you think will beat?

  7. to scour cover for game.
  8. Physics. to make a beat ( def 39 ) or beats.
  9. (of a cooking ingredient) to foam or stiffen as a result of beating or whipping:

    This cream won't beat.

  10. Nautical. to tack to windward by sailing close-hauled.


  1. a stroke or blow:

    A beat on the head with that thing could kill you.

  2. the sound made by one or more blows:

    The beat of drums was coming from the school’s music room.

  3. a throb or pulsation:

    The patient had a pulse of 60 beats per minute.

  4. the ticking sound made by a clock or watch escapement.
  5. one's assigned or regular path or habitual round:

    The police officer was familiar with all the businesses on her beat.

  6. Journalism.
    1. Also called newsbeat, run. the particular news source or activity that a reporter is responsible for covering:

      She covers the city hall beat.

    2. 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 ).

      Getting the beat on that story was my lucky break as a reporter.

  7. Music.
    1. the audible, visual, or mental marking of the metrical divisions of music:

      In 4/4 time, there are four beats to the bar.

    2. a stroke of the hand, baton, etc., marking the time division or an accent for music during performance:

      Watch the conductor carefully so you can come in on his first beat.

  8. Theater. a momentary time unit imagined by an actor in timing actions:

    Wait four beats and then pick up the phone.

  9. Prosody. the accent stress, or ictus, in a foot or rhythmical unit of poetry.
  10. 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.
  11. a subdivision of a county, such as in Mississippi.
  12. Often Beat. Informal. beatnik ( def ).


  1. Informal. exhausted; worn out:

    After all that gardening I was too beat to do anything but lie on the sofa.

  2. Often Beat. relating to or characteristic of members of the Beat Generation or beatniks:

    Jack Kerouac was a Beat poet.

verb phrase

    1. Informal. to defeat; win or be chosen over:

      We beat out the competition for that contract.

    2. Baseball. (of a hitter) to make (an infield ground ball or bunt) into a hit:

      He beat out a weak grounder to third.

    3. to produce hurriedly, especially by writing or typing:

      There are three days left to beat out the first draft of the novel.

    4. Carpentry. to cut (a mortise).
    1. to ward off; repulse:

      We had to beat off clouds of mosquitoes.

    2. Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.
  1. to force back; compel to withdraw:

    They beat back the attackers.

    1. to search through; scour:

      After beating about for several hours, he turned up the missing papers.

    2. Nautical. to tack into the wind.
    1. Also beat up on. to strike repeatedly so as to cause painful injury:

      Two bullies beat him up on the way home from school.

      In the third round the champion really began to beat up on the challenger.

    2. British Informal. to find or gather; scare up:

      I'll beat up some lunch for us while you make out the shopping list.


/ biːt /


  1. whenintr, often foll by against, on, etc to strike with or as if with a series of violent blows; dash or pound repeatedly (against)
  2. tr to punish by striking; flog
  3. to move or cause to move up and down; flap

    the bird beat its wings heavily

  4. intr to throb rhythmically; pulsate

    her heart beat fast

  5. tr to make (one's way) by or as if by blows

    she beat her way out of the crowd

  6. trsometimes foll byup cookery to stir or whisk (an ingredient or mixture) vigorously
  7. trsometimes foll byout to shape, make thin, or flatten (a piece of metal) by repeated blows
  8. tr music to indicate (time) by the motion of one's hand, baton, etc, or by the action of a metronome
  9. whentr, sometimes foll by out to produce (a sound or signal) by or as if by striking a drum
  10. to sound or cause to sound, by or as if by beating

    beat the drums!

  11. to overcome (an opponent) in a contest, battle, etc
  12. tr; often foll by back, down, off etc to drive, push, or thrust
  13. tr to arrive or finish before (someone or something); anticipate or forestall

    they set off early to beat the rush hour

  14. tr to form (a path or track) by repeatedly walking or riding over it
  15. to scour (woodlands, coverts, or undergrowth) so as to rouse game for shooting
  16. slang.
    tr to puzzle or baffle

    it beats me how he can do that

  17. intr physics (of sounds or electrical signals) to combine and produce a pulsating sound or signal
  18. intr nautical to steer a sailing vessel as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
  19. slang.
    tr to cheat or defraud

    he beat his brother out of the inheritance

  20. beat about the bush
    to avoid the point at issue; prevaricate
  21. beat a retreat
    to withdraw or depart in haste
  22. beat it slang.
    often imperative to go away
  23. beat one's breast
    See breast
  24. beat someone's brains out slang.
    to kill by knocking severely about the head
  25. beat someone to it informal.
    to reach a place or achieve an objective before someone else
  26. beat the bounds
    (formerly) to define the boundaries of a parish by making a procession around them and hitting the ground with rods
  27. can you beat it? or can you beat that? slang.
    an expression of utter amazement or surprise


  1. a stroke or blow
  2. the sound made by a stroke or blow
  3. a regular sound or stroke; throb
    1. an assigned or habitual round or route, as of a policeman or sentry
    2. ( as modifier )

      beat police officers

  4. the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music, usually grouped in twos, threes, or fours
    1. pop or rock music characterized by a heavy rhythmic beat
    2. ( as modifier )

      a beat group

  5. physics the low regular frequency produced by combining two sounds or electrical signals that have similar frequencies
  6. horology the impulse given to the balance wheel by the action of the escapement
  7. prosody the accent, stress, or ictus in a metrical foot
  8. nautical a course that steers a sailing vessel as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
    1. the act of scouring for game by beating
    2. the organized scouring of a particular woodland so as to rouse the game in it
    3. the woodland where game is so roused
  9. short for beatnik
  10. fencing a sharp tap with one's blade on an opponent's blade to deflect it
  11. modifier, often capital of, characterized by, or relating to the Beat Generation

    a beat poet

    beat philosophy


  1. slang.
    postpositive totally exhausted


/ bēt /

  1. 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.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈbeatable, adjective

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Other Words From

  • beat·a·ble adjective
  • o·ver·beat verb overbeat overbeaten or overbeat overbeating
  • un·der·beat noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of beat1

First recorded before 900; Middle English beten, Old English bēatan; cognate with Old Norse bauta, Middle Low German bōten, Old High German bōzzan; akin to Middle Irish búalaim “I hit,” Latin fūstis “stick”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of beat1

Old English bēatan ; related to Old Norse bauta , Old High German bōzan

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. beat a retreat, to withdraw or retreat, especially hurriedly or in disgrace.
  2. 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!

  3. beat it, Informal. to depart; go away:

    He was pestering me, so I told him to beat it.

  4. beat the rap, Slang. to succeed in evading the penalty for a crime; be acquitted.
  5. beat the air / wind, to make repeated futile attempts.
  6. beat around / about the bush, to avoid coming to the point; delay in approaching a subject directly.
  7. off one's beat, outside of one's routine, general knowledge, or range of experience:

    He protested that abstract art was off his beat.

  8. on the beat, in the correct rhythm or tempo:

    By the end of the number they were all finally playing on the beat.

More idioms and phrases containing beat

  • dead beat
  • heart misses a beat
  • if you can't beat them, join them
  • march to a different beat
  • miss a beat
  • off the beaten track
  • pound the pavement (a beat)
  • to beat the band

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Synonym Study

Beat, hit, pound, strike, thrash refer to the giving of a blow or blows. Beat implies the giving of repeated blows: to beat a rug. To hit is usually to give a single blow, definitely directed: to hit a ball. To pound is to give heavy and repeated blows, often with the fist: to pound a nail, the table. To strike is to give one or more forceful blows suddenly or swiftly: to strike a gong. To thrash implies inflicting repeated blows as punishment, to show superior strength, and the like: to thrash a prisoner. See pulsate.

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Example Sentences

With some limitations on the usual nonconference games that help poll voters gauge teams, Gonzaga managed to get wins over ranked teams Virginia, West Virginia and Iowa, plus Kansas and Auburn, while Baylor beat No.

Many of the competitions were spectacles, drawing large crowds with elaborate lights and window-rattling beats, but the sport was driven by independent event promoters without any movement trained on the Olympics.

They played a heck of a game defensively and offensively to beat us.

For freshwater paddling, it’s hard to beat the scenery at the mile-long Jordan Pond.

“It’s the worse I’ve been beaten in a long time,” Mahomes said.

He beat his illness twice, wrote about his battles with the disease, and continued broadcasting even as his health was failing.

It went into remission, but it would resurface in 2011; and Scott was able to beat it once again.

But underground classes have Persians getting with the beat.

It may have been the reason why Goldwater beat Rockefeller by three points, and effectively sewed up the GOP nomination.

Despite the scandal, Grimm beat his Democratic opponent by 18 points in November.

Even if poverty were gone, the flail could still beat hard enough upon the grain and chaff of humanity.

His face flushed with annoyance, and taking off his soft hat he began to beat it impatiently against his leg as he walked.

The pulse in Louis's temples beat hard; yet he was determined not to anticipate, but make Wharton explain himself.

To be sure, he hadn't seen Mrs. Robin go, but he had heard the beat of her wings as she began her flight.

We should easily beat this in America with anything like equal facilities, and without charging the British price—£4 7s.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




beast of preybeat a dead horse