[ bee-zuh m ]
/ ˈbi zəm /


a broom, especially one of brush or twigs.

Nearby words

  1. beslan,
  2. beslobber,
  3. besmear,
  4. besmirch,
  5. besnier-boeck-schaumann disease,
  6. besom pocket,
  7. besot,
  8. besotted,
  9. besought,
  10. bespake

Origin of besom

before 1000; Middle English besem, Old English bes(e)ma; cognate with Dutch bezem, German Besen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for besom

British Dictionary definitions for besom


/ (ˈbiːzəm) /


a broom, esp one made of a bundle of twigs tied to a handle
curling a broom or brush used to sweep the ice in front of the stone to make it slide farther

verb (tr)

to sweep with a besom

Word Origin for besom

Old English besma; related to Old High German besmo broom


Scot and Northern English dialect a derogatory term for a woman

Word Origin for besom

perhaps from Old English bysen example; related to Old Norse bysn wonder

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 besom



Old English besma "bundle of twigs" (used as a broom or a flail), from West Germanic *besmon (cf. Old Frisian besma, Old Saxon besmo, Old High German besmo, German Besen, Dutch bezem), of unknown origin. Perhaps "something bound or twisted," from PIE *bheidh-.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper