Essential Meaning of beat
1 : to hit (something) repeatedly He beat the door with his fists. = He beat his fists against/on the door. He beat the dusty rug with a stick. = He beat a stick against the dusty rug. See More ExamplesHe beat the dust out of the rug with a stick. She used a hammer to beat the metal into shape. She used a hammer to beat the nail into the wall. The dented metal was beaten flat. The waves were beating the shore. He beat at/against/on the door with his fists. The waves were beating on/against the shore. The rain beat on the roof.
2 : to hit (someone) repeatedly in order to cause pain or injury They beat him with clubs. He was beaten badly/savagely/brutally. See More Examplesa man accused of beating his wife They beat him to the ground. [=they hit him repeatedly and he fell to the ground] They threatened to beat the (living) daylights out of him. [=to beat him very badly] He was beaten to death.
3 : to hit (a drum) repeatedly in order to produce music or a signal The drummer kept beating his drum. the sound of a beaten drum See More ExamplesThey beat (out) a message on their drums. The drum kept beating (out) its rhythm. The drummer kept beating. The drum kept beating. the sound of a beating drum
Full Definition of beat
(Entry 1 of 4)
1 : to strike repeatedly:
a : to hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain Inmates were put in solitary for beating other inmates. —often used with up … brutes who beat up their victims without compunction …— J. H. Plumb
b : to walk on : tread beat the pavement looking for work
c : to strike directly against forcefully and repeatedly : dash against waves beating the shore beat the door with her fists
d : to flap or thrash at vigorously a trapped bird beating the air
e hunting : to strike at in order to rouse game beating a hedgerow also : to range over in or as if in quest of game … beat the woods and rouse the bounding prey … — Matthew Prior
f : to mix by stirring : whip beat the eggs —often used with up
g : to strike repeatedly in order to produce music or a signal beat a drum
2a : to drive or force by blows beat back his attackers
b : to pound into a powder, paste, or pulp
c : to make by repeated treading or driving over beat a path through the woods
d(1) : to dislodge by repeated hitting beat dust from the carpet
(2) : to lodge securely by repeated striking beat a stake into the ground
e : to shape by beating beat swords into plowshares especially : to flatten thin by blows
f : to sound or express especially by drumbeat beating out a rhythm on the conga
3 : to cause to strike or flap repeatedly a bird beating its wings
b : to prevail despite beat the odds
5a(1) : to act ahead of usually so as to forestall I was going to make the suggestion, but she beat me to it.
(2) journalism : to report a news item in advance of beat the other networks
b : to come or arrive before I beat him to the finish line.
c : circumvent beat the system
d sports : to outmaneuver (a defender) and get free The player attempts to beat the defender and score.
e sports : to score against (a goalkeeper)
6 : to produce (music or a signal) by striking something repeatedly : to indicate by beating beat the tempo
1a : to become forcefully propelled forward : dash waves beating against the shore
b : to glare or strike with oppressive intensity The sun beat down on us.
c : to sustain distracting activity … the turbulence of the Renaissance … beating about his head …— Douglas Stewart
d : to strike a drum repeatedly : to beat a drum The drummers kept beating.
b : to sound upon being struck the sound of a beating drum
3a : to strike repeated blows beating on the door … their air attack still beating upon us …— Sir Winston Churchill
b : to strike the air : flap The bird's wings beat frantically.
c hunting : to strike bushes or other cover in order to rouse game also : to range or scour for or as if for game
4 : to progress with much difficulty
5 nautical : to sail to windward by a series of zigzag movements beating along the coast
beat about the bush or beat around the bushbeat a retreatbeat it beat one's brains outbeat the bushesbeat the drumbeat the pants offbeat the rapbeat up onto beat the band
: to fail or refuse to come to the point in discourse Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you want.
: to leave in haste
: to try intently to resolve something difficult by thinking I beat my brains out trying to figure it out.
: to search thoroughly through all possible areas
: to proclaim as meritorious or significant : publicize vigorously beating the drum for their candidate
: to defeat or surpass overwhelmingly We vowed to beat the pants off them next time.
: to escape or evade the penalties connected with an accusation or charge
: to attack physically or verbally She was getting beat up on by her critics.
: in a very energetic or forceful manner talking away to beat the band
Definition of beat (Entry 2 of 4)
b : a sound produced by or as if by beating (see beat entry 1) dance to the beat of the drums listening to the beat of his heart
c : a driving impact or force … the full force of the surf beat …— Joyce Allan … the fierce beat of the eastern sun.— T. B. Costain
2 : one swing of the pendulum or balance (see balance entry 1 sense 9) of a timepiece
3a : a regularly traversed round (see round entry 3 sense 6a) a cop patrolling her beat
b journalism : a group of news sources that a reporter covers regularly a reporter on the beat
4a : a metrical or rhythmic stress in poetry or music or the rhythmic effect of these stresses four beats per bar keeping a steady beat
b music : the tempo indicated (as by a conductor) to a musical performer
5a : one that excels I've never seen the beat of it
b journalism : the reporting of a news story ahead of competitors
6 : deadbeat
a : an act of sailing toward the side or direction from which the wind is blowing by a series of zigzag movements : an act of beating (see beat entry 1 sense intransitive 5) to windward
9 dance : an accented stroke (as of one leg or foot against the other)
10 : moment waited a beat before responding
miss a beat
chiefly US : to have difficulty in continuing : to stop or hesitate briefly —often used in negative constructions A few minutes later, the power cuts out …, but Achmed doesn't miss a beat; clearly, he's used to this.— Eric Weiner
Definition of beat (Entry 3 of 4)
1a : being in a state of exhaustion : exhausted Sometimes I'd be so beat that I'd flop down and go to sleep fully dressed.— Polly Adler
b : sapped of resolution or morale
beatnoun (2), often capitalized
Definition of beat (Entry 4 of 4)
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