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
- ‘The event, led by the National Trust, saw crafts-people from across the country, including besom makers and stone-wallers demonstrating their traditional trades.’
- ‘He followed this by sitting down and making a besom - a brush made from birch twigs.’
- ‘Fix up that dusty broomstick from the hall closet and use it for a besom.’
- ‘Other species of wood used include birch, which is made into besom for brooms and horse jumps and oak for rustic furniture.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Brush in fine sand with a besom, and the grass will breathe more easily.’
- ‘In the past, it was used to make besoms and brooms; even baskets were sometimes fashioned from its stems.’
- ‘Children love to sweep up, and this small besom looks just like a grown-up one.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Having finished at last, she took her besom to the door, and beat it against a stone.’
- ‘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!’
- ‘They took the besom and threw it in the stove.’
- ‘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.’
2Scottish Northern English derogatory A woman or girl.
lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, femaleView synonyms
- ‘"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.’
- ‘It was the old besom who had stood behind the reception counter when she arrived.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Once, he even told a nosey old besom to mind her own business.’
- ‘She was a cunning old besom and had seen instantly through Janet and my efforts to be professional and pleasant.’
Old English besema, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch bezem and German Besen.
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