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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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cow, badger, tyrannize, harass, coerce.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for browbeating

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 browbeating

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