the act of a person or thing that beats, as to punish, clean, mix, etc.: Give the rug a good beating.
a defeat or reverse; loss; setback: Several stocks took a beating in the market today.
pulsation; throbbing: the beating of her heart.

Nearby words

  1. beater,
  2. beatific,
  3. beatification,
  4. beatify,
  5. beatinest,
  6. beating-up,
  7. beatitude,
  8. beatitudes,
  9. beatlemania,
  10. beatles

Origin of beating

First recorded in 1200–50, beating is from the Middle English word betynge. See beat, -ing1



verb (used with object), beat, beat·en or beat, beat·ing.

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.

verb (used without object), beat, beat·en or beat, beat·ing.

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.
  1. the audible, visual, or mental marking of the metrical divisions of music.
  2. 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.
  1. 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).
  2. 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.

Verb Phrases

beat about,
  1. to search through; scour: After beating about for several hours, he turned up the missing papers.
  2. tack into the wind.
beat back, to force back; compel to withdraw: to beat back an attacker.
beat down,
  1. to bring into subjection; subdue.
  2. persuade (a seller) to lower the price of something: His first price was too high, so we tried to beat him down.
beat off,
  1. to ward off; repulse: We had to beat off clouds of mosquitoes.
  2. Slang: masturbate.
beat out,
  1. defeat; win or be chosen over: to beat out the competition.
  2. cut (a mortise).
  3. to produce hurriedly, especially by writing or typing: There are three days left to beat out the first draft of the novel.
  4. Baseball.(of a hitter) to make (an infield ground ball or bunt) into a hit: He beat out a weak grounder to third.
beat up,
  1. Also beat up 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.
  2. British find or gather; scare up: I'll beat up some lunch for us while you make out the shopping list.

Origin of beat

before 900; Middle English beten, Old English bēatan; cognate with Old Norse bauta, Middle Low German bōten, Old High German bōzzan; akin to MIr búalaim I hit, Latin fūstis a stick < *bheud-

Related formsbeat·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·beat, verb, o·ver·beat, o·ver·beat·en or o·ver·beat, o·ver·beat·ing.un·der·beat, noun

Can be confusedbeat beet

Synonym study

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beating

British Dictionary definitions for beating



a whipping or thrashing, as in punishment
a defeat or setback
take some beating or take a lot of beating to be difficult to improve upon


verb beats, beating, beat, beaten or 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)
(tr) to punish by striking; flog
to move or cause to move up and down; flapthe bird beat its wings heavily
(intr) to throb rhythmically; pulsateher heart beat fast
(tr) to make (one's way) by or as if by blowsshe beat her way out of the crowd
(tr sometimes foll by up) cookery to stir or whisk (an ingredient or mixture) vigorously
(tr sometimes foll by out) to shape, make thin, or flatten (a piece of metal) by repeated blows
(tr) 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 beatingbeat the drums!
to overcome (an opponent) in a contest, battle, etc
(tr ; often foll by back, down, off etc) to drive, push, or thrust
(tr) to arrive or finish before (someone or something); anticipate or forestallthey set off early to beat the rush hour
(tr) 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
(tr) slang to puzzle or baffleit beats me how he can do that
(intr) physics (of sounds or electrical signals) to combine and produce a pulsating sound or signal
(intr) nautical to steer a sailing vessel as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
(tr) slang, mainly US to cheat or defraudhe 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
beat it slang (often imperative) to go away
beat one's breast See breast (def. 10)
beat someone's brains out slang to kill by knocking severely about the head
beat someone to it informal to reach a place or achieve an objective before someone else
beat the bounds British (formerly) to define the boundaries of a parish by making a procession around them and hitting the ground with rods
can you beat it? or can you beat that? slang 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
  1. an assigned or habitual round or route, as of a policeman or sentry
  2. (as modifier)beat police officers
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
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
  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
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 Generationa beat poet; beat philosophy


(postpositive) slang totally exhausted
See also beat down, beat up

Derived Formsbeatable, adjective

Word Origin for beat

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

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 beating
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for beating




To strike repeatedly.
To pulsate; throb.


A stroke, impulse, or pulsation, especially one that produces a sound as of the heart or pulse.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for beating



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.

Idioms and Phrases with beating


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.