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browbeat

[brou-beet]
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verb (used with object), brow·beat, brow·beat·en, brow·beat·ing.
  1. to intimidate by overbearing looks or words; bully: They browbeat him into agreeing.
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Origin of browbeat

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

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

bullyhectorintimidatecoerceharassoppressbadgercowfrightenbludgeontyrannizethreatenbulldozeblusterdomineeroverawedragoonoverbear

Examples from the Web for browbeat

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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

browbeat

verb -beats, -beating, -beat or -beaten
  1. (tr) to discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate
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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

v.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper