beat

Beat can mean “hit repeatedly,” “stir vigorously,” or “defeat.” A beat can also be a rhythmic pulse, a physical blow, or a funky poet. In terms of number of definitions, it’s hard to beat this little word.

Along with its many definitions, beat is featured in a wide variety of idioms. If someone tells you to "beat it," he wants you to go away. If you "beat around the bush," you're not getting to the point. If you "beat the clock," you finish something just in time. One thing beat is not, however, is a nutritious, red root. That's a beet.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: beat

1
vn
hit repeatedly
a stroke or blow
2
v
come out better in a competition, race, or conflict
3
vadj
wear out completely
very tired
4
v
be a mystery or bewildering to
5
n
a regular route for a sentry or policeman
6
n
a member of the beat generation; a nonconformist in dress and behavior
7
vn
sail with much tacking or with difficulty
the act of beating to windward; sailing as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: beat
1

v hit repeatedly

beat on the door”
beat the table with his shoe”
Types:
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full
beat for the purpose of cleaning and thickening
beetle
beat with a beetle
bastinado
beat somebody on the soles of the feet
coldcock, deck, dump, floor, knock down
knock down with force
whang
beat with force
paste
hit with the fists
thrash, thresh
beat the seeds out of a grain
hammer
beat with or as if with a hammer
sledge, sledgehammer
beat with a sledgehammer
Type of:
strike
deliver a sharp blow, as with the hand, fist, or weapon

v give a beating to; subject to a beating, either as a punishment or as an act of aggression

“Thugs beat him up when he walked down the street late at night”
“The teacher used to beat the students”
Synonyms:
beat up, work over
Types:
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strong-arm
use physical force against
soak
beat severely
pistol-whip
beat with a pistol
belabor, belabour
beat soundly
rough up
treat violently
flog, lash, lather, slash, strap, trounce, welt, whip
beat severely with a whip or rod
cane, flog, lambast, lambaste
beat with a cane
kayo, knock cold, knock out
knock unconscious or senseless
flail, lam, thrash, thresh
give a thrashing to; beat hard
baste, batter, clobber
strike violently and repeatedly
larrup, paddle, spank
give a spanking to; subject to a spanking
flagellate, scourge
whip
leather
whip with a leather strap
horsewhip
whip with a whip intended for horses
switch
flog with or as if with a flexible rod
cowhide
flog with a cowhide
cat
beat with a cat-o'-nine-tails
birch
whip with a birch twig

v produce a rhythm by striking repeatedly

beat the drum”
Type of:
play
perform music on (a musical instrument)

v strike (a part of one's own body) repeatedly, as in great emotion or in accompaniment to music

beat one's breast”
beat one's foot rhythmically”
Type of:
strike
deliver a sharp blow, as with the hand, fist, or weapon

v move rhythmically

“Her heart was beating fast”
Synonyms:
pound, thump
Types:
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pulsate, pulse, throb
expand and contract rhythmically; beat rhythmically
flutter, palpitate
beat rapidly
thrash
beat so fast that (the heart's) output starts dropping until (it) does not manage to pump out blood at all
flap
move noisily
Type of:
move
move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

v make a rhythmic sound

“The drums beat all night”
Synonyms:
drum, thrum
Type of:
go, sound
make a certain noise or sound

v move with or as if with a regular alternating motion

Synonyms:
pulsate, quiver
pulsate, pulse, throb
expand and contract rhythmically; beat rhythmically
Type of:
move
move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

v indicate by beating, as with the fingers or drumsticks

Beat the rhythm”
Synonyms
pound, thump
move rhythmically
drum, thrum
make a rhythmic sound
Types:
beat out, tap out, thump out
beat out a rhythm

v move with a thrashing motion

“The eagle beat its wings and soared high into the sky”
Synonyms:
flap
flap
move with a flapping motion
Types:
flutter
flap the wings rapidly or fly with flapping movements
bate
flap the wings wildly or frantically; used of falcons
clap
cause to strike the air in flight
Type of:
displace, move
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

v move with a flapping motion

Synonyms:
flap
flap
move with a thrashing motion
Types:
flail, thresh
move like a flail; thresh about
clap
strike the air in flight
Type of:
move
move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

v stir vigorously

beat the egg whites”
beat the cream”
Synonyms:
scramble
Types:
whip, whisk
whip with or as if with a wire whisk
cream
make creamy by beating
Type of:
agitate, commove, disturb, raise up, shake up, stir up, vex
change the arrangement or position of

v glare or strike with great intensity

“The sun was beating down on us”
Type of:
glare
shine intensely

v make a sound like a clock or a timer

“the grandfather clock beat midnight”
Synonyms:
tick, ticktack, ticktock
Type of:
go, sound
make a certain noise or sound

v shape by beating

beat swords into ploughshares”
Types:
forge, hammer
create by hammering
foliate
hammer into thin flat foils
dropforge
forge with a dropforge
Type of:
forge, form, mold, mould, shape, work
make something, usually for a specific function

v make by pounding or trampling

beat a path through the forest”
Type of:
create, make
make or cause to be or to become

v strike (water or bushes) repeatedly to rouse animals for hunting

n a stroke or blow

“the signal was two beats on the steam pipe”
Type of:
stroke
a single complete movement

n the sound of stroke or blow

“he heard the beat of a drum”
Type of:
sound
the sudden occurrence of an audible event

n a regular rate of repetition

“the cox raised the beat
Type of:
pace, rate
the relative speed of progress or change

n the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart

“he could feel the beat of her heart”
Synonyms:
heartbeat, pulsation, pulse
Types:
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diastole
the widening of the chambers of the heart between two contractions when the chambers fill with blood
systole
the contraction of the chambers of the heart (especially the ventricles) to drive blood into the aorta and pulmonary artery
pounding, throb, throbbing
an instance of rapid strong pulsation (of the heart)
extrasystole
a premature systole resulting in a momentary cardiac arrhythmia
Type of:
periodic event, recurrent event
an event that recurs at intervals

n the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music

“the conductor set the beat
Synonyms:
musical rhythm, rhythm
Types:
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backbeat
a loud steady beat
downbeat
the first beat of a musical measure (as the conductor's arm moves downward)
offbeat, upbeat
an unaccented beat (especially the last beat of a measure)
syncopation
a musical rhythm accenting a normally weak beat
Type of:
musical time
(music) the beat of musical rhythm

n (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse

Synonyms:
cadence, measure, meter, metre
Types:
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catalexis
the absence of a syllable in the last foot of a line or verse
scansion
analysis of verse into metrical patterns
common measure, common meter
the usual (iambic) meter of a ballad
foot, metrical foot, metrical unit
(prosody) a group of 2 or 3 syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm
dactyl
a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed-unstressed syllables
iamb, iambus
a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables
anapaest, anapest
a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed-stressed syllables
amphibrach
a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed-unstressed syllables (e.g., `remember')
trochee
a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed syllables
spondee
a metrical unit with stressed-stressed syllables
dibrach, pyrrhic
a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables
Type of:
poetic rhythm, prosody, rhythmic pattern
(prosody) a system of versification

n a single pulsation of an oscillation produced by adding two waves of different frequencies; has a frequency equal to the difference between the two oscillations

Type of:
oscillation, vibration
(physics) a regular periodic variation in value about a mean
2

v come out better in a competition, race, or conflict

“Agassi beat Becker in the tennis championship”
“We beat the competition”
Synonyms:
beat out, crush, shell, trounce, vanquish
circumvent, outfox, outsmart, outwit, overreach
beat through cleverness and wit
Types:
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outpoint, outscore
score more points than one's opponents
walk over
beat easily
eliminate
remove from a contest or race
mop up, pip, rack up, whip, worst
defeat thoroughly
whomp
beat overwhelmingly
get the best, have the best, overcome
overcome, usually through no fault or weakness of the person that is overcome
rout, spread-eagle, spreadeagle
defeat disastrously
get the jump
be there first
cheat, chicane, chouse, jockey, screw, shaft
defeat someone through trickery or deceit
exceed, outdo, outgo, outmatch, outperform, outstrip, surmount, surpass
be or do something to a greater degree
get over, master, overcome, subdue, surmount
get on top of; deal with successfully
best, outdo, outflank, scoop, trump
get the better of
outfight
to fight better than; get the better of
overmaster, overpower, overwhelm
overcome by superior force
checkmate, mate
place an opponent's king under an attack from which it cannot escape and thus ending the game
immobilise, immobilize
make defenseless
outplay
excel or defeat in a game
bat, clobber, cream, drub, lick, thrash
beat thoroughly and conclusively in a competition or fight
circumvent, outfox, outsmart, outwit, overreach
beat through cleverness and wit
outgrow
grow faster than
outcry, outshout
shout louder than
outroar
roar louder than
outsail
sail faster or better than
outdraw
draw a gun faster, or best someone in a gunfight
outsell
sell more than others
outsell
be sold more often than other, similar products
outpace
surpass in speed
better, break
surpass in excellence
outshine
attract more attention and praise than others
outrange
have a greater range than (another gun)
outweigh
be heavier than
outbrave
be braver than
out-herod
surpass someone in cruelty or evil
outfox
outdo someone in trickery
shame
surpass or beat by a wide margin
bulldog
throw a steer by seizing the horns and twisting the neck, as in a rodeo
outmaneuver, outmanoeuvre, outsmart
defeat by more skillful maneuvering
steamroll, steamroller
overwhelm by using great force
outmarch
march longer distances and for a longer time than
outwear
last longer than others
Type of:
defeat, get the better of, overcome
win a victory over

v beat through cleverness and wit

“I beat the traffic”
Synonyms:
circumvent, outfox, outsmart, outwit, overreach
beat out, crush, shell, trounce, vanquish
come out better in a competition, race, or conflict
Type of:
exceed, outdo, outgo, outmatch, outperform, outstrip, surmount, surpass
be or do something to a greater degree

v be superior

“Reading beats watching television”
“This sure beats work!”
Type of:
be
have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

v avoid paying

beat the subway fare”
Synonyms:
bunk
Type of:
cheat, chisel, rip off
deprive somebody of something by deceit
3

v wear out completely

“I'm beat
Synonyms:
exhaust, tucker, tucker out, wash up
Types:
frazzle
exhaust physically or emotionally
play
exhaust by allowing to pull on the line
kill
tire out completely
Type of:
fag, fag out, fatigue, jade, outwear, tire, tire out, wear, wear down, wear out, wear upon, weary
exhaust or get tired through overuse or great strain or stress

adj very tired

“so beat I could flop down and go to sleep anywhere”
Synonyms:
all in, bushed, dead
tired
depleted of strength or energy
4

v be a mystery or bewildering to

“This beats me!”
Synonyms:
amaze, baffle, bewilder, dumbfound, flummox, get, gravel, mystify, nonplus, perplex, pose, puzzle, stick, stupefy, vex
Types:
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mix up, stump
cause to be perplexed or confounded
riddle
set a difficult problem or riddle
elude, escape
be incomprehensible to; escape understanding by
defy, refuse, resist
elude, especially in a baffling way
Type of:
bedevil, befuddle, confound, confuse, discombobulate, fox, fuddle, throw
be confusing or perplexing to; cause to be unable to think clearly
5

n a regular route for a sentry or policeman

“in the old days a policeman walked a beat and knew all his people by name”
Synonyms:
round
Type of:
itinerary, path, route
an established line of travel or access
6

n a member of the beat generation; a nonconformist in dress and behavior

Synonyms:
beatnik
Type of:
nonconformist, recusant
someone who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct
7

v sail with much tacking or with difficulty

“The boat beat in the strong wind”
Type of:
sail
travel on water propelled by wind

n the act of beating to windward; sailing as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing

Type of:
sailing
riding in a sailboat
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