be·​set | \ bi-ˈset How to pronounce beset (audio) , bē- \
beset; besetting

Definition of beset

transitive verb

1 : to set or stud with or as if with ornaments a crown beset with rubies … leaves, whose edges were beset with thorns …— J. G. Frazer
2 : trouble, harass inflation besets the economy
3a : to set upon : assail the explorers were beset by wolves
b : to hem in : surround a town beset with high mountains

Other Words from beset

besetment \ bi-​ˈset-​mənt How to pronounce beset (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Examples of beset in a Sentence

A lack of money is the greatest problem besetting the city today. he's been beset by a lack of self-confidence virtually his entire life
Recent Examples on the Web With the bilateral relationship beset with problems, Beijing sees little interest in helping the U.S. with Russia, according to foreign-policy experts close to the Chinese government. Alex Leary And Lingling Wei, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2022 The small town is just one of many south suburbs beset with aging infrastructure that is prone to leaks and water loss for which residents, nonetheless, still pay. Jade Yan,, 8 Nov. 2021 The European Parliament has voted by a large margin to give the European Union’s final approval to a Brexit deal already beset by difficulties, complaints and a court challenge. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2021 The Biden administration has, on the other hand, expanded TPS eligibility to more than 400,000 immigrants, including Venezuelans and Haitians who fled the respective political and economic calamities that have beset their homelands in recent years. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 24 Feb. 2022 The supply chain snarls and product shortages that have beset the economy since the pandemic hit have been, among other things, huge time wasters. Justin Lahart, WSJ, 3 Feb. 2022 The move addresses one of the few remaining criticisms against the Recording Academy that beset its problematic past few years: the absence of an in-house counsel. Jem Aswad, Variety, 19 Jan. 2022 But offstage, they have been hampered by problems that typically beset smaller arts organizations. Mary Carole Mccauley,, 17 Dec. 2021 The team in 10th place, New Orleans, had a notion of going hard after the play-in but has been beset by injury and illness. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 14 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of beset

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beset

Middle English besetten, from Old English besettan, from be- + settan to set

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The first known use of beset was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Beset.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for beset


be·​set | \ bi-ˈset How to pronounce beset (audio) \
beset; besetting

Kids Definition of beset

1 : to attack violently The traveler was beset by wild beasts.
2 : surround sense 1 a moon beset with clouds
3 : to cause problems or difficulties for Doubts beset him.

More from Merriam-Webster on beset

Nglish: Translation of beset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beset for Arabic Speakers


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