[ bih-set-ing ]
/ bɪˈsɛt ɪŋ /


constantly assailing or obsessing, as with temptation: a besetting sin.

Origin of besetting

First recorded in 1540–50; beset + -ing2

Definition for besetting (2 of 2)


[ bih-set ]
/ bɪˈsɛt /

verb (used with object), be·set, be·set·ting.

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

before 1000; Middle English besetten, Old English besettan. See be-, set

Related forms

be·set·ment, nounbe·set·ter, nounpre·be·set, verb (used with object), pre·be·set, pre·be·set·ting.un·be·set, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for besetting

British Dictionary definitions for besetting (1 of 2)


/ (bɪˈsɛtɪŋ) /


tempting, harassing, or assailing (esp in the phrase besetting sin)

British Dictionary definitions for besetting (2 of 2)


/ (bɪˈsɛt) /

verb -sets, -setting or -set (tr)

(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

Derived Forms

besetter, 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