Definition of beat in English:

beat

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Strike (a person or an animal) repeatedly and violently so as to hurt or injure them, typically with an implement such as a club or whip:

    ‘aristocratic women were often beaten by their husbands’
    ‘the victims were beaten to death with baseball bats’
    • ‘He was brutally beaten, struck over the head with a weapon, and handcuffed to a toilet while the gang ‘robbed’ the van.’
    • ‘One of them, who saw a stray dog being beaten to near-death, was so anguished that he has vowed never to come back here again.’
    • ‘In one attack, a bar owner was repeatedly beaten to the point where he thought he was going to be killed.’
    • ‘The shepherd's crook is not for beating the sheep, but for catching hold of them if they go into danger where the shepherd's arm can't reach them.’
    • ‘He was forced to beat the attacking dog around the head with a stick in order to save his own pet.’
    • ‘A MAN who beat his dog after it had been injured in a road accident has been jailed for three months and banned from keeping animals for life.’
    • ‘Gerald does, in fact, resort to violence, beating the horse and cutting it with spurs.’
    • ‘Walking home from work one evening he was attacked by five thugs who beat him brutally with clubs, leaving him for dead.’
    • ‘Ann said reports of dogs being beaten before death are false.’
    • ‘A 31-year-old man was beaten with a golf club and suffered severe bruising and two puncture wounds in his back.’
    • ‘While they are spending time and money on this type of harassment there is a guy beating his dog for leaving a pile on the lawn.’
    • ‘She was beaten repeatedly around the head with a heavy object, and left for dead in her home in Kinton, Herefordshire, last September.’
    • ‘One of the victims, a UK reporter, was held down by the neck by one officer while the others beat him with clubs.’
    • ‘Police launched a murder hunt today after a cricket club member was beaten to death next to the pitch last night.’
    • ‘He was tied to a telegraph pole in a field on the outskirts of Cork City where he was repeatedly beaten by a gang of up to five men.’
    • ‘The documentary makers interviewed former workers who stated that some dogs were beaten to death, instead of being given a lethal injection, in order to save money.’
    • ‘Several others, including two drivers, sustained lacerations after being beaten with blunt instruments, but were not admitted to hospital.’
    • ‘The other two reached out and pulled the Aussie from the river and then, using long clubs, beat the shark to death.’
    • ‘She claimed she was beaten repeatedly by members of her partner's family and decided to escape from them at the first opportunity.’
    • ‘Policemen immediately pursued the protesters, trampling and violently beating them with their clubs.’
    hit, strike, batter, thump, hammer, punch, knock, thrash, pound, pummel, slap, smack, crack, thwack, cuff, buffet, maul, pelt, drub, rain blows on
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    1. 1.1 Strike (an object) repeatedly so as to make a noise:
      ‘he beat the table with his hand’
      • ‘When monsoon floods approached their settlements, they told us, drums were beaten inside the caves, and the people could hear it.’
      • ‘The father beats a drum and the son buries his head in a covered pit.’
      • ‘I go up there and there are about eight or 10 of the beautiful Tahitian girls, and I was there all night with Marlon beating the drums while they danced.’
      • ‘Julius is shown beating a drum and dancing at a Pow-Wow, and speaks sincerely about his tribe's core values.’
      • ‘One was beating the drum, and the other wore a rearing gold-foil cobra on his head, from which hung many garlands made of bits of cloth, gathered to look like flowers.’
      • ‘A man walked up the street, beating a metal gong, asking us to pray for the good white people who were flying food in for the relief center, the new one they set up in St. Johns.’
      • ‘So to round off the evening the children were dressed in tie dyed costumes, grass skirts and beating drums performed two lively African dance songs.’
      • ‘He stands on two legs, beats a big drum with a stick held in his trunk and disports himself with the grave grace one always admires in these imposing creatures.’
      • ‘Later, there's a different phase of activities when a small band of students walks up the hill beating drums, carrying signs, and chanting.’
      • ‘It pounds at my head like someone beating a drum.’
      • ‘He beat his drum as he went so his progress could be monitored by the soldiers above.’
      • ‘At this time, it is forbidden to beat drums or make other loud noises.’
      • ‘A lambeg drum is an enormous instrument beaten with great enthusiasm by orange marching bands.’
      • ‘He has been asked to stop beating his drum so fiercely after complaints about the noise.’
      • ‘They have no churches: today Turner's act of worship involved beating a drum while watching the sun set over Bute.’
      • ‘The French street theatre company Trans Express walked through the crowd beating their drums.’
      • ‘No sooner had he begun his circular gyrations whilst beating his drum than a strange black cloud, more like smoke than water vapour, appeared over Waimate.’
      • ‘They feasted for two days, stripping the meat from the carcass and then consuming it as tribal drums were beaten.’
      • ‘Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.’
      bang, hit, strike, rap, tap, pound, thump, hammer
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    2. 1.2[no object] (of an instrument) make a rhythmical sound through being struck:
      ‘drums were beating in the distance’
      • ‘The drums had stopped beating and the tent flap had been closed.’
      • ‘Drums have been beating throughout the borough's schools this term at a series of musical workshops and concerts.’
      • ‘Her laughter was deep, right from the stomach, and it sounded like merry drums beating away.’
      • ‘I heard drums beating, and the sinister familiar sound of chains.’
      • ‘Yet the sound you now hear is so distinct in its intentions that you know it at once: war drums beating out the rhythm of impending attack.’
      • ‘In the quiet countryside there are rhythms of drums beating for all to hear.’
      • ‘With drums beating, bands playing and bayonets fixed, they marched through the town's streets to the delight of the crowds.’
      • ‘Then there was a sound of drums beating filling the air with its fury.’
      • ‘Long after the final whistle had blown at their semi-final, the sound of drums beating and fans chanting could be heard outside the stadium.’
      • ‘There are no drums beating from the forbidden side of the mountain.’
    3. 1.3 Strike (a carpet, blanket, etc.) repeatedly in order to remove dust:
      ‘upright cleaners have a motorized head which beats the carpet to loosen the dirt’
      • ‘Training a dog, beating a carpet or rug, and washing clothes are also banned on the heath.’
      • ‘Ava beat the rug with a vengeance, watching the dust fly through the air and circle in the late summer breeze.’
      • ‘Do excuse me, I'm off to put more laundry in, beat my rugs, grab some lunch, and maybe pop down to the shops.’
      • ‘She approaches an emotion with the finesse of someone beating a carpet.’
      • ‘He might have been beating a rug for all the effect it had.’
    4. 1.4 Flatten or shape (metal) by striking it repeatedly with a hammer:
      ‘pure gold can be beaten out to form very thin sheets’
      • ‘The metal was beaten into a shimmering disc.’
      • ‘The most expensive is wrought iron, where the metal is beaten into shape.’
      • ‘The metal can be beaten out so thinly that it has hardly any solidity left, when it appears as gold by reflected light but green by transmitted light.’
      • ‘Gold and silver was also beaten and drawn out to be used to make thread for embroidery and braid weaving, often of an ecclesiastical in nature.’
      • ‘Years ago, you used to be able to walk past the workshops under the Westway from about April onwards and hear the clanging of steel drums being beaten into shape.’
      • ‘Lead may be worked directly, by being hammered or beaten into shape, or indirectly, melted and cast as with bronze, or it may be cast in the rough and then finished by hammering.’
      • ‘The other noble metal is silver, comparatively scarce in nature but easily beaten into shapes where its gleaming silver colour reminded the ancients of the Moon.’
      • ‘It looked like a hammer, beating a sheet of metal.’
      • ‘She took a quick glance at me and then she laughed as she continued beating the metal.’
      • ‘The piece of metal was then beaten with some kind of hammer, before being put back into the fire.’
      hammer, forge, form, shape, mould, work, stamp, fashion, model, fabricate, make, cast, frame, sculpt, sculpture
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    5. 1.5beat something against/on Strike something against (something):
      ‘she beat her fists against the wood’
      • ‘The males also exhibit a curious trick of beating their beaks against their chests to emit a rhythmic clicking sound.’
      • ‘In total frustration, he swept a few dishes in front of him onto the floor and beat his fists on the table, knocking a few more dishes to the floor.’
      • ‘Shaddin snapped suddenly, standing up and beating a fist on the table, making his son jump.’
      • ‘He becomes hysterical, crying and beating his fist against the wall.’
      • ‘Layla stares at it, grim, then screams, and falls down, beating her fists against the pavement.’
      • ‘She dropped her arms and sighed when Matt didn't beat his fist against the door.’
      • ‘He beat her head against the hole-in-the-wall machine, leaving her bruised and battered.’
      • ‘Instead I settled for beating my fists against his chest.’
      • ‘Toddlers will be beating their fists on their high chairs in fury.’
      • ‘If things aren't back to normal by Monday, it will be because I've knocked myself out beating my head against the desk.’
      • ‘The Zulus did it by beating their spears against their shields.’
      • ‘He beat his fists on David's arm, and David soon let him go, both boys grinning widely.’
      • ‘She fell against the glass case and began to beat her fist against it in frustration.’
      • ‘I resist the urge to slam my head against the steering wheel until I lose consciousness and settle for beating my fists against the dashboard of my pitiful rental car.’
      • ‘Then he started beating his fist against the steering wheel, cursing and swearing.’
      • ‘She beat her fist against the newly created wall.’
      • ‘He found her beating her fists on the hood of the cop car.’
      • ‘Sarah screamed in his ear, beating her fists against his arm and anywhere else she could reach.’
      • ‘It beats chains against the ground in a rotating motion to detonate and destroy mines.’
      • ‘When my partner arrived he tried to comfort me and in some dim corner of my mind I was shocked to see myself beat my fists on his chest, still chanting, ‘It can't be true.’’
      beat against, dash against, crash against, pound, batter, buffet, smack against, strike, hit, knock
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    6. 1.6[no object] Strike repeatedly at or on something:
      ‘Sidney beat on the door with the flat of his hand’
      ‘Emmie began to beat at the flames’
      • ‘She looked around for something to cover herself and again Noah beat on the door.’
      • ‘My fists were shaking badly, and I wanted to beat on something to let out all of my anger.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Gregor's sister and father beat on his bedroom door, calling him to leave for work.’
      • ‘Again and again and again it beat against the roof, shattering every tile it hit.’
      • ‘Doors slam shut, waves beat against the hull, and faint voices call for the characters to meet their doom.’
      • ‘The percussion instrument sounds like something beating against a tin roof.’
      • ‘I'd beat on the walls and doors, leaving dents and holes, usually hurting myself on top of it.’
      • ‘I heard him beat against the door, and then fall to his feet with a strangled sigh.’
      • ‘He carried her back up the hill while she beat on his back and kicked.’
      • ‘The sound of hoofs beating on the ground could be heard in the distance, and the small feet ran faster.’
      • ‘Instead, Cindy was stuck staring gloomily out the window as rain steadily beat against it.’
      • ‘My hands grasp the brass knob as I beat on the door, calling, crying, begging.’
      • ‘As I drew on my reserves and got going again I was left with the pain in my quads and the sound of my feet beating against the pavement.’
      • ‘Even the rhythmic resonance of the waves beating against the hull of a ship produces music of a different kind.’
      • ‘The sound of the ball beating against the ground resounded through the neighborhood.’
      • ‘Five minutes later, we were cruising down the highway with the wind beating roughly against the side of the car and ruffling our hair.’
      • ‘She stared up at the vaulted ceiling listening to the sound of the rain beating against it.’
      • ‘The sound of a girl beating on the door snaps him back to reality.’
      • ‘He beat on the bar with the palm of his hand then hung his head at the floor.’
      • ‘The storm continued though the night and the only thing that you could do was sit and listen to the sound of the rain beating against the castle.’
      bang, tap, rap, thump, pound, hammer
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    7. 1.7 Move across (an area of land) repeatedly striking at the ground cover in order to raise game birds for shooting:
      ‘they hire boys to beat the Yorkshire moors for game birds’
      • ‘In bird hunting some participants roused the birds by beating the bushes while others caught them in nets.’
      • ‘Local lords also demanded that peasants beat the woods during hunts and pay special additional taxes.’
      • ‘Many beaters like to carry their own stick, to help them get up and down banks, as well as for beating the undergrowth.’
      • ‘These are people employed to beat the ground and bushes to 'flush' the birds towards the guns.’
      • ‘The estate staff and sundry villagers would be involved in beating the woods and picking up the game.’
  • 2Defeat (someone) in a game or other competitive situation:

    ‘she beat him easily at chess’
    ‘Juventus were beaten 2–1’
    • ‘I spend time with our daughter, allowing her to beat me in several games of checkers.’
    • ‘As the Worthington Cup final proved, they continue to hold the formula for beating Manchester United.’
    • ‘Almost every time, a player with a good short game will beat a player who can hit 300-yard drives.’
    • ‘He defeated the Russian who beat him in last year's semi-final to gain sweet revenge and the gold medal.’
    • ‘Has any other team ever beaten Manchester United five times in a row, as Liverpool now have?’
    • ‘He also loves to practise and you can clearly see the enjoyment derived from competing against and beating his rivals.’
    • ‘Our competition has been consistently beating us because they're taking bigger risks.’
    • ‘Having attended professional table tennis training for five years in her primary school, she beat her rival easily.’
    • ‘Lauren easily beat her father five games to one, and poked fun at his age and physical fitness.’
    • ‘We are a tough team to beat and you've got to play a very good game to beat us.’
    • ‘Earlier this evening my five-year-old nephew beat me at a game of basketball.’
    • ‘If he can't beat me easily then he won't be world champion.’
    • ‘He suffered his second straight defeat when he was beaten 5-3 in the second round.’
    • ‘Saturday will be their first time back at Lansdowne Road since that shameful performance in '99, and they have beaten the British Lions since.’
    • ‘There wasn't much shame in that because I thought we competed hard in the four games and we were beaten by a better side.’
    • ‘For the first time in a quarter-century of trying a human runner has beaten a horse in one of the most bizarre sporting events on the planet.’
    • ‘Both clubs' motivation is to beat their rivals and claim top spot in the county.’
    • ‘In their competition the girls were beaten by one goal.’
    • ‘I'm not going to dwell on it, except to say that I forgot everything under pressure and he beat me easily.’
    • ‘‘There's no chance of me ever beating you at this game,’ I had said.’
    defeat, conquer, win against, get the better of, vanquish, trounce, rout, overpower, overcome, overwhelm, overthrow, subdue, quash, crush
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    1. 2.1 Overcome (a problem or disease):
      ‘the battle to beat car crime’
      ‘he beat heroin addiction in 1992’
      • ‘It was thought she had beaten the disease last year, but tests in January revealed that she had developed another form of the leukaemia.’
      • ‘It is good news for Britain's poorest families - and will help the government's desire to beat child poverty.’
      • ‘A mother-of-four is dedicating her life to educating people about meningitis after her two sons beat the deadly disease.’
      • ‘But now his best chance of beating the disease is if a matching bone marrow donor can be found.’
      • ‘The journey to beat cancer is a long one and research is vital.’
      • ‘She beat the illness, but earlier this year, she started suffering stomach pains and was re-admitted for treatment.’
      • ‘He said beating congestion and improving safety were of the utmost importance and both these schemes worked towards that goal.’
      • ‘Chloe had to have a kidney removed at North Manchester Children's Hospital in the battle to beat her illness.’
      • ‘Having beaten cancer, he set out to beat the best cyclists in the world, not once but five times in a row.’
      • ‘They thought he had beaten his illness as he had been healthy as a young man.’
      • ‘He says the only hope of beating the disease is to ensure that knowledge spreads faster than virus.’
      • ‘It is a further demonstration of the county council's commitment to beating congestion and improving our highways.’
      • ‘Although smallpox has no known cure or specific treatment, the disease was beaten with a massive, worldwide immunization campaign.’
      • ‘He needs the transplant to beat a rare disease that makes it hard to process oxygen.’
      • ‘We can beat poverty and illiteracy and fear.’
      • ‘But three years later the brave youngster has astonished medics by beating his cancer and returning to hospital to thank the staff who helped save him.’
      • ‘She appeared to have beaten the illness in 2004, but just seven months ago the vicious disease returned with vengeance.’
      • ‘He said the step to beating poverty was to ensure trade justice, eradicate debt to poor countries and deliver more aid.’
      • ‘He had beaten cancer in 1995, but he'd never fully regained his health.’
      • ‘As you can see, when it comes to beating arthritis, there is a wide range of alternative remedies on the market.’
      deal with, handle, manage, address, face, face up to, confront, tackle, sort out, take care of, take in hand, get to grips with, contend with, grapple with, wrestle with, struggle with, tussle with
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    2. 2.2 Do or be better than (a record or score):
      ‘he beat his own world record’
      • ‘This beats the previous record of 283,999, which was set only last year, and represents a two per cent rise on the 2003 figure.’
      • ‘To beat the current record, held by a group of Canadians, they need to roll more than 81 car tyres for a distance of 100-metres.’
      • ‘The moment you set a goal and achieve it, somebody will eventually beat your record and surpass your goal!’
      • ‘It sold 2.5 million copies during its first week in the shops, beating the previous record, held by Titanic, by 700,000.’
      • ‘The team is confident that it will beat the current record of 245 mph, and say that it could even reach 300 mph on future runs.’
      • ‘He had beaten the Norwegian's record by more than a minute.’
      • ‘He did it in six hours, 53 minutes and 21 seconds and has vowed to go back for more next year and beat his own record.’
      • ‘Although communities try to beat their previous score, it is also an open competition against other communities.’
      • ‘Basically, the game consisted of throwing a pair of dice, covered, and lying about what was on them to the next person, who had to beat your score.’
      • ‘I believe our survival record was eventually beaten by another airman.’
      • ‘The next day, I told myself that I was going to beat Justin's first-round score.’
      • ‘Judging it on the TV replay, it looked like it also beat the Olympic record.’
      • ‘I never imagined that you'd be able to beat the top score like that.’
      • ‘If anyone would like to help us beat least year's record collection of £26, 531.66 please telephone me.’
      • ‘The gas company said the cold snap had led to record demand in Yorkshire on Wednesday when 23 million cubic metres of gas was used, beating the previous record in December 1999.’
      • ‘‘I wanted to beat the world record but there was so much pressure on me and Jamie,’ he said.’
      • ‘She hopes to set off in the catamaran Kingfisher II next January, with a team of 14, to beat the current record of 64 days.’
      • ‘The aim was to beat the existing record of 62 square metres.’
      • ‘She will need to reach an average speed of 15.5 knots for the voyage if she is to beat the record.’
      • ‘The rowers were attempting to finish their voyage in 60 days, beating the record of 64 days set in 1971 by a single rower.’
      surpass, outdo, exceed, eclipse, transcend, top, trump, cap, better, outperform, outstrip, outshine, outclass, overshadow, put in the shade, be better than, improve on, go one better than
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    3. 2.3informal Be better than:
      ‘you can't beat the taste of fresh raspberries’
      • ‘You can't beat lightweight wheels for snappy acceleration and climbing power.’
      • ‘Let's face it, you can't beat the taste of home-grown produce bought in season.’
      • ‘Nothing beats it for atmosphere, and the food is fabulous.’
      • ‘The drinks may not be free, but you can't beat the convenience.’
      • ‘For a more regular treat, you can't beat perfect steak and chips.’
      • ‘For an effortless night out, however, you can't beat the cinema.’
      • ‘It gives me more comfort and beats staying in hotels all the time.’
      • ‘For something a bit smarter, you can't beat a shirt and tie.’
      • ‘You can't beat a flow of information to keep people informed and stifle rumour.’
      • ‘In the cooler months you can't beat camellias as they are compact and reliable and can be clipped or trained to suit.’
      • ‘But it was hard to beat the Falconry Display as far as the kids were concerned, and parents too if they would admit it.’
      • ‘Whatever is in it, it is hard to beat an Irish Racing Festival.’
      • ‘There is a more casual bar, but it is hard to beat the experience of eating in the new Two Sisters dining-room, next to the snug lounge bar with its crackling log fire.’
      • ‘You can't beat the feeling of seeing 15,000 people dancing in front of you to the music you are playing.’
      • ‘For a totally indulgent treat, it is hard to beat a good old-fashioned bubble bath.’
      • ‘You can't beat the humble spud along with a pint of freshly chilled milk to speed the digestive process.’
      • ‘You can't beat local knowledge and Dominic has a fair bit of it.’
      • ‘You can't beat a good growing bag, no matter what's inside it.’
      • ‘I agree they're sometimes hard to read, but you can't beat them for true honest heartfelt sincerity.’
      • ‘It is my experience that you can't beat a local approach for dedicated, loyal focused workers who will be with you for years.’
    4. 2.4informal Baffle:
      ‘it beats me how you manage to work in this heat’
      • ‘But still, people seem to get offended; beats me why.’
      • ‘How she recovered so fast from last night beats the hell out of me.’
      • ‘What beats me is how it took so long for his evil deeds to be discovered.’
      • ‘Why anyone would want to drive at 150 mph with the roof down beats me.’
      • ‘How anybody can say this is good news - with a straight face - beats me.’
      • ‘It beats me how anybody could play such a boring game.’
      baffle, bewilder, mystify, bemuse, perplex, puzzle, confuse, confound, nonplus, disconcert, throw, throw off balance, disorientate, take aback, set thinking
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  • 3Succeed in getting somewhere ahead of (someone):

    ‘the defender beat him to the ball’
    • ‘‘Bet I can beat you back to the hotel’ she teased him before taking off in a run, stopping only long enough to pick up her towel and then continued running back towards their room.’
    • ‘The full forward beat the goalie to the ball to get the touch at full stretch but his effort along the ground was less than an inch wide of the post.’
    • ‘He gets into pass-blocking position so quickly that most defenders are unable to beat him with pure speed.’
    • ‘Despite a legal screen, there is no reason why defender #3 can not beat his man to the ball.’
    • ‘He beat the defenders to a pass and scored the only goal of the game.’
    • ‘In the 31st minute, he beats the defenders to a high ball and races through on goal.’
    • ‘We believe this situation is somewhat different than the situation of beating the opponent to the ball farther out on the court because of the distance involved.’
    • ‘It was a close call as Tully almost beat Marvin back to the cellar.’
    • ‘The ball beat him to the dead ball line.’
    • ‘I raced towards the building hoping to beat them back.’
    • ‘He beat him to the ball and touched down under the posts.’
    • ‘The first half ended with Squires chasing a kick ahead but just being beaten to the ball by the full back.’
    • ‘Amazingly, Helen and Tara beat us back to the room.’
    1. 3.1 Take action to avoid (difficulty or inconvenience):
      ‘they set off early to beat the traffic’
      • ‘What have you got to lose - get your bet on early and beat the rush.’
      • ‘Sunday's meeting is likely to attract a massive crowd so all of you who are going should get there early to beat the rush.’
      • ‘After his first set, those who left to beat the traffic missed the best moment of the entire performance.’
      • ‘Plans to beat traffic congestion when Royal Ascot comes to York will be tested in the city next month at its biggest race meeting of the year.’
      • ‘A Purton businessman has come up with a novel way of beating the traffic by reintroducing a mode of transport which was last popular when Queen Victoria was on the throne.’
      • ‘He left a little earlier than his usual time to beat the traffic.’
      • ‘Rush-hour buses are to start earlier in south Manchester in a bid to beat the traffic jams.’
      • ‘If you bought early to beat the Christmas rush, it may be too late to ask for a refund if you don't find the goods are faulty until Christmas Day’
      • ‘It is bad enough having to get up early in order to beat the traffic, without finding one still cannot get in to work on time.’
      • ‘But instead of following her usual habit of leaving early to beat the rush, her son Shaun insisted the group stayed to the end.’
      • ‘Plans for a new motorway linking the M6 and M56 have been put forward to beat congestion.’
      • ‘People rearranged meetings, opted to work from home, or got up earlier to beat the rush and so prevented major disruption.’
      • ‘As a result, they had to leave quite early to beat the evening traffic jam and to make up for their drummer's driving.’
      • ‘He said that a designated bus lane in Malton Road should ensure that commuters beat peak traffic congestion and cruise straight into the city.’
      • ‘Visitors are being urged to get to the town early to beat traffic queues.’
      • ‘And his parents miss it because they left after 80 minutes to beat the traffic.’
      • ‘We got up early and beat the Bank Holiday traffic to the western dales, seeking a quiet and very colourful walk on the land between Grassington and Malham.’
      • ‘Living in Dundrum, he found he was getting up earlier and earlier to beat the morning traffic into the city.’
      • ‘Eight hours earlier I had left Dublin, intent on beating the morning traffic up the N1 en route to a meeting in Belfast.’
      • ‘You'd be doing yourself a favour by beating the rush and having the job done quickly, as well as helping us all get through a bad patch and keep us going till it does rain.’
      avoid, evade, escape, dodge, sidestep, elude, get round, circumvent, steer clear of, give a wide berth to, find a way round, bypass, skirt, cheat, duck
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  • 4[no object] (of the heart) pulsate:

    ‘her heart beat faster with panic’
    • ‘In both cases doctors only have about 30 minutes after the heart stops beating to safeguard organs, by pumping a preservative fluid into the body, before it starts to degenerate.’
    • ‘Her pulse quickened, and her heart started beating even more rapidly.’
    • ‘Most patients have only mild symptoms, such as palpitations or the sensation that their heart is beating rapidly.’
    • ‘In cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating effectively, blood does not circulate and no pulse can be felt.’
    • ‘He evidently has a heart the size of a horse's which beats at just 43 times per minute at rest.’
    • ‘Her heart had suddenly begun to beat at an uncontrollable rate.’
    • ‘Her heart was beating wildly and her stomach lurched.’
    • ‘Because of this irregular heart rhythm, your heart stops beating and can't pump blood.’
    • ‘I could feel the gentle rise and fall of his chest under my head as he breathed, and I could hear his heart beating against my ear.’
    • ‘If the stations are clustered together, do jumping jacks between sets to keep your heart beating at a training rate.’
    • ‘They claimed the heart was beating and the brain was functioning and the patient simply needed care and time to recover.’
    • ‘The competitors' hearts are beating at almost twice their normal rates.’
    • ‘Critical organs such as hearts, lung, kidneys and livers are only taken from donors who are brain dead and whose hearts are still beating.’
    • ‘I could hear the sound of my own heart beating, the pulse that was pounding in my ears gradually slowing down to normal.’
    • ‘An AED delivers a life saving electric shock that starts the heart beating and pumping again.’
    • ‘It's the sort of night that really gets your heart beating and your pulse racing.’
    • ‘Her heart started beating hard, pounding against her ribcage.’
    • ‘Her heart was beating wildly, and panic was rising in her stomach.’
    • ‘I checked my pulse and was terrified when I realized my heart was beating more than 200 times a minute.’
    • ‘Before we had ways of testing brain activity, the test was whether the heart was beating.’
    pulsate, pulse, palpitate, vibrate, throb, reverberate
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  • 5(of a bird) move (the wings) up and down:

    ‘doves wheel around the rooftops, beating their wings’
    • ‘It seemed to know it was away from the confines of our chamber, for it fluttered about and beat its wings.’
    • ‘The little hummingbirds beat their wings faster and their flight is even more graceful than normal.’
    • ‘Did you know that a fly must beat its wings two hundred times a second to stay airborne?’
    • ‘Rather than moving forward while flapping their wings up and down like a bird, flies hover while beating their wings back and forth.’
    • ‘I stared after the birds as they beat their wings in strange rhythm.’
    • ‘The birds that lived in the two trees suddenly screamed out, beat their wings and swooped down, crying their anguish.’
    • ‘They are using updrafts to go higher without beating their wings.’
    • ‘He flew faster than ever, straining his strong muscles, and beating his wings so fast they were almost a blur.’
    • ‘It then began to move slowly backwards still heading south and beating its wings until it disappeared.’
    • ‘The crow remained still until it suddenly beat its wings but soon settled again watching Ari closely.’
    • ‘They were chased for more than half a mile by this angry bird, who reared up to his full height in the water, beat his wings and mounted the towpath in order to drive them off.’
    • ‘Every tree, every bush, even the grass, all covered in butterflies, gently beating their wings, and flying delicately from one perch to another.’
    • ‘All of a sudden it's as if they've hit an invisible wall as they become stationary, despite them furiously beating their wings.’
    • ‘At night, after a long day of gathering nectar, they gather at the hive entrance and begin fanning by vigorously beating their wings.’
    • ‘A ruby-throated hummingbird beats its wings 50 to 70 times per second.’
    • ‘These birds are highly animated as they vigorously beat their wings to gain height and speed.’
    • ‘In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?’
    • ‘A band-tailed pigeon, beating her wings upward, hears the incredibly low sound but pays no attention.’
    • ‘As I sat to write this essay I could not help but reflect upon an old saying about a butterfly beating its wings in China and causing a breeze in Oregon.’
    • ‘He beat his powerful wings and soared high into the air, up and away from the village.’
    flap, flutter, move up and down, thresh, thrash, wave, shake, swing, agitate, quiver, tremble, vibrate, oscillate
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1[no object] (of a bird) fly making rhythmic wing movements:
      ‘an owl beat low over the salt marsh’
      • ‘The bird soared away from us, its broad wings beating slowly.’
      • ‘Her great wings beat restlessly against her back as she waited for the others to join her.’
      • ‘A bird in flight emerges from a field of slate blue on the upper right, wings beating toward the picture plane.’
      • ‘Each bird works to and fro across the levels, buoyant wings beating steadily with a pause every now and then before the hunter sweeps onwards in an easy glide.’
      • ‘Because the wings beat about once a second, the flight will be anything but smooth.’
      • ‘Soaring above the gorge was a large black bird, its wings spread, beating against the wind.’
      • ‘Her multicolored wings beat furiously, but don't lift her off the ground.’
      • ‘When the egrets pass close, and they often do, you can hear their wings beat.’
      • ‘She was stopped by a gust of air and the sound of the bird's wings beating.’
      • ‘His long wings beat slow, steady beats, as if accentuating the overall extenuation of the bird.’
      • ‘I managed to get a hand hold before he jumped into the air, his wings rhythmically beating.’
      • ‘If she tilted her head back she could see a hawk circling in the air, its magnificent wings beating steadily to keep it in the air.’
      flutter, move up and down, agitate, wave, wag, waggle, shake, swing, twitch
      View synonyms
  • 6Stir (cooking ingredients) vigorously to make a smooth or frothy mixture:

    ‘beat the butter until light and fluffy’
    ‘beat the cream into the mixture’
    • ‘Using a hand-held electric or balloon whisk, beat the egg whites in a large greaseproof bowl until they form firm but still floppy peaks.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, with an electric mixture set on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.’
    • ‘For the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese until they are fluffy and then add the remaining ingredients with a pinch of salt until combined.’
    • ‘In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until thick.’
    • ‘In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.’
    • ‘Use either a hand mixer, blender or whisk to beat the hot chocolate until it's frothy.’
    • ‘Slowly, add olive oil, constantly beating the mixture - just like making mayonnaise - until it is thick and almost smooth.’
    • ‘In another medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them also into the chocolate mixture.’
    • ‘Drain the potatoes, tip them into the bowl of a food mixer and beat them with the butter to make a smooth but firm consistency.’
    • ‘In a bowl, beat the spices with the cream, add a little salt (not too much as smoked haddock is often salty) and pour it over the fish.’
    • ‘Pour the hot melted butter over the whisked eggs in a steady stream, beating the ingredients together well.’
    • ‘Remove from heat, beat the egg yolk, then add to the mushrooms, stirring it into the mixture.’
    • ‘In a bowl, beat the sugar and egg white together using an electric mixer until thick and foamy.’
    • ‘Sift the flour and salt together, then add them to the mixture and continue to beat until smooth.’
    • ‘In a food processor, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until they are pale and creamy.’
    • ‘Then beat the sugar, eggs and orange flower water (if using) in a bowl until smooth.’
    • ‘In a bowl, beat the sugar with the butter until it is light and fluffy.’
    • ‘Egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar are beaten vigorously in a double boiler until thick and foamy.’
    • ‘Remove from heat and beat the lentils with a wooden spoon until smooth.’
    • ‘Next, beat ingredients for the cream cheese layer until smooth.’
    whisk, mix, blend, whip, stir, fold
    View synonyms
  • 7beat itinformal Leave:

    [in imperative] ‘now beat it, will you!’
    • ‘I yelled, 'Go away, bear! Beat it! Scat!'’
    • ‘A young U.S. officer, whose unit had commandeered the house, saw them coming and barked: "Go on, go on! Beat it!"’
    • ‘"Beat it, Buddy," said the grim face at the slit.’
    • ‘No, I told Mack to scram, beat it, skedaddle, hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.’
    • ‘The thing does not move an inch, as if to say ‘put me in a utility closet or beat it.’’
  • 8Sailing
    [no object, with adverbial of direction] Sail into the wind, following a zigzag course with repeated tacking:

    ‘we beat southwards all that first day’
    • ‘We beat toward the harbor all day, and I admit that night, frustrated by our slow progress, we fired up the diesel.’
    • ‘He stuck with the vessel and slowly managed to beat to windward.’
    • ‘I came about and headed for home but my little boat didn't beat into the wind very well.’
    • ‘It is said, too, that sailors, beating up against the wind in the Gulf of Finland, sometimes see a strange sail heave in sight astern and overhaul them hand over hand.’
    • ‘Reefs went into the sails and we began beating hard into the prevailing tides and wind.’

noun

  • 1A main accent or rhythmic unit in music or poetry:

    ‘the glissando begins on the second beat’
    • ‘Conductors became the drill sergeants of music; the beat is seen rather than heard.’
    • ‘In mensural music beats fall naturally into groups of two or three with a recurring accent on the first of each group.’
    • ‘You've got to break it up into beats and just learn it.’
    • ‘Everyone plays different beats at the same time so they really feel the rhythm through their hands and can work out where they fit in.’
    • ‘When you fade one track into another, you have to hit the beats at the right moment for the sounds to segue into one another effortlessly.’
    • ‘This time, focus all your attention on making a stress on the second and last beats of each bar.’
    stress, emphasis, accentuation, force, prominence
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A strong rhythm in popular music:
      ‘the music changed to a funky disco beat’
      • ‘The pounding beat, uplifting crescendos and psychedelic lights had just the right effect.’
      • ‘The audiences wanted loud, full music with a lively beat.’
      • ‘The show is a pure play on energy, filled with funky beats and strong singing and dancing.’
      • ‘There are hip-hop beats, beautiful vocals by various smoky-voiced female singers and there's also a modern lounge feel.’
      • ‘A rock song played in the background and the crowd thumped along to the beat.’
      • ‘It is not exactly a disco beat and not exactly post-punk, but lies somewhere in between the two.’
      • ‘It gives you what you'd expect - strong beats, ironic raps and bizarre alter egos.’
      • ‘My fingers started tapping against my leg to the beat of the music.’
      • ‘All the songs have been carefully selected for your enjoyment, from laid back sounds to a beat that makes you stand up and get into a groove.’
      • ‘It was full of upbeat music, fast beats and swift rhythms.’
      • ‘I'm a sucker for a pounding beat and some flashing lights.’
      • ‘There is a structure under there somewhere, with each song held together by a strong beat.’
      • ‘He also insists the station is changed if anything comes on that doesn't have a strong beat.’
      • ‘Usually hip-hop offers a steady beat to nod your head or tap a foot to.’
      • ‘Every song is similar in that the beat has great rhythm and is very smooth.’
      • ‘It had a dance beat with the synthesised sounds of wailing or sometimes heavy instruments.’
      • ‘In fact, there is nothing even remotely resembling a new sound, riff or beat.’
      • ‘People were drinking, shouting, singing along to the beat of the music, and dancing.’
      • ‘A new wave of young musicians appeared, adopting dance beats and electronic sounds as their main mean of expression.’
      • ‘Honey strutted on the catwalk to the beat of the background music, smirking in her hot-pink party gown.’
      rhythm, pulse, stress, metre, time, measure, cadence, accent, rhythmical flow, rhythmical pattern
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[in singular] A regular, rhythmic sound or movement:
      ‘the beat of the wipers became almost hypnotic’
      • ‘The distant beat of voices echoed through the room, soft voices which blurred and repeated the same words, the same tune, over and over again.’
      • ‘Far off in the distance, Ian heard the beat of helicopter blades, and as the sound came nearer, he screamed for help.’
      • ‘The slim rectangular bars pulsed with a regular, orderly beat, like a message in code or a stuttering horizon line.’
      • ‘York buzzed to the beat of carnival time yesterday as thousands lined the city pavements to witness a major Millennium spectacular.’
      • ‘To live according to the regular beat of man-made time, we have to carry time around with us.’
      • ‘Then, to the beat of Aboriginal dancers and the sound of a didgeridoo, the masses lurched forward and the event began.’
      • ‘But before he could reach the door he heard the steady beat of the life moderator, and at the sound of this he ran to the window.’
      • ‘The two of them were now alone in the great hall, and the even beat of their breaths echoed like wind within a cove of deep water.’
      • ‘A pulsar, of course, beeps with a regular beat, but it also has a sort of echo.’
      • ‘A shower helped, but even the monotonous beat of hot water couldn't drive out the visions of atrocities in his head.’
      • ‘She settles down the steady beat of kitchen sounds that announce the preparation of dinner for yet another autumn night.’
      rhythm, patter, tap, chatter, pounding, thump, thumping, thud, thudding, rattle, rattling, pitter-patter, rat-a-tat, pit-a-pat, thrum, tattoo, vibration, throb, throbbing, pulsation
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 The sound made when something, especially a musical instrument, is struck:
      ‘he heard a regular drum beat’
      • ‘I woke to the jolting sound of hoof beats, thundering down a dirt path.’
      • ‘As the beat of the hooves fell silent in the distance the priest heard a dry laugh coming from under the bridge and he knew immediately who was there.’
      • ‘His panther ears twitched at the sound of distant hoof beats.’
      • ‘The first few beats of the drums could be heard before Hiryu started playing on the piccolo with the guitar and keyboards.’
      • ‘Families are invited to march to the beat of the drums from Rafters Landing to a bonfire celebration in Louise McKinney Park.’
      • ‘Women who were washing laundry outside their houses, and talking to their neighbour about the latest village gossip, looked up in surprise at the sound of hoof beats.’
      • ‘Dancing to the beats of the drums, the audience of all ages was on its feet.’
      • ‘The entire group marched to the beat of the drums, while the power of their songs lifted us up the concrete trail to the center of the island.’
      • ‘The sound of pipes joined the beat of the drum, and the men began to sing a hearty sea shanty as the ship moved through the surf and out to sea.’
      • ‘The beat of the drums and the sweet tenor voice of the guitar could be heard from outside the theatre.’
      • ‘Year after year, dragon dancers in colorful costumes wildly prance around different locales, mostly shopping centers, to the loud beats of the drums.’
      • ‘Every paddler moves his or her oar in time with the beat of the drum.’
      • ‘She heard the sound of hoof beats behind her and saw four men dressed in black.’
      • ‘This is a duel between two men, accompanied by the beat of the drums and gongs played by a group of elderly women.’
      • ‘The beat of drums and bellow of trumpets welcomed the team behind the success of the film.’
      • ‘Five beats of the drum were heard.’
      • ‘After another few minutes' silence, they heard distinct sounds of hoof beats.’
      • ‘He tapped his foot and nodded his head in time to the beat of the drums.’
      • ‘While some of the gatherers donned costumes, most settled on picket signs and chants, and some marched to the beat of makeshift drums.’
      • ‘The beat of the drum may sound weaker in the urban setting, yet the celebration still has its special aura.’
      pounding, banging, thumping, thudding, booming, hammering, battering, crashing
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A pulsation of the heart.
      • ‘Running and cycling expend 350 and 360 calories respectively, at a heart rate of 148 beats per minute’
      • ‘His heart rate was 120 beats per minute and his respiratory rate 18 per minute.’
      • ‘In this case, a heart rate of 70 beats per minute requires no specific intervention at this time.’
      • ‘Let's say you are 20, thus your maximal heart rate is 200 beats per minute.’
      • ‘Between beats, the heart relaxes and the blood seeps into the smaller vessels, much like a river flowing into its tributaries.’
      • ‘Some term newborns have a resting heart rate below 90 beats per minute.’
      • ‘Taking long breaths to hide the agitated beats of my thudding heart, I leaned forward more intently to analyze the picture.’
      • ‘In an average lifetime of 70 years, the total resting time of the heart between beats is estimated to be about 40 years.’
      • ‘Mean at-rest heart rates were 91 beats per minute, or normal.’
      • ‘In essence, your heart requires fewer beats to pump the same amount of blood.’
      • ‘My heart skipped a beat as I realised that after such a long time, I'd be meeting her.’
      • ‘The lone, strong voice coming from the speakers made my heart skip a beat.’
      • ‘Her heart rate was 105 beats per minute; otherwise her vital signs were normal.’
      • ‘My heart skipped about 20 beats when I realized it was Dan.’
      • ‘When the heart relaxes in between beats, the two ‘flaps’ of the mitral valve swing open to let blood flow from the atrium to the ventricle.’
      • ‘Remember too that any physical task requiring fine motor control goes out the window as your heart rate approaches 140 beats per minute.’
      • ‘My heart almost skipped a beat when I first walked in.’
      • ‘Don't be alarmed if you feel your heart skipping beats - that's a normal occurrence during angiograms.’
      • ‘In her ears echoed the sounds of her beating heart as its beats began to grow weak and slow.’
      • ‘My highest-ever heart rate was 207 beats per minute, 15 years ago.’
      pulse, pulsing, pulsating, vibration, vibrating, throb, throbbing, palpitation, palpitating, reverberation, reverberating
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 A periodic variation of sound or amplitude due to the combination of two sounds, electrical signals, or other vibrations having similar but not identical frequencies.
      • ‘When the second pump had been stopped, the beat effect ceased and the vibration consequently assumed a stable trend.’
      • ‘As two tones become more similar, the ‘beat frequency’ becomes lower.’
  • 2The movement of a bird's wings:

    ‘the beat of the swallow's wings as they dive after midges’
    • ‘I would love to lie flat on some grass while gigantic birds of prey flap and swoop over me, to feel the beat of the wind from their powerful wings.’
    • ‘Ten minutes after break of day John will listen for the beat of wings and sure as light they will wheel in and come to rest to be fed, in the field across the road.’
    • ‘The details are lost amid the uneven songs of the pigeons, the beat of wings and scrape of claw on slate.’
    • ‘The rapid, repetitious beat of the wings seem to have no limit in flexibility or resiliences and give these creatures a docile appearance.’
    • ‘You can feel the beats of their large wings as they fly just inches above you.’
    • ‘We can feel the pull of muscle and the beat of feathered wings of the snow goose as it makes its long migration.’
    • ‘When hovering, each complete beat of the wing describes a figure of eight.’
    • ‘She could hear an owl nearby, its call and then the beat of its wings.’
  • 3An area allocated to a police officer and patrolled on foot:

    ‘his beat was in North London’
    ‘public clamour for more policemen on the beat’
    • ‘The Bishop of Bradford swapped his pulpit for the pavement when he joined a police officer on the beat.’
    • ‘A community clinic launched by the police in Liden has been hailed as such a success that another bobby is being added to the beat to ensure crime stays down.’
    • ‘His first job had been on the beat as a Brooklyn policeman in 1917.’
    • ‘It's harder still when there's no moral cop walking the beat to blow the whistle when things get out of control.’
    • ‘28 per cent said that they had never seen a police officer on the beat in their area.’
    • ‘What do you think about having more police officers on the beat?’
    • ‘He was the first Cheshire officer to swap his regular beat in the Knutsford area to act as an adviser in the war-torn towns of the Balkans.’
    • ‘Extra bobbies will also be on the beat to patrol trouble spots in the borough after a spate of brick attacks on buses.’
    • ‘I would put more police on the beat instead of driving round in cars or sat behind a desk.’
    • ‘They marched out in regular formation, peeling off two by two at each main street to patrol their beats on foot.’
    • ‘If a rare police officer on the beat in Bradford actually saw an incident like this, he wouldn't do anything.’
    • ‘They will have a regular beat and get to know such people as head teachers and shopkeepers.’
    • ‘Worried residents regularly call for more bobbies on the beat, but the police already have community officers in key areas of north Kent.’
    • ‘Police officers on the beat are also on the lookout for underage drinkers.’
    • ‘Police are putting extra patrols on the beat in Grimsby after a racist attack left an asylum seeker with serious facial injuries.’
    • ‘He was not allowed to leave his beat or consume alcohol when on duty.’
    • ‘Police must be seen to be on the beat in every area where crime is known to be a problem.’
    • ‘Police officers on the beat are now outnumbered in several areas by private security workers.’
    • ‘But the danger of arming the policeman on the beat is that it would drive a wedge between the officer and the community.’
    • ‘One day while on his regular beat Pc Vernon dropped in to Asda in Linksway, Horwich, to have a chat with security manager Ron Jackson.’
    circuit, round, course, route, way, path, orbit, tour, turn
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 A spell of duty allocated to a police officer:
      ‘his beat ended at 6 a.m’
    2. 3.2 An area regularly frequented by someone:
      ‘a few, new to their beat, looked at him with interest’
      • ‘Workers in this contexts have similar ways of looking out for each other, including on worker telling another when she is leaving her ‘beat’ to service a punter, so that the woman who remains behind can raise the alarm if necessary.’
      • ‘Reporters are required to check their beat everyday -- in person.’
      • ‘Wardens each have beats which are rotated regularly and can expect to cover an average of up to six miles a day.’
    3. 3.3informal A person's area of interest:
      ‘his beat is construction, property, and hotels’
      • ‘Others have found international reporting to be a beat that interests them far more than any domestic story.’
      • ‘Because I work the entertainment beat, frequent contact was inevitable.’
      • ‘Because she's a real reporter who happens to be stuck on the movie beat for the moment.’
    4. 3.4 A stretch of water fished by an angler:
      ‘you don't necessarily have to fish on the priciest beats to find good sport’
      • ‘We fished a beat that had a small narrow island about a third of the way down.’
      • ‘The beats of the Norwegian Flyfishers Club are fished on a rotational basis, giving each angler equal rights, and a maximum of four anglers per beat.’
      • ‘Not all can afford a top beat on a Scottish river when the fish are running.’
      • ‘Following rain on Thursday, fishing conditions on the river were ideal on Friday and anglers were out on all beats of the club water.’
      • ‘Each beat fishes best at a different height of water.’
  • 4A brief pause or moment of hesitation:

    ‘she waited for a beat of three seconds’
    • ‘That was definitely not the answer Orion had anticipated or wanted, but after a beat he followed her.’
    • ‘He waited a beat and then stood up, shoulders square to the lion, facing him in an unequivocal challenge.’
    • ‘Andrew held his breath for a beat after he clicked connect, but he was seamlessly connected just as if he were in the building.’
    • ‘Max waited two beats to make sure that he'd heard right, then let out a snort of laughter.’
    • ‘I hung the phone up, waited a few beats and then picked it up; the screaming was still going strong.’
    • ‘I blushed, waiting a beat before slowly trying to wiggle out of his grasp without waking him up.’
    • ‘I downed the rest of the mojito and the ice water in a beat and briskly walked out, turning the corner to avoid any encounters.’
    • ‘Andy paused for a few beats, grit his teeth and forced a smile.’
    • ‘Kristie waited a beat, hearing a body thump to the floor and soft footsteps getting closer.’
    • ‘The silence stretched for a beat, and then he asked the obvious question.’
    • ‘‘I just convinced them with my sincerity,’ he says coolly, waiting a couple of beats.’
    • ‘We stared at each other for a few beats then I shook my head.’
    • ‘He stared at me for a beat, and then shook his head, trying to hide a grin.’
    • ‘Drop something deadpan, wait a couple of beats with a blank face, and let the humor roll.’
    • ‘Chris hesitates for a beat before rushing up and knocking Johnnie down in a quick flurry of shots.’
    • ‘I waited a beat, giving Jasper a chance to speak.’
    • ‘Bailey pauses for a beat while the squadron groan.’
    • ‘The gentleman moves past, pausing for a beat to smile at the child.’
    • ‘He waited a few beats, then went to the door and pressed his hands against the pad in the wall.’
    • ‘Kevin waited a few beats but the droning whine continued.’
    stop, cessation, break, halt, stoppage, standstill, interruption, check, lull, respite, stay, breathing space, discontinuation, discontinuance, hiatus, gap, interlude, intermission, interval, entr'acte
    View synonyms
  • 5informal

    short for beatnik
    • ‘Perhaps he was a Beat born too early.’
    • ‘He was a beat in the 50s, met and performed with Warhol in the early 60s, was always on the edge of everything.’
    • ‘It reminds me of my parents, they were beats and hippies then converted to Protestant Christianity.’

adjective

  • 1informal [predicative] Completely exhausted:

    ‘I'm beat—I need an hour or so to rest’
    • ‘It's a long drive, and by the time we check in to our hotel, I am beat.’
    • ‘He ducked out in the stretch and he looked beat before straightening out and accelerating.’
    • ‘I was invited down there by Jimmy, who seemed completely beat.’
  • 2[attributive] Relating to the beat generation or its philosophy:

    ‘beat poet Allen Ginsberg’
    • ‘Webb is still mining the streets for his hugely dramatic, beat poet lyrics, and they work as literature.’
    • ‘With his pointed goatee, he looked like a beat poet to outsiders, but mathematicians knew him as one of the greatest talents of his generation.’
    • ‘Made in 2003, he calls it a homage to his hero, the beat poet Allen Ginsberg.’
    • ‘That split personality again: a beat poet on the one hand, artiste to the royal court on the other.’
    • ‘I was influenced by the beat poets and the Southern writers like William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor.’
    • ‘You wouldn't think that Humberside police actually need a beat poet would you.’
    • ‘I love Tom Waits and have always been interested in Burroughs and the beat poets.’
    • ‘For the last five years Peggy-Anne Berton has been entertaining audiences with her own version of beat storytelling.’
    • ‘He was now a beat poet, he organised poetry slams in different areas and performed his hypnotic rhymes.’
    • ‘North Beach was home to the beat poets, who some say launched the youth revolution.’
    • ‘Influenced by the beat poets like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Ted Jones, McGough would write late into the night.’
    • ‘At the minute I'm mostly reading beat poets.’
    • ‘Like a skilled beat poet at the local café, Round keeps the rhythm and builds upon it with plenty of attitude.’
    • ‘Based on the 1957 novel by Scottish beat author Alexander Trocchi, it also stars Ewan McGregor.’
    • ‘The album ends with a recording of beat poet Charles Bukowski talking about his overriding need to escape the banality of his everyday working life.’

Phrases

  • beat about the bush

    • Discuss a matter without coming to the point:

      ‘he never beat about the bush when something was annoying him’
      • ‘Using research compiled last February in student focus groups, Bank of Ireland was told to stop beating about the bush with gimmicks and be more direct in asking for students' business.’
      • ‘But no more beating about the bush, I'll just come right out with it.’
      • ‘He doesn't beat about the bush, as I'm barely through the door before he starts speaking.’
      • ‘There is no need to beat about the bush when talking to children - you can be more direct with them than you might think.’
      • ‘So, without any further beating about the bush, I present this week's question.’
      • ‘From there, the play got deeper, darker and, let's not beat about the bush, much, much more watchable.’
      • ‘There is no point in being ambiguous or beating about the bush.’
      • ‘Let's not beat about the bush, the sort of people who drop litter are the sort who do not usually give a damn about anybody or anything.’
      • ‘But then everybody must stop beating about the bush and tell it like it is.’
      • ‘‘I don't think we ought to beat about the bush,’ he joked.’
      prevaricate, vacillate, dodge the issue, evade the issue, be non-committal, hedge, hedge one's bets, quibble, parry questions, fudge the issue, mince one's words, stall, shilly-shally, hesitate
      hum and haw
      pussyfoot around, waffle, flannel, sit on the fence, duck the question
      tergiversate
      View synonyms
  • beat someone at their own game

    • Use someone's own methods to outdo them in their chosen activity:

      ‘we can compete against our trading rivals and beat them at their own game’
      • ‘Shopkeepers that want to beat Tesco at their own game need to have a strong competitive advantage.’
      • ‘They need to be reminded we had eight long years of their rhetoric and we are now beating them at their own game.’
      • ‘There is a certain pleasure in beating them at their own game, which very nearly matches a shopping buzz.’
      • ‘Young stockbrokers from a York school will be going up against professionals to try and beat them at their own game.’
      • ‘For the European riders, the grass is their forte, and to be able to compete with them and beat them at their own game is very satisfying.’
      • ‘He felt he had to beat them at their own game, and threw himself into his work.’
      • ‘Passionate, uninhibited and a bit weird, football fans everywhere from Scotland to Argentina knew exactly what he was saying: that there is no pleasure as sweet as beating England at their own game.’
      • ‘This and many other books and newspaper and magazine articles recommended that European industry and commerce should learn from the methods of the Americans and try to beat them at their own game.’
      • ‘Some of his fellow activists are less than sanguine about the shift from a strategy of opposing corporations to one of beating them at their own game.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Pixar not only beats them at their own game, but also sidesteps the idea that the central competition is visual by centering its latest film on wonderful characters and a meaningful plot.’
  • beat the bounds

    • historical Mark parish boundaries by walking round them and striking certain points with rods:

      ‘a large procession, headed by the clergyman, would beat the bounds over a period of two days’
      • ‘The Gould and Dickens families organised an unofficial walk to ensure the continuity of the beating the bounds whose origins have been lost in the depths of time.’
      • ‘For anyone unable to do the St Richard's sponsored walk on May 15, on May 16 there will be a nine-mile walk to beat the bounds of the parish.’
      • ‘Many other parish councils organised beating the bounds events and there was already a leaflet outlining a suitable route around the parish.’
      • ‘More than 80 walkers aged from five to their mid-80s took part in the annual beating the bounds ceremony at Ramsbury.’
  • beat one's breast

    • Make an exaggerated show of sorrow, despair, or regret.

      • ‘In contrast to Antony's desire to blame anyone but himself, Cleopatra spends much of her first speech beating her breast.’
      • ‘I bet you are wailing and gnashing your teeth and beating your breast with many small whips as you ponder this.’
      • ‘He admits he has done wrong but refuses to beat his breast or elaborate on his plea.’
      • ‘At the peak of her ambiguous angst, she beats her breast in sappy mourning upon the death of her father.’
      • ‘Let's all hope that the politician does more than beats his breast and really gives us an impartial look at corporate America.’
  • beat the bushes

    • informal Search thoroughly:

      ‘I was out beating the bushes for investors to split the risk’
      • ‘He is beating the bushes for at least $100 million more.’
      • ‘He will no doubt be beating the bushes for players that can take some of the pressure off of Milbrett next season.’
      • ‘As the economy has unraveled over the past three years, managers desperate to prop up profits have been beating the bushes for new ways to cut costs.’
      • ‘When I first started in this role I was concerned that I might have to beat the bushes for authors willing to write articles.’
      • ‘The choice is whether to focus on one dream candidate or to beat the bushes and conduct a thorough search.’
      • ‘As the tightest presidential election in Mexican history hits the homestretch for July 2, the front-runners are beating the bushes for every vote they can get.’
      • ‘Colorado needs to stop drafting high-school football players who might one day become good baseball players and instead beat the bushes for players who already have high on-base and slugging percentages.’
      • ‘Rather than desperately beating the bushes for MBAs, by the 1990s, US firms were swamped with them.’
      • ‘Those were halcyon days for brokerages, which ramped up employment and beat the bushes for technology analysts who could help justify outrageous stock valuations.’
      • ‘He has been beating the bushes to find help.’
  • beat the clock

    • Perform a task quickly or within a fixed time limit:

      ‘frozen mixed vegetables help you beat the clock with this soup’
      • ‘We get one of those scenes in which a safecracker tries to beat the clock.’
      • ‘A trainee army officer braved sub-zero temperatures to beat the clock in stamina-sapping ski and shoot races.’
      • ‘It shows that drivers habitually hurry to beat the clock, and cut corners on road safety.’
      • ‘With a combination of smart driving and careful turbo-boosting, the player can beat the clock and set a new record!’
      • ‘It is still touch and go but player and manager returned from the training camp in Valencia more confident than ever that he will beat the clock.’
      • ‘Surgeons are being paid three times their normal daily wages by desperate health chiefs racing to beat the clock over waiting times targets.’
      • ‘For those reasons, parents need to rush to beat the clock.’
      • ‘Those who fail to beat the clock will be discounted from the race.’
      • ‘To beat the clock, he teams up with a colleague.’
      • ‘You'll participate in a large variety of driving and shooting missions, some of which involve beating the clock.’
  • beat the drum for

  • be beaten at the post

    • Be defeated at the last moment.

      • ‘The girls played superbly but were beaten at the post losing by one match overall to the Australian team.’
      • ‘Nearly everybody has a tale to tell how they got beaten at the post when buying real estate.’
      • ‘Though he was beaten at the post he managed to create a course record.’
      • ‘Caroline had no intention of being beaten at the post.’
      • ‘They were later beaten at the post by the number two seeds.’
  • beat one's (or the) meat

    • vulgar slang (of a man) masturbate.

  • beat the pants off

    • informal Prove to be vastly superior to:

      ‘it's an ugly lump of plastic, but it sure beats the pants off the UK model’
      • ‘California wines have been beating the pants off of French wines for quite a while now.’
      • ‘But by exercising tenacity and faithfully staying the course, these companies beat the pants off their competitors.’
      • ‘They never guessed that some of us were beating the pants off of them academically.’
      • ‘While these speakers can't compete with a good home stereo system, they will beat the pants off of ultra-portables and most computer speakers.’
      • ‘You have to give Microsoft a lot of credit for beating the pants off of Nintendo in the console gaming market so fast.’
      • ‘It is beating the pants off our other mailer.’
      • ‘It is rare when a company introduces a new line of apparel that literally beats the pants off its competitors.’
      • ‘But of course the best scenario is we beat the pants off our competition and go on as if nothing happened.’
      • ‘It's not an easy thing, coming out with something that beats the pants off your tablemates.’
      • ‘He told me about a New England bike racer who had his left arm amputated and was beating the pants off everybody.’
  • beat a path to someone's door

    • (of a large number of people) hasten to make contact with someone regarded as interesting or inspiring:

      ‘the students and their professors beat a path to his door’
      • ‘If you do something very well, and focus on that, people will beat a path to your door.’
      • ‘Come up with a great series of concerts and the world will beat a path to your door.’
      • ‘Jamie quickly caught the eye of the national and a number of professional clubs, all of them beating a path to his door to sign him up.’
      • ‘And the investors who once shunned him are now beating a path to his door.’
      • ‘In the first place, simply putting your site online in no way guarantees that the world will beat a path to your door.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The nation's retailers are beating a path to our door.’’
      • ‘It is easy to understand why conservationists and wildlife lovers have been beating a path to the company 's door.’
      • ‘Companies that can manage talent well will find that talented people beat a path to their door.’
      • ‘If they can make this work, they will have tyre-manufacturers beating a path to their door.’
      • ‘They will be beating a path to his door after this.’
  • beat a (hasty) retreat

    • Withdraw quickly in order to avoid something unpleasant:

      ‘as the bombs started to go off, they beat a hasty retreat across the field’
      • ‘Jonathan then lunged for the boy at the door, who quickly turned around and beat a hasty retreat away from the house, forgetting his flowers and his car.’
      • ‘The thief, instead of beating a hasty retreat, confronted his accuser and hit him in the face delivering a smack on the jaw.’
      • ‘He found the attention too much and beat a hasty retreat to the States, where he spent a year writing songs in happy anonymity.’
      • ‘He thought of feigning illness and beating a hasty retreat but, after much deliberation, decided to chance it.’
      • ‘Clocking that they were being watched they beat a hasty retreat.’
      • ‘A fierce, icy wind whipped up the lake's fiery red surface and forced us to beat a hasty retreat from our lakeside walk.’
      • ‘After raising one of the biggest cheers of the night, the streaker pranced around the penalty area before beating a hasty retreat.’
      • ‘On our arrival, anxious parents start gathering up their little ones and beating a retreat.’
      • ‘In fact, he beat a hasty retreat at the first opportunity promising to get the bid and a list of references to me later in the week.’
      • ‘But speaking outside a regional police chiefs conference in Bali today, there was no sign that he's beating a retreat from his position.’
      withdraw, retire, draw back, pull back, pull out, fall back, give way, give ground, recoil, flee, take flight, beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat, run away, run off, make a run for it, run for it, make off, take off, take to one's heels, make a break for it, bolt, make a quick exit, clear out, make one's getaway, escape, head for the hills
      View synonyms
  • beat the system

    • Succeed in finding a means of getting round rules, regulations, or other means of control:

      ‘it may be that we secretly admire those who try to beat the system’
      • ‘It's fascinating just to watch the parties whooping it up at the craps tables, the dead-eyed addicts feeding the slots and the seasoned professionals trying to beat the system.’
      • ‘The truth is that the average consumer today has no moral compunction about beating the system.’
      • ‘Follow these seven rules and you too can beat the system and earn money from your plastic.’
      • ‘Although he admitted that there are some people that are currently beating the system, he stressed that the current taxation process is the only way to go.’
      • ‘No matter what you do, they're going to look for ways to beat the system, and sometimes they'll succeed.’
      • ‘We often get complaints from loyal and honest passengers who are frustrated by the people who believe they can beat the system.’
      • ‘A father desperate to get his daughter into a prestigious girls grammar school - 15 miles from where he lives - revealed how he beat the system.’
      • ‘We had tried to beat the system, but the system had beaten us.’
      • ‘Folks are beginning to figure out how they can beat the system, so to speak, because there are all sorts of travel restrictions.’
      • ‘Armed with that information, it would be relatively easy to help an applicant beat the system.’
  • beat time

    • Indicate or follow a musical tempo with a baton or other means.

      • ‘The drummer beat time and the pipes brought mounting excitement.’
      • ‘In good weather, when the windows are all wide open to the street, you hear students working at brass and woodwinds, teachers beating time.’
      • ‘We were required to hold our books in our left hand and beat time with our right.’
      • ‘We see him taking his grandchildren on sketching trips and marching with them round the dining room in Nice, beating time on a drum.’
      • ‘Their teacher would beat time with her pencil on the music rack.’
      • ‘The robot replaced the bandleader during one song, beating time with a baton in its pistoning arm.’
      • ‘Not many conductors have ever had to beat time to a chamber ensemble on his left while, on the right, deejay, rapper and band are zipping off an unscripted rhythm.’
      • ‘I was thinking about singing accompanied only with the sound of a spoon beating time on a saucepan.’
      • ‘They also include the technical aspects, such as the principles of beating time, left-hand techniques, score reading and accompanying.’
      • ‘Teams must have a minimum of 12 and maximum of 16 people, plus a drummer to sit at the head of the boat and beat time for the crew.’
  • beat someone to it

    • Succeed in doing something or getting somewhere before someone else:

      ‘you'd better get a move on or they'll beat you to it’
      • ‘We aim to go into clinical trials by 2004, but there are no products in clinical trials and I doubt anyone will beat us to it.’
      • ‘In most cases, imperiled resources such as fisheries and airsheds are in open-access commons where the incentive is for people to take as much as possible of the resource before someone else beats them to it.’
      • ‘I thought I would be first, getting down here just after 4pm, but these guys beat me to it.’
      • ‘Then came the fear that during the five-and-a-half years it took us to do it, someone else would beat us to it.’
      • ‘They don't seem able to wait for the exact date of an anniversary any more but instead insist on getting their article, programme or book out in advance, just in case someone else's anniversary tribute beats them to it.’
      • ‘You better put in for that time off from the job now, before somebody else beats you to it.’
      • ‘She knew how I felt about succeeding in my challenge, and she wanted to beat me to it.’
      • ‘I was going to post on this issue myself, but Ted beat me to it.’
      • ‘He said that if fishers were given control of a specific area, they wouldn't be out in the water grabbing every lobster they could get before another fisher beat them to it.’
      • ‘He and five of his colleagues reached the Pole only to discover that they had been beaten to it by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.’
  • if you can't beat them, join them

    • humorous If you are unable to outdo rivals in some endeavour, you might as well cooperate with them and thereby possibly gain an advantage.

      • ‘Well, if you can't beat them, join them say I.’
      • ‘One strand of opinion, though, suggests that if you can't beat them, join them.’
      • ‘But to anyone with eyes to see, popular culture is here to stay, and as the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them.’
      • ‘They do say that if you can't beat them, join them.’
      • ‘You're saying if you can't beat them, join them.’
      • ‘Like everyone says, if you can't beat them, join them.’
      • ‘But by the third time it happened, I decided if you can't beat them, join them.’
      • ‘But they have increasingly taken the view that if you can't beat them, join them, and begun offering similar, competitive services.’
      • ‘The only solution as far as I can see it is if you can't beat them, join them.’
      • ‘Steve took the view that if you can't beat them, join them.’
  • to beat all ——s

    • Infinitely better than all the things of the specified type:

      ‘a PC screen saver to beat all screen savers’
      • ‘England grew into an empire to beat all empires.’
      • ‘Word is beginning to filter through that there s a festival to beat all festivals planned for the culture-rich village of Milltown over the August bank holiday weekend.’
      • ‘The company will present one lucky reader with the prize to beat all prizes, an all expenses paid rugby party at their house with 20 of their close friends.’
      • ‘Forget about the debate, ignore the rows over religious misrepresentation, just buy this book and enjoy a thriller to beat all thrillers.’
      • ‘It was a party to beat all parties and everyone had a ball and the chocolates and liquid refreshments added to the enjoyment of the afternoon.’
      • ‘His obsession has prompted him to produce a book that contains the conspiracy theory to beat all conspiracy theories.’
      • ‘The visitors nearly made it the comeback to beat all comebacks.’
      • ‘They are planning to sell all their possessions in what will be a car boot sale to beat all car boot sales.’
      • ‘It was a game to beat all games as supporters watched their favourite Waterford sport personalities go head to head on the soccer field.’
      • ‘In spite of a storm to beat all storms, there was a record turn out of punters to the Table Quiz.’
  • to beat the band

    • informal In such a way as to surpass all competition:

      ‘they were talking to beat the band’
      • ‘Women churned butter, baked potato bread and poured Irish coffees to beat the band.’
      • ‘Well, the charm seems to be continuing, as I have been pumping out lyrics to beat the band.’
      • ‘The one thing he did know was that he had a headache to beat the band.’
      • ‘Paperbacks are cheaper, but I'm lucky enough to work in a library, where there are hardcovers to beat the band.’
      • ‘In this era of leagues and cups to beat the band it is hard to imagine that the rest of the season was made up of friendly fixtures.’
      • ‘We sang away to beat the band and after the miracle of modern technology took hold we didn't sound too bad at all.’
      • ‘You know those photos you see in glossy home magazines that show a gorgeous living room without a thing out of place, anchored in the center with a pot of planted bulbs blooming to beat the band?’
      • ‘There they were confronted and astonished to find themselves in a specially arranged Marquee glittering with banners, ballons and welcome streamers wishing Mary a Happy 40th and a barbeque to beat the band.’
      • ‘Then there was more debate, objections to beat the band and finally alterations to bring us to where we are at.’
      • ‘It has car parks to beat the band, a huge tented village area, excellent hotel and accommodation and an airport just down the road.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • beat someone back

    • Force (someone trying to do something) to retreat:

      ‘I was beaten back by the flames’
      • ‘We tried for a summit attempt on May 29 but we were beaten back by the weather.’
      • ‘They had tried to get into the house through the back door, on their knees, but they were beaten back by the heat and smoke.’
      • ‘Half a dozen ran forward, as if they thought they could somehow dash into that seething inferno and pull him out, but the heat beat them back, and they stopped helplessly.’
      • ‘A friend of a 13-year-old girl who drowned on a school trip to France said she was beaten back by waves as she attempted to reach her stricken companion.’
      • ‘Several people risked their lives in the early hours of Saturday morning to try to rescue those who died but the intensity of the fire was such that they were beaten back by the flames.’
      • ‘Despite their brave efforts, they were beaten back by dense smoke and flames as they tried to get into the upstairs bedroom.’
      • ‘There were women fighting to get in, but the flames beat them back.’
      • ‘She managed to help her father out of the house, but when she tried to get back inside to help others she was beaten back by the flames.’
      • ‘Police used truncheons to beat them back, but no major injuries were reported.’
      • ‘One of the attackers opened fire as the brave pensioner beat them back into the hallway.’
      repel, fight off, repulse, drive away, drive back, force back, beat back, push back, thrust back, put to flight
      View synonyms
  • beat down

    • 1(of the sun) radiate intense heat and brightness:

      ‘the sun beat down on them with fiery intensity’
      • ‘The sun was beating down heating the cold morning air.’
      • ‘Just being down by the bay was cooler, and the breeze coming off the water was a nice antidote for the bright sun beating down on them from over the hill.’
      • ‘I was standing on the pavement, the heat beating down on the back of my neck.’
      • ‘With the heat beating down on them, people queued up in front of fresh fruit juice stalls to quench their thirst.’
      • ‘It had been more than three hours since his last break, and the heat was beating down on him relentlessly.’
      • ‘She stared out at the bright sun beating down on the white sidewalks and the palm trees that lined her street.’
      • ‘Bright sunshine was beating down yesterday on the lines of parked Mercedes and Porsches in well-heeled Ilkley but it has been a dark few days for the town.’
      • ‘It was midday, and the sun beat down with incredible intensity.’
      • ‘You'll choke on dust and faint in the heat of a fierce desert sun that beats down from a jaundiced sky.’
      • ‘She awoke to the bright sunlight beating down on her.’
      1. 1.1(of rain) fall hard and continuously:
        ‘the rain continued to beat down on him’
        • ‘‘There is nothing better than curling up on the settee with a cup of coffee and the papers while the rain beats down on the glass above you,’ he says.’
        • ‘With wind, rain and hail stones beating down the girls gave a full-hearted team performance showing good skills and determination.’
        • ‘I put my hand on my pistol and stepped inside, standing still until my eyes adjusted to the dark, listening to the rain beat down upon the metal roof.’
        • ‘The merciless rain beat down so hard, even the thick canopy of the dark woods gave way to the crashing heavy droplets.’
        • ‘We hied back to our hotel, where we took refuge under the veranda of the beachfront bar and watched the rain beat down with a tumultuous fury.’
        • ‘The rain seemed to beat down on her until it seemed like it would flood the whole countryside.’
        • ‘At least the rain wasn't beating down on us anymore.’
        • ‘I leaned wearily into MaryAnn's shoulder and sat for a moment, drying my tears and listening to the rain beat down on the roof and windows of the chapel.’
        • ‘The rain was beating down hard and both Daryl and Melissa were soaked to the bone.’
        • ‘The September rain beat down on the roof incessantly, and the grey, cloudy skies made the whole situation depressing.’
  • beat something down

    • 1Quell defence or resistance:

      ‘the senator had beaten down my last defence’
      • ‘While other people might be beaten down, he seems to rise to the occasion.’
      • ‘Once the enemy artillery had been beaten down, artillery could then be used to support the final stages of the infantry attack.’
      • ‘The media beat us down with their doomsday scenarios, manipulate us with exaggerations, hide the truth with misrepresentations and then we come crawling back when they shamelessly pull at our heartstrings.’
      • ‘If you want to know if the two stay together, or if society beats her down, you'll have to watch the film.’
      • ‘Rather than being a time to beat people down, the meetings should be a time to pump people up and make them feel good about what they are doing and how the company is doing.’
      • ‘It turns out that great housekeepers are not beaten down by the relentless grind of cleaning rooms.’
      • ‘Above all, realize that if you really care about literature, if you really love literature, then you might help it more by encouraging it than by beating it down.’
      • ‘It will be about another five weeks for me to beat the thing down before it really becomes a problem.’
      • ‘That's why instead of letting change beat us down, we should try to master it - surfing on top of the waves instead of letting them pull us under.’
      • ‘Kate Hurst, who works at George Lesley Flowers in Cricklade Road, said: ‘I think they are going to just keep submitting this application until they beat us down.’’
      1. 1.1Fight to suppress a feeling or emotion:
        ‘she beat down a gush of self-pity’
        • ‘If one has pride, Franklin advises him to ‘disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it .’’
        • ‘He fought with an emotion inside himself until it had been beaten down, then he smiled slightly.’
        • ‘A feeling of guilt washed over her, but she beat it down and refused to accept it.’
        • ‘Terror swept through her for a brief moment, before she beat it down and dodged another attack.’
        • ‘My heart fluttered again when I saw him, but I beat it down almost before it started.’
  • beat someone down

    • Force someone to reduce the price of something:

      ‘I had at least attempted to beat him down on the charter price’
      • ‘Friends say if you ask to borrow a fiver, he'd beat you down to £4.’
      • ‘He beat me down on the price. He got a bargain from a naive schoolboy and I still resent him now for that.’
      • ‘She asks me for a bottle of country liquor and one chicken and a hundred rupees and I beat her down to fifty because that is all I have.’
      • ‘Some buyers tend to view the survey as a way of beating the price down further but that's human nature, and you learn to cope with it.’
      • ‘Legitimate net design guys like me struggle to get clients, who then beat us down on price.’
      • ‘They loved the house, and the garden, but Ms Doctor was the kind of buyer who thinks she can beat the price down by finding bad things on which to fasten.’
      barter, bargain, negotiate, discuss terms, quibble, wrangle
      View synonyms
  • beat off

    • (of a man) masturbate.

  • beat someone/thing off

    • 1Succeed in resisting an attacker or an attack:

      ‘we beat off the raiders with sticks and broom handles’
      • ‘Workers in the 1970s showed that they could beat off attacks from the bosses and the government, through striking and winning active solidarity from other workers.’
      • ‘In January 1583, he marched to Antwerp to assert his authority but his attack was beaten off.’
      • ‘The quick-thinking hero beat the dogs off with a lead and dived on top of Sam to protect him.’
      • ‘A clash took place and the Imperial forces were beaten off.’
      • ‘Just a few weeks ago they killed a swan and at the weekend a second narrowly escaped after a passerby jumped into the water and beat the geese off with a branch.’
      • ‘They stood firm and beat him off, inflicting another 12,000 casualties on Frederick's army.’
      • ‘But much of his time was devoted to beating off attacks on his authority.’
      • ‘Eventually, they managed to beat the dog off her and locked it in a back yard with the other animal.’
      • ‘The Muscovites bombarded the wooden walls with cannon, but to little effect, and infantry assaults were beaten off.’
      • ‘Several German counterattacks were beaten off, and the Marines advanced into raking machine-gun fire and well-adjusted artillery.’
      repel, fight off, repulse, drive away, drive back, force back, beat back, push back, thrust back, put to flight
      hold off, ward off, fend off, stand off, stave off, keep at bay, keep at arm's length
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Win against a challenge or rival:
        ‘the firm had beaten off competition from 260 other submissions’
        • ‘Rogers beat off four rivals to land the job.’
        • ‘He had no problems beating off the challenge of 20 lifters.’
        • ‘It was also named as British film of the year, beating off competition from World War II thriller Enigma.’
        • ‘It was no surprise that CAR magazine voted it their No.1 car of 2003, beating off competition from the BMW M3 CSL and Ferrari 360 CS.’
        • ‘Roger beat off some people who would have been worthy winners but he deserves the praise and credit for all the fantastic work he has done.’
        • ‘The Englishman will have to beat off fierce Scandinavian competition in the most snowbound event of the season.’
        • ‘Since beating off its rival, the Bank of Scotland, in the battle for ownership of NatWest, RBS has made strong progress.’
        • ‘‘The office market is expected to be the star performer in the medium term, beating off competition from retail for the first time in the past few years,’ he said.’
        • ‘In the men's event, Roger Hammond beat off Jeremy Hunt and Jamie Alberts to lift the crown.’
        • ‘He beat off strong competition from over 1,400 applicants.’
  • beat something out

    • 1Produce a loud, rhythmic sound by striking something:

      ‘he beat out a rhythm on the drums’
      • ‘She tapped her fingers against the table, beating out a rhythm.’
      • ‘I took the drumsticks back and started beating a rhythm out.’
      • ‘The sound she beat out was at once primal and primitive, yet nuanced, complex, flowing.’
      • ‘He is lightly beating out a rhythm which gradually increases in intensity.’
      • ‘So even while we're having dinner as the food's being served, the drummer will be beating out a tune on the table as everyone sings along.’
    • 2Extinguish flames by striking at them with a suitable object:

      ‘he made a frantic dash to grab an armful of branches and beat out the flames’
      • ‘It carried on relentlessly burning, melting the sole of his shoes as he finally beat the flames out.’
      • ‘They jumped out, took off their jerseys and proceeded to beat the fire out with them.’
      • ‘Other men knocked them to the ground and began to beat the flames out savagely.’
      • ‘It screamed as flames surrounded it; screaming, it tried to beat them out.’
      • ‘Several men attempted to beat the flames out while water was poured on the fire.’
      extinguish, put out, quench, smother, douse, snuff out, stifle, choke
      View synonyms
  • beat someone up

    • 1Assault and injure someone by hitting, kicking, or punching them repeatedly:

      ‘they threatened to beat him up if he didn't hand over the money’
      • ‘She had been constantly threatened by other pupils, who said they would beat her up after school.’
      • ‘He put up so much of a struggle that they had to beat him up and knock him out before taking him in.’
      • ‘She finds it hard to forget that her dad attacked me once and beat me up in front of her.’
      • ‘When her father, brother and sisters protested, they were beaten up, shoved and dragged around the house.’
      • ‘I used to dread getting the results of tests because my name would always be called out first, as the highest score and then classmates would threaten to beat me up during the break.’
      • ‘Well, the only way that she could have been injured like that was if she was beaten up.’
      • ‘The youngsters have kicked his door, threatened to beat him up and thrown eggs at his door in Manor Road, Dovercourt.’
      • ‘During her first week she was jumped by a gang of bullies who proceeded to beat her up.’
      • ‘Apparently, on Sunday, August 18, he assaulted his wife, beating her up pretty badly.’
      • ‘It's a social problem, where it's becoming acceptable to attack people and beat them up in this way.’
      1. 1.1informal Reproach or criticize oneself excessively.
        • ‘I've also been beating myself up over the fact that I don't have a career.’
        • ‘I am still beating myself up about a letter I lost about five years ago.’
        • ‘Is there any point beating myself up about being lucky?’
        • ‘Stop beating yourself up about your weight; you are fine as you are!’
        • ‘If truth be told I've had a totally relaxing and lazy 2 days, and here I am beating myself up because I haven't achieved anything worth noting.’
        • ‘Let's stop beating ourselves up about this and make use of it.’
        • ‘I was beating myself up for even thinking about such ridiculous things, but you cannot help what you think during these times.’
        • ‘Do what you can do, but please don't beat yourself up, because you can't do it all.’
        • ‘May be we should just accept the fact that with this season ‘to be merry’, comes a certain dose of celebratory excess, and not beat ourselves up for it.’
        • ‘Maybe it's time to stop beating ourselves up for being cynical about marriage and relationships.’
        assault, attack, mug, batter, thrash, pummel, pound
        knock about, knock around, do over, work over, clobber, rough up, fill in, kick in, jump, paste, lay into, lace into, sail into, pitch into, get stuck into, beat the living daylights out of, let someone have it
        have a go at, duff someone up
        beat up on
        View synonyms
  • beat up on someone

    • North American way of saying beat someone up
      • ‘‘The point was to beat up on him,’ said one Democratic aide.’
      • ‘I would never hurt my wife and beat up on her like that.’
      • ‘But I wish people would stop beating up on him for running.’
      • ‘As a result, they're working with him, rather than beating up on him.’
      • ‘They were beating up on him because he was a pickpocket?’
      • ‘I remember when I was younger, and Buster was staying with us up in a house on Emerson Street and he was beating up on her for a whole day.’
      • ‘I was the leader of the opposition for a while, and people beat up on me mercilessly, so I watch it happen to others and think, well, there but for the grace of God go I.’
      • ‘You want to beat up on somebody, take a shot at me.’
      • ‘I frankly believe that you spend all this time beating up on somebody else because you don't have that much to say yourself.’
      • ‘However, she knew that crying would only make her look weak, causing the gang to beat up on her even more.’

Origin

Old English bēatan, of Germanic origin.

Pronunciation

beat

/biːt/