Middle English Dictionary Entry

bēten v.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1a.
(a) To flog (sb.), beat, whip; (b) to punish (sb.).
1b.
(a) ~ brest, ~ on brest, ~ herte, to beat (one's) breast (as in sorrow or remorse); (b) ~ blo, to beat (sb.) until the flesh is livid; ~ to the blod, beat until the blood flows; ~ to (the) deth, beat to death; ~ bak and bon, ~ bak and side; (c) beten with his owen staf, caught in his own trap.
2a.
(a) To strike (sth.), buffet (sb.), smite, slap; also, pummel, belabor with blows; ~ on, pound on (sth.); (b) to shape (metal) by hammering; strike (a coin), mint; beten gold, gold hammered into a thin sheet or leaf; (c) to thresh (grain); ~ out; (d) to beat (a drum); (e) to bombard (sth. with missiles), pelt (with rain or hail); of a missile: strike (sth.); of rain: fall heavily, beat; ?also, throw (sth.); (f) of wind, sound, waves, a storm, a body of water, etc.: to dash against (sth.); dash or rage; ~ togeder, clash; (g) ~ togeder, of the teeth: to gnash; ~ togeder with (one's) teth, gnash or grind (one's) teeth.
2b.
(a) ~ eieliddes, to flutter the eyelids, bat (one's) eyes; ~ (one's) hed ayeines, knock (one's) head against (sth.); ~ hondes togeder(es, clap the hands; ~ lippes, talk; ~ tail, beat the ground with the tail; ~ winges, ~ with (one's) winges, move the wings rapidly, beat the wings; (b) ~ the air, to strike empty air, shadowbox; ~ stretes (pavement), walk or roam the streets; ~ the wind(es, fly with wings; (c) ~ (on) the bush(es, to strike the bush(es) to rouse game or birds; ~ the bou, beat the bush; (d) ~ awei, ~ of, ~ out, ~ thenes, to drive (sb.) away with blows, chase off; ~ fro, drive away from (a place); ~ hom, chase (sb.) home; (e) ~ doun, ~ adoun, ~ to the erthe, to lay (a wall, a city, etc.) level with the ground, raze, destroy; (f) ~ doun, to knock (sb.) down; ~ in, pound (pebbles) into (a floor); ~ of, knock (sb.) out of position, dislodge; ~ on, beat upon (sb.), strike; also, to lay on, fight; ~ out, knock out (teeth); ~ thurgh, cut through (sth.); ~ togeder, strike (things) together, knock one against another; ~ to the ground, knock (sb.) to the ground.
3.
To overcome (sb.), conquer, get the better of; ~ doun.
4.
To beat (cloth) in cleaning it; beat or scutch (tow).
5.
(a) To pound (sth.) to powder, bray, crush; grind (grain); (b) to stir (sth.) vigorously, beat, whip; ~ togeder, mix (sth.) by beating.
6.
(a) To cover (sth. with metal, esp. with gold), pave (a street with gold); also, ornament (sth.) with an inlay; (b) to embroider (a banner, garment, etc.); adorn, decorate; embroider or paint (a design or figure on sth.).
7.
(a) Of the heart, the pulse, an artery, etc.: to beat, pulsate; (b) of an ulcer or inflammation: to throb.
8.
To discuss (sth.), deliberate upon, talk about.
9.
To come in contact with (sth.), touch, border upon.
10.
Hunt. Of game: to walk in a stream in order to throw the hounds off the scent.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1400(c1378) PPl.B (LdMisc 581)4.93 : Bettere is þat bote bale adoun brynge, Þan bale be ybette & bote neuere þe bettere.
  • Note: NF
    Note: Sense 1a.(a)--per SMK
  • a1475(?a1430) Lydg.Pilgr.(Vit C.13)15900 : They kan ful offte A man dystreyne..As gold ffoyl ybetyn thynne.
  • Note: Postdates 2a.(b)
    Note: Sense 2a.(b)--per SMK
  • 1447 Bokenham Sts.(Arun 327)1845 : He..faryth as he To staunche his thrust which drynkyth of þe se, Or betyþe þe wynde, or in grauel doth sowe.
  • Note: 2b.(b) - another sense for ~ the wind, here identical to ~ the air--per MP