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

to intimidate by overbearing looks or words; bully: They browbeat him into agreeing.

Origin of browbeat

First recorded in 1575–85; brow + beat
Related formsbrow·beat·er, noun

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

Examples from the Web for browbeat

Contemporary Examples of browbeat

Historical Examples of browbeat

  • Can he courteously talk to an equal, and browbeat an impudent dunce?

    Farm Ballads

    Will Carleton

  • Still, he said, it was a mistake for a man to allow events to browbeat him.

    Dwellers in the Hills

    Melville Davisson Post

  • I have to browbeat, bribe, blackmail and bulldoze you thugs into doing a simple job.

    The Repairman

    Harry Harrison

  • I'm not here to browbeat you, Mr. Worthington, or lie to you.

    The White Desert

    Courtney Ryley Cooper

  • Wolsey had raised a storm in 1523 by trying to browbeat the House of Commons.

    Henry VIII.

    A. F. Pollard

British Dictionary definitions for browbeat


verb -beats, -beating, -beat or -beaten

(tr) to discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate
Derived Formsbrowbeater, 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 browbeat

"to bully," originally "to bear down with stern or arrogant looks," 1580s, from brow + beat (v.).

[I]t appears from the earliest quotations ... that the brow in question was that of the beater, not of the beaten party; but it is not evident whether the meaning was 'to beat with one's (frowning) brows,' or 'to beat (?lower) one's brows at.' [OED]

Related: Browbeaten; browbeating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper