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 besetment (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 Instead of gaining health during their longest break of the season, the Celtics were beset with potential depth issues., "Yes, Williams, the rookie who missed 27 of his first 28 3-point attempts, drained his 29th attempt, a 3-ball that gave the Celtics the lead in a rewarding, 109-103, win at American Airlines Center on Wednesday night.," 20 Dec. 2019 In a town beset with whiplash-inducing cultural changes, the mighty Slim Cessna’s Auto Club offers a comfortingly solid, old-Denver party for New Year’s Eve. John Wenzel, The Know, "The best New Year’s Eve 2019 live music to see in Denver and beyond," 19 Dec. 2019 In this case, the solution to the four-particle interaction equation at first appears to be beset with infinities. Quanta Magazine, "Why the Laws of Physics Are Inevitable," 9 Dec. 2019 Jo Bowis Pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding are all beset with contradictions. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Documenting the comedy, beauty, and pain of pumping breastmilk at work," 30 Aug. 2019 East Cleveland’s police department, perennially short-staffed, has been beset by a string of controversies in recent years. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "‘It wasn’t right’: Woman says East Cleveland police sergeant released her from jail in return for a date," 8 Dec. 2019 Horse racing has been beset by scandal due to a rash of equine deaths, causing the iconic Santa Anita track in Southern California to temporarily cancel all races early this year. oregonlive, "With Portland Meadows gone, horse racing moves to Grants Pass, with first season deemed ‘outstanding success’," 8 Dec. 2019 Indeed, an ongoing national identification card drive has been beset by processing delays and hiccups with data collection. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigeria is finally turning to telcos to drive financial inclusion through mobile money," 10 Oct. 2019 Her first term has been beset with employee disputes, resulting in three lawsuits filed by deputies. Scott Huddleston,, "Despite judge’s order, commissioners push forward to replace controversial constable," 30 Sep. 2019

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

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Beset.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on beset

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beset

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beset

Spanish Central: Translation of beset

Nglish: Translation of beset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beset for Arabic Speakers

Comments on beset

What made you want to look up beset? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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