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

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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 Darvish, through a translator, eventually expressed his appreciation for the support fans extended through social media during his first 1½ seasons that was beset with wildness and injuries. Mark Gonzales,, "Yu Darvish gets emotional talking about his time with the Chicago Cubs and says he was ‘pretty shocked’ to be traded to the San Diego Padres," 31 Dec. 2020 The group usually helps farmers beset by injuries, illness or natural disasters, but volunteers have this year been helping those taken out of commission by COVID-19. David Pitt, Star Tribune, "Farm Rescue shifts to help farmers sickened by coronavirus," 26 Nov. 2020 In a joint statement Monday, the cities' mayors said the move is a political stunt meant to punish Democratic cities beset by crisis brought by a deadly pandemic and protests that have stretched into several months. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Cities of anarchy," 21 Sep. 2020 Last school year, long before young demonstrators marched through the nation’s capital, protesting the inequities that leave their schools and neighborhoods beset by trauma, students at Anacostia High held a small rally of their own in October. Washington Post, "Their classmates are murdered, then they take the SATs: How gun violence shapes academics," 24 Aug. 2020 Trump’s nomination speech four years ago described an America in ruins: hobbled by economic mismanagement, beset by civil unrest, disrespected around the world, and undermined by hostile foreign powers. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "If Donald Trump Can’t Make History, He’ll Steal It Instead," 12 Aug. 2020 The damage inflicted on Arecibo by Hurricane Maria came at a particularly inopportune time for the observatory, which was beset with major funding problems at the time. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "The Iconic Arecibo Telescope Goes Quiet After Major Damage," 12 Aug. 2020 But the process of implementing these programs - together marking one of the largest relief packages in U.S. history - already has been beset by delays. Tony Romm, Rachel Siegel, Anchorage Daily News, "Treasury, White House face enormous pressure to quickly disburse stimulus aid after Trump’s delay," 28 Dec. 2020 The jail is reportedly beset by an outbreak of COVID-19. Paul Rusesabagina with his family on New Year's Eve last year. Kimberly Dozier, Time, "Diplomats, Family Push for Release of Detained 'Hotel Rwanda' Hero," 23 Dec. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for beset

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for beset

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Beset.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for beset


How to pronounce beset (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of beset

: to cause problems or difficulties for (someone or something)


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.

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