be·​sot | \ bi-ˈsät How to pronounce besot (audio) , bē- \
besotted; besotting

Definition of besot

transitive verb

1 : infatuate sense 2 was besotted by her purely carnal attractionsTimes Literary Supplement
2 : to make dull or stupid … was not so besotted as to take his … word for it …— A. M. Young especially : to muddle with drunkenness all ready besotted with drink

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Besot developed from a combination of the prefix be- ("to cause to be") and "sot," a now-archaic verb meaning "to cause to appear foolish or stupid." "Sot" in turn comes from the Middle English noun sott, meaning "fool." The first known use of "besot" is found in a poem by George Turberville, published in 1567. In the poem the narrator describes how he gazed at a beautiful stranger "till use of sense was fled." He then proceeds to compare himself to Aegisthus of Greek legend, the lover of Clytemnestra while Agamemnon was away at war, writing: "What forced the Fool to love / his beastly idle life / Was cause that he besotted was / of Agamemnon’s Wife."

First Known Use of besot

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for besot

be- + sot (to stultify)

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Cite this Entry

“Besot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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