1

beat

verb \ ˈbēt \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of beat

beat; beaten play \ˈbē-tᵊn\ or beat; beating
transitive verb
1 : to strike repeatedly:
a : to hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain
  • He was arrested for beating his wife.
often used with up
  • … thugs and brutes who beat up their victims without compunction …
  • —J. H. Plumb
b : to walk on : tread
  • beat the pavement looking for work
c : to strike directly against forcefully and repeatedly : dash against
  • waves beating the shore
  • beat the door with her fists
d : to flap or thrash at vigorously
  • a trapped bird beating the air
e hunting : to strike at in order to rouse game
  • beating a hedgerow
; also : to range over in or as if in quest of game
  • beat the woods and rouse the bounding prey …
  • —Matthew Prior
f : to mix by stirring : whip
  • beat the eggs
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 through the woods
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
  • beating out a rhythm on the conga
3 : to cause to strike or flap repeatedly
  • a bird beating its wings
4 a : overcome, defeat
  • beat the insurgents in a bloody battle
  • beating your opponent in chess
  • They beat us 14 to 3.
; also : surpass
  • She beat the old record by three seconds.
often used with out
  • Someone else beat her out for the job.
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
  • Years of failure had beaten him down.
e : cheat, swindle
  • beat him out of his inheritance
5 a (1) : to act ahead of usually so as to forestall
  • I was going to make the suggestion, but she beat me to it.
(2) journalism : to report a news item in advance of
  • beat the other networks
b : to come or arrive before
  • I beat him to the finish line.
c : circumvent
  • beat the system
d sports : to outmaneuver (a defender) and get free
  • The player attempts to beat the defender and score.
e sports : to score against (a goalkeeper)
6 : to produce (music or a signal) by striking something repeatedly : to indicate by beating
  • beat the tempo
intransitive verb
1 a : to become forcefully propelled forward : dash
  • waves beating against the shore
b : to glare or strike with oppressive intensity
  • The sun beat down on us.
c : to sustain distracting activity
  • … the turbulence of the Renaissance … beating about his head …
  • —Douglas Stewart
d : to strike a drum repeatedly : to beat a drum
  • The drummers kept beating.
2 a (1) : pulsate, throb
  • Her heart beat wildly.
(2) : tick
  • the beating of a clock
b : to sound upon being struck
  • the sound of a beating drum
3 a : to strike repeated blows
  • beating on the door
  • … their air attack still beating upon us …
  • —Sir Winston Churchill
b : to strike the air : flap
  • The bird's wings beat frantically.
c hunting : to strike bushes or other cover in order to rouse game; also : to range or scour for or as if for game
4 : to progress with much difficulty
5 nautical : to sail to windward by a series of zigzag movements
  • beating along the coast

beatable

play \ˈbē-tə-bəl\ adjective
beat about the bush or beat around the bush
: to fail or refuse to come to the point in discourse
  • Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you want.
beat a retreat
: to leave in haste
beat it
1 : to hurry away : scram
2 : hurry, rush
beat one's brains out
: to try intently to resolve something difficult by thinking
  • I beat my brains out trying to figure it out.
beat the bushes
: to search thoroughly through all possible areas
beat the drum
: to proclaim as meritorious or significant : publicize vigorously
  • beating the drum for their candidate
beat the pants off
: to defeat or surpass overwhelmingly
  • We vowed to beat the pants off them next time.
beat the rap
: to escape or evade the penalties connected with an accusation or charge
beat up on
: to attack physically or verbally
  • She was getting beat up on by her critics.
to beat the band
: in a very energetic or forceful manner
  • talking away to beat the band

Examples of beat in a Sentence

  1. He beat the dust out of the rug with a stick.

  2. She used a hammer to beat the metal into shape.

  3. She used a hammer to beat the nail into the wall.

  4. The dented metal was beaten flat.

  5. The waves were beating the shore.

  6. He beat at the door with his fists.

  7. The waves were beating on the shore.

  8. The rain beat on the roof.

  9. They beat him with clubs.

  10. a man accused of beating his wife

Recent Examples of beat from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of beat

Middle English beten, from Old English bēatan; akin to Old High German bōzan to beat


2

beat

noun

Definition of beat

1 a : a single stroke or blow especially in a series
  • a single beat on a drum
; also : pulsation, tick
b : a sound produced by or as if by beating (see 1beat)
  • dance to the beat of the drums
  • listening to the beat of his heart
c : a driving impact or force
  • … the full force of the surf beat
  • —Joyce Allan
  • … the fierce beat of the eastern sun.
  • —T. B. Costain
2 : one swing of the pendulum or balance (see 1balance 9) of a timepiece
3 a : a regularly traversed round (see 3round 6a)
  • a cop patrolling her beat
b journalism : a group of news sources that a reporter covers regularly
  • a reporter on the beat
4 a : a metrical or rhythmic stress in poetry or music or the rhythmic effect of these stresses
  • four beats per bar
  • keeping a steady beat
b music : the tempo indicated (as by a conductor) to a musical performer
c music : the pronounced rhythm (see rhythm 2b) that is the characteristic driving force in some types of music (such as jazz or rock)
  • music with a Latin beat
; also : 2rock 2
5 a : one that excels
  • I've never seen the beat of it
b journalism : the reporting of a news story ahead of competitors
6 : deadbeat
7 nautical
a : an act of sailing toward the side or direction from which the wind is blowing by a series of zigzag movements : an act of beating (see 1beat intransitive 5) to windward
b : one of the reaches (see 2reach 1) in the zigzag course so traversed : tack
8 physics : each of the pulsations of amplitude (see amplitude 1a) produced by the union of sound or radio waves or electric currents having different frequencies
9 dance : an accented stroke (as of one leg or foot against the other)
10 : moment
  • waited a beat before responding

beatless

play \-ləs\ adjective
miss a beat
chiefly US : to have difficulty in continuing : to stop or hesitate briefly often used in negative constructions
  • A few minutes later, the power cuts out …, but Achmed doesn't miss a beat; clearly, he's used to this.
  • —Eric Weiner

Recent Examples of beat from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of beat

noun derivative of 1beat


3

beat

adjective

Definition of beat

1 a : being in a state of exhaustion : exhausted
  • Sometimes I'd be so beat that I'd flop down and go to sleep fully dressed.
  • —Polly Adler
b : sapped of resolution or morale
2 often capitalized
[earliest in beat generation; perhaps in part by association with 2beat in sense "pronounced rhythm" or -beat in 1deadbeat]
: of, relating to, or being beatniks
  • beat poets

Examples of beat in a Sentence

  1. Let me sit down. I'm absolutely beat!

  2. can we pick this up tomorrow, because I'm beat?

Origin and Etymology of beat

from past participle of 1beat


4

beat

noun, often capitalized

Definition of beat

Origin and Etymology of beat

from 3beat in beat generation, or by shortening of beatnik


BEAT Defined for English Language Learners

beat

verb

Definition of beat for English Language Learners

  • : to hit (something) repeatedly

  • : to hit (someone) repeatedly in order to cause pain or injury

  • : to hit (a drum) repeatedly in order to produce music or a signal


beat

adjective

Definition of beat for English Language Learners

  • : very tired


BEAT Defined for Kids

1

beat

verb \ ˈbēt \

Definition of beat for Students

beat; beaten \ˈbē-tᵊn\ or beat; beating
1 : to hit or strike again and again
  • beat a drum
  • waves beating the shore
2 : to hit repeatedly in order to cause pain or injury
  • They beat him with sticks.
often used with up
  • Little Dusty froze as the older boys quarreled. He knew Johnny could beat up Dove any time he chose.
  • —Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain
3 : to mix by stirring rapidly
  • beat eggs
4 : to win against : defeat
  • beat the enemy
5 : to come, arrive, or act before
  • I beat him to the finish line.
6 : 1throb 3, pulsate
  • Her heart was still beating.
7 : to flap against
  • wings beating the air
8 : to move with an up and down motion : flap
  • The bird beat its wings.
9 : to do or be better than
  • You can't beat that for fun.
10 : to be beyond the understanding of
  • It beats me how she does it.
11 : to make by walking or riding over
  • beat a path

beater

noun
beat it
: to go away quickly

2

beat

noun

Definition of beat for Students

1 : a blow or a stroke made again and again
2 : a single pulse (as of the heart)
3 : a sound produced by or as if by beating
  • the beat of drums
the beat of waves against the rock
4 : a measurement of time in music : an accent or regular pattern of accents in music or poetry
5 : an area or place regularly visited or traveled through as part of a job
  • a police officer's beat

3

beat

adjective

Definition of beat for Students

: very tired

Medical Dictionary

1

beat

intransitive verb \ ˈbēt \

medical Definition of beat

beat; beaten play \ˈbēt-ᵊn\ or beat; beating

2

beat

noun

medical Definition of beat

: a single stroke or pulsation (as of the heart)
  • ectopic beats
— see extrasystole


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