[ beet ]
See synonyms for: beatbeatenbeatingbeatable on

verb (used with object),beat, beat·en or beat, beat·ing.
  1. to strike violently or forcefully and repeatedly.

  2. to dash against: rain beating the trees.

  1. to flutter, flap, or rotate in or against: beating the air with its wings.

  2. to sound, as on a drum: beating a steady rhythm; to beat a tattoo.

  3. to stir vigorously: Beat the egg whites well.

  4. to break, forge, or make by blows: to beat their swords into plowshares.

  5. to produce (an attitude, idea, habit, etc.) by repeated efforts: I'll beat some sense into him.

  6. to make (a path) by repeated treading.

  7. to strike (a person or animal) repeatedly and injuriously: Some of the hoodlums beat their victims viciously before robbing them.

  8. Music. to mark (time) by strokes, as with the hand or a metronome.

  9. Hunting. to scour (the forest, grass, or brush), and sometimes make noise, in order to rouse game.

  10. to overcome in a contest; defeat.

  11. to win over in a race: We beat the English challenger to Bermuda.

  12. to be superior to: Making reservations beats waiting in line.

  13. to be incomprehensible to; baffle: It beats me how he got the job.

  14. to defeat or frustrate (a person), as a problem to be solved: It beats me how to get her to understand.

  15. to mitigate or offset the effects of: beating the hot weather; trying to beat the sudden decrease in land values.

  16. Slang. to swindle; cheat (often followed by out): He beat him out of hundreds of dollars on that deal.

  17. to escape or avoid (blame or punishment).

  18. 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.

  2. to throb or pulsate: His heart began to beat faster.

  1. to dash; strike (usually followed by against or on): rain beating against the windows.

  2. to resound under blows, as a drum.

  3. to achieve victory in a contest; win: Which team do you think will beat?

  4. to play, as on a drum.

  5. to scour cover for game.

  6. Physics. to make a beat or beats.

  7. (of a cooking ingredient) to foam or stiffen as a result of beating or whipping: This cream won't beat.

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

  1. a stroke or blow.

  2. the sound made by one or more such blows: the beat of drums.

  1. a throb or pulsation: a pulse of 60 beats per minute.

  2. the ticking sound made by a clock or watch escapement.

  3. one's assigned or regular path or habitual round: a policeman's beat.

  4. Music.

    • 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.

  5. Theater. a momentary time unit imagined by an actor in timing actions: Wait four beats and then pick up the phone.

  6. Prosody. the accent stress, or ictus, in a foot or rhythmical unit of poetry.

  7. 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.

  8. Journalism.

    • 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.

  9. a subdivision of a county, as in Mississippi.

  10. (often initial capital letter)Informal. beatnik.

  1. Informal. exhausted; worn out.

  2. (often initial capital letter) of or characteristic of members of the Beat Generation or beatniks.

Verb Phrases
  1. beat about,

    • to search through; scour: After beating about for several hours, he turned up the missing papers.

    • Nautical. to tack into the wind.

  2. beat back, to force back; compel to withdraw: to beat back an attacker.

  1. beat down,

    • 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.

  2. beat off,

    • to ward off; repulse: We had to beat off clouds of mosquitoes.

    • Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.

  3. beat out,

    • 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.

  4. beat up,

    • 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.

Idioms about beat

  1. 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!

  2. beat a retreat. retreat (def. 12).

  1. beat around / about the bush. bush1 (def. 16).

  2. beat it, Informal. to depart; go away: He was pestering me, so I told him to beat it.

  3. beat the air / wind, to make repeated futile attempts.

  4. beat the rap. rap1 (def. 17).

  5. off one's beat, outside of one's routine, general knowledge, or range of experience: He protested that nonobjective art was off his beat.

  6. on the beat, in the correct rhythm or tempo: By the end of the number they were all finally playing on the beat.

Origin of beat

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”

synonym study For beat

1. 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 child. 22. See pulsate.

Other words for beat

Other words from beat

  • beat·a·ble, adjective
  • o·ver·beat, verb, o·ver·beat, o·ver·beat·en or o·ver·beat, o·ver·beat·ing.
  • un·der·beat, noun

Words that may be confused with beat

Words Nearby beat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use beat in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for beat


/ (biːt) /

verbbeats, beating, beat, beaten or beat
  1. (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)

  2. (tr) to punish by striking; flog

  1. to move or cause to move up and down; flap: the bird beat its wings heavily

  2. (intr) to throb rhythmically; pulsate: her heart beat fast

  3. (tr) to make (one's way) by or as if by blows: she beat her way out of the crowd

  4. (tr sometimes foll by up) cookery to stir or whisk (an ingredient or mixture) vigorously

  5. (tr sometimes foll by out) to shape, make thin, or flatten (a piece of metal) by repeated blows

  6. (tr) music to indicate (time) by the motion of one's hand, baton, etc, or by the action of a metronome

  7. (when tr , sometimes foll by out) to produce (a sound or signal) by or as if by striking a drum

  8. to sound or cause to sound, by or as if by beating: beat the drums!

  9. to overcome (an opponent) in a contest, battle, etc

  10. (tr ; often foll by back, down, off etc) to drive, push, or thrust

  11. (tr) to arrive or finish before (someone or something); anticipate or forestall: they set off early to beat the rush hour

  12. (tr) to form (a path or track) by repeatedly walking or riding over it

  13. to scour (woodlands, coverts, or undergrowth) so as to rouse game for shooting

  14. (tr) slang to puzzle or baffle: it beats me how he can do that

  15. (intr) physics (of sounds or electrical signals) to combine and produce a pulsating sound or signal

  16. (intr) nautical to steer a sailing vessel as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing

  17. (tr) slang, mainly US to cheat or defraud: he beat his brother out of the inheritance

  18. beat about the bush to avoid the point at issue; prevaricate

  19. beat a retreat to withdraw or depart in haste

  20. beat it slang (often imperative) to go away

  21. beat one's breast See breast (def. 10)

  22. beat someone's brains out slang to kill by knocking severely about the head

  23. beat someone to it informal to reach a place or achieve an objective before someone else

  24. beat the bounds British (formerly) to define the boundaries of a parish by making a procession around them and hitting the ground with rods

  25. 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

  1. a regular sound or stroke; throb

    • an assigned or habitual round or route, as of a policeman or sentry

    • (as modifier): beat police officers

  2. 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

  3. physics the low regular frequency produced by combining two sounds or electrical signals that have similar frequencies

  4. horology the impulse given to the balance wheel by the action of the escapement

  5. prosody the accent, stress, or ictus in a metrical foot

  6. 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

  7. short for beatnik

  8. fencing a sharp tap with one's blade on an opponent's blade to deflect it

  9. (modifier, often capital) of, characterized by, or relating to the Beat Generation: a beat poet; beat philosophy

  1. (postpositive) slang totally exhausted

Origin of beat

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

Derived forms of beat

  • beatable, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for beat


[ 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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with beat


In addition to the idioms beginning with beat

  • beat a dead horse
  • beat all
  • beat a path to someone's door
  • beat a retreat
  • beat around the bush
  • beat back
  • beat down
  • beaten track
  • beat hollow
  • beat into one's head
  • beat it
  • beat off
  • beat one's brains out
  • beat one's head against the wall
  • beat out
  • beats me
  • 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 time
  • beat to it
  • beat up

also see:

  • 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

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