One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A broom made of twigs tied round a stick.
broom, sweeper, whisk, sweeping brushView synonyms
- ‘Children love to sweep up, and this small besom looks just like a grown-up one.’
- ‘Brush in fine sand with a besom, and the grass will breathe more easily.’
- ‘Having finished at last, she took her besom to the door, and beat it against a stone.’
- ‘In the past, it was used to make besoms and brooms; even baskets were sometimes fashioned from its stems.’
- ‘The farmers are among the last producers of besom brooms in the country, after getting off to a flying start with the demand for traditional broomsticks sparked by the Harry Potter books and films.’
- ‘She realized that she had left her besom behind in the field, having forgotten it as the strange spirit had spirited her away from where the hole had been.’
- ‘Fix up that dusty broomstick from the hall closet and use it for a besom.’
- ‘Provided there is not too much wind, and there are enough fire-breaks - a burn, perhaps, or a wide track to prevent the fire taking off - you can keep the blaze under control by beating it down with the besoms.’
- ‘Other species of wood used include birch, which is made into besom for brooms and horse jumps and oak for rustic furniture.’
- ‘One Dorset broom maker was even making a special version of his household besom broom for the younger visitors - a Nimbus 2000, guaranteed to attract all Harry Potter fans!’
- ‘Players have brooms, known as besoms, to sweep the ice clear of snow or debris so that nothing slows the passage of the stones.’
- ‘Heidi broke some straws from her besom and we lit all the candles anew.’
- ‘He followed this by sitting down and making a besom - a brush made from birch twigs.’
- ‘They took the besom and threw it in the stove.’
- ‘The event, led by the National Trust, saw crafts-people from across the country, including besom makers and stone-wallers demonstrating their traditional trades.’
2Scottish Northern English derogatory A woman or girl.
lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, femaleView synonyms
- ‘She was a cunning old besom and had seen instantly through Janet and my efforts to be professional and pleasant.’
- ‘It was the old besom who had stood behind the reception counter when she arrived.’
- ‘"Oh, no, you don't, you old besom. You aren't getting rid of me that easily," Glory gasped at last, her voice hoarse with misuse.’
- ‘Once, he even told a nosey old besom to mind her own business.’
- ‘Then, as everyone stared at the old besom, the rapt silence was broken by the rolling thunder of a single cannon, setting the seabirds to wheeling and shrieking.’
Old English besema, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch bezem and German Besen.
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