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 browbeaten

Contemporary Examples of browbeaten

Historical Examples of browbeaten

  • Let us, therefore, not be browbeaten by civilization on account of its antiquity.

  • He had learned that the students would not be browbeaten or bullied.

    Breaking Away

    Oliver Optic

  • From that time forth it was recognized that he was not the sort of man to be browbeaten.

  • He was not one to be browbeaten or cheated, and he resolved to fight out the battle.

    Tom, The Bootblack

    Horatio Alger

  • She was a haughty old dame, but she was browbeaten by her maid.

    Mistress Anne

    Temple Bailey

British Dictionary definitions for browbeaten


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 browbeaten



"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