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.

Definitions of beat
  1. verb
    hit repeatedly
    beat on the door”
    beat the table with his shoe”
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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
  2. verb
    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
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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
  3. verb
    produce a rhythm by striking repeatedly
    beat the drum”
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    type of:
    play
    perform music on (a musical instrument)
  4. verb
    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”
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    type of:
    strike
    deliver a sharp blow, as with the hand, fist, or weapon
  5. verb
    move rhythmically
    “Her heart was beating fast”
    synonyms: pound, thump
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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
  6. verb
    make a rhythmic sound
    “The drums beat all night”
    synonyms: drum, thrum
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    type of:
    go, sound
    make a certain noise or sound
  7. verb
    move with or as if with a regular alternating motion
    synonyms: pulsate, quiver
    pulsate, pulse, throb
    expand and contract rhythmically; beat rhythmically
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    type of:
    move
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  8. verb
    indicate by beating, as with the fingers or drumsticks
    Beat the rhythm”
    Synonyms:
    pound, thump
    move rhythmically
    drum, thrum
    make a rhythmic sound
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    types:
    beat out, tap out, thump out
    beat out a rhythm
  9. verb
    move with a thrashing motion
    “The eagle beat its wings and soared high into the sky”
    synonyms: flap
    flap
    move with a flapping motion
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    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
  10. verb
    move with a flapping motion
    synonyms: flap
    flap
    move with a thrashing motion
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    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
  11. verb
    stir vigorously
    beat the egg whites”
    beat the cream”
    synonyms: scramble
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    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
  12. verb
    glare or strike with great intensity
    “The sun was beating down on us”
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    type of:
    glare
    shine intensely
  13. verb
    make a sound like a clock or a timer
    “the grandfather clock beat midnight”
    synonyms: tick, ticktack, ticktock
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    type of:
    go, sound
    make a certain noise or sound
  14. verb
    shape by beating
    beat swords into ploughshares”
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    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
  15. verb
    make by pounding or trampling
    beat a path through the forest”
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    type of:
    create, make
    make or cause to be or to become
  16. verb
    strike (water or bushes) repeatedly to rouse animals for hunting
  17. noun
    a stroke or blow
    “the signal was two beats on the steam pipe”
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    type of:
    stroke
    a single complete movement
  18. noun
    the sound of stroke or blow
    “he heard the beat of a drum”
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    type of:
    sound
    the sudden occurrence of an audible event
  19. noun
    a regular rate of repetition
    “the cox raised the beat
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    type of:
    clip, pace, rate
    the relative speed of progress or change
  20. noun
    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
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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
  21. noun
    the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music
    “the conductor set the beat
    synonyms: musical rhythm, rhythm
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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
  22. noun
    (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
    synonyms: cadence, measure, meter, metre
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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
  23. noun
    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
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    oscillation, vibration
    (physics) a regular periodic variation in value about a mean
  24. verb
    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
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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
    conquer, 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
    annihilate, 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
  25. verb
    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
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    exceed, outdo, outgo, outmatch, outperform, outstrip, surmount, surpass
    be or do something to a greater degree
  26. verb
    be superior
    “Reading beats watching television”
    “This sure beats work!”
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    type of:
    be
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  27. verb
    avoid paying
    beat the subway fare”
    synonyms: bunk
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    type of:
    cheat, chisel, rip off
    deprive somebody of something by deceit
  28. verb
    wear out completely
    “I'm beat
    synonyms: exhaust, tucker, tucker out, wash up
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    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
  29. adjective
    very tired
    “so beat I could flop down and go to sleep anywhere”
    synonyms: all in, bushed, dead
    tired
    depleted of strength or energy
  30. verb
    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
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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
  31. noun
    a regular route for a sentry, police officer, or reporter
    “in the old days a policeman walked a beat and knew all his people by name”
    synonyms: round
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    type of:
    itinerary, path, route
    an established line of travel or access
  32. noun
    a member of the beat generation; a nonconformist in dress and behavior
    synonyms: beatnik
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    type of:
    nonconformist, recusant
    someone who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct
  33. verb
    sail with much tacking or with difficulty
    “The boat beat in the strong wind”
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    type of:
    sail
    travel on water propelled by wind
  34. noun
    the act of beating to windward; sailing as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
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    type of:
    sailing
    riding in a sailboat
Word Family