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beset

[bih-set]
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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.
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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

Examples from the Web for beset

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They are putty in the hands of the fears and forces that beset them from without.

  • Touring it through the Causses seemed, indeed, beset with difficulties.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • He was beset on either side by the merciless fangs of his erstwhile comrades.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • Such was his own experience that he was beset by the gravest doubts.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • I have been so hunted and beset by this man, that I knew my only hope of safety lay in joining them.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for beset

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
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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 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper