- to attack on all sides; assail; harass: to be beset by enemies; beset by difficulties.
- to surround; hem in: a village beset on all sides by dense forest.
- to set or place upon; bestud: a gold bracelet beset with jewels.
- Nautical. to surround (a vessel) by ice, so that control of the helm is lost.
Origin of beset
SynonymsSee more synonyms for beset on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for beset
I suspect that the new Tarzan will run into the same problems that beset the recent Lone Ranger remake.Can Tarzan of the Apes Survive in a Post-Colonial World?
November 23, 2014
We may be beset by deep political divisions, but the moderate, outward-looking center is large; not a fringe section of society.Beirut Letter: In Lebanon, Fighting ISIS With Culture and Satire
September 22, 2014
Stringer depicts a country that is beset by complications of both past imperialism and current globalism.This Week’s Hot Reads: Feb. 24, 2014
February 24, 2014
India, for example, is still very poor and beset by many ethnic and religious divides, yet has a thriving democracy.Why Democracy Will Struggle In The Arab World In 2014
January 12, 2014
In her speech, Rice mentioned Iraq once, as a “fragile democracy” beset by “internal strife and hostile neighbors.”The Wars Condoleezza Rice & John McCain Left Out of Their RNC Speeches
August 30, 2012
They are putty in the hands of the fears and forces that beset them from without.The Conquest of Fear
Touring it through the Causses seemed, indeed, beset with difficulties.The Roof of France
He was beset on either side by the merciless fangs of his erstwhile comrades.White Fang
Such was his own experience that he was beset by the gravest doubts.The Law-Breakers
I have been so hunted and beset by this man, that I knew my only hope of safety lay in joining them.Barnaby Rudge
- (esp of dangers, temptations, or difficulties) to trouble or harass constantly
- to surround or attack from all sides
- archaic to cover with, esp with jewels
Word Origin and History for beset
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.