(beat; beaten or beat; beating)
Etymology: Middle English beten, from Old English bēatan; akin to Old High German bōzan to beat
Date: before 12th century
1. to strike repeatedly:
a. to hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain — often used with up
b. to walk on ; tread <beat the pavement looking for work> c. to strike directly against forcefully and repeatedly ; dash against d. to flap or thrash at vigorously e. to strike at in order to rouse game; also to range over in or as if in quest of game f. to mix by stirring ; whip — often used with up g. to strike repeatedly in order to produce music or a signal <beat a drum> 2. a. to drive or force by blows <beat back his attackers> b. to pound into a powder, paste, or pulp c. to make by repeated treading or driving over <beat a path> d. (1) to dislodge by repeated hitting <beat dust from the carpet> (2) to lodge securely by repeated striking <beat a stake into the ground> e. to shape by beating <beat swords into plowshares>; especially to flatten thin by blows f. to sound or express especially by drumbeat 3. to cause to strike or flap repeatedly <a bird beating its wings> 4. a. overcome, defeat; also surpass — often used with out b. to prevail despite <beat the odds> c. bewilder, baffle <it beats me how she does it> d. (1) fatigue, exhaust (2) to leave dispirited, irresolute, or hopeless e. cheat, swindle 5. a. (1) to act ahead of usually so as to forestall (2) to report a news item in advance of b. to come or arrive before c. circumvent <beat the system> d. to outmaneuver (a defender) and get free e. to score against (a goalkeeper) 6. to indicate by beating <beat the tempo> intransitive verb 1. a. to become forcefully impelled ; dash b. to glare or strike with oppressive intensity c. to sustain distracting activity d. to beat a drum 2. a. (1) pulsate, throb (2) tick b. to sound upon being struck 3. a. to strike repeated blows <beating on the door> b. to strike the air ; flap c. to strike cover in order to rouse game; also to range or scour for or as if for game 4. to progress with much difficulty 5. to sail to windward by a series of tacks • beatable adjective II. noun Date: 1615 1. a. a single stroke or blow especially in a series; also pulsation, tick b. a sound produced by or as if by beating c. a driving impact or force 2. one swing of the pendulum or balance of a timepiece 3. a. a regularly traversed round <the cop on the beat> b. a group of news sources that a reporter covers regularly 4. a. a metrical or rhythmic stress in poetry or music or the rhythmic effect of these stresses b. the tempo indicated (as by a conductor) to a musical performer c. the pronounced rhythm that is the characteristic driving force in some types of music (as jazz or rock); also rock II,2 5. a. one that excels <I've never seen the beat of it> b. the reporting of a news story ahead of competitors 6. deadbeat 7. a. an act of beating to windward b. one of the reaches so traversed ; tack 8. each of the pulsations of amplitude produced by the union of sound or radio waves or electric currents having different frequencies 9. an accented stroke (as of one leg or foot against the other) in dancing 10. moment <waited a beat before responding> • beatless adjective III. adjective Etymology: Middle English beten, bete, from past participle of beten Date: 1832 1. a. being in a state of exhaustion ; exhausted b. sapped of resolution or morale 2. often capitalized of, relating to, or being beatniks <beat poets> IV. noun Usage: often capitalized Date: 1957 beatnik
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.