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 With the news starting point guard Reggie Jackson will miss a month (probably more) with a stress reaction in his lower back, adding to the team’s injury issues, all worst-case scenarios were besetting the Pistons. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons mailbag: Will Reggie Jackson be around by season's end?," 4 Nov. 2019 Elizabeth Warren has built her top-polling presidential campaign on her reputation as a liberal fighter and iconoclast willing to take on the biggest inequities besetting the middle class. Abigail Abrams, Time, "Elizabeth Warren's Plan to Pay for Health Care Shows How She's Different Than Bernie Sanders," 1 Nov. 2019 Probably the worst lineup of the Klopp era, Jurgen - admittedly beset by an injury crisis - showed his indifference for the domestic cups early on with his first ever FA Cup lineup., "5 of Liverpool's Scariest Lineups (for Their Own Fans) of Recent Times This Halloween," 31 Oct. 2019 Donald Trump has no speaking part in this dark, sometimes serio-comic, take on Russia’s malevolent role in the turmoil besetting Western democracies. Richard Lipez,, "John le Carré’s new thriller takes aim at Trump, Brexit and the Russia mess," 24 Oct. 2019 Among them: his distinctively puffy-eyed, beset-upon expression of suffering, and an ability to slide deftly into explosive frustration. NBC News, "'Maude' co-star, character actor Bill Macy dies at 97," 18 Oct. 2019 Trump himself has no speaking part in this dark, sometimes serio-comic, take on Russia’s malevolent role in the turmoil besetting Western democracies. Richard Lipez, Washington Post, "John le Carré’s new thriller takes aim at Trump, Brexit and the Russia mess," 17 Oct. 2019 The town languished again in the fourteenth century, beset, like the rest of the country, by civil unrest that followed the Black Death, which eliminated up to half of Britain’s population. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "A Visit to the Pro-Brexit Coastal Town of Hartlepool," 30 Sep. 2019 With depressed milk prices besetting Wisconsin’s thousands of dairy operations, the state has led the country in farm bankruptcies in recent years. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Farm Bureau report: Wisconsin again leads nation in family farm bankruptcies," 23 Aug. 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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Statistics for beset

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for beset

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

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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

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