Definition of betide in English:



[no object]literary
  • 1Happen.

    ‘I waited with beating heart, not knowing what would betide’
    • ‘If they go blitz-wacky against first-rate teams in the playoffs, woe may betide.’
    • ‘Woe betide if you use flash during a performance - it's off-putting to other audience members and most of all, tot he performers.’
    • ‘A terrific night for the young and young at heart Simon promised he'd be back to Carlow and judging by the wild celebrations of his Carlow fans - woe betide if he isn't!’
    • ‘Sister Madalena was headmistress and woe betide at Monday assembly if you hadn't been to Mass on Sunday.’
    • ‘Well, I'm still scared, but woe betide if I dare admit it out loud.’
    happen, occur, take place, come about, transpire, arise, chance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Happen to (someone)
      ‘she was trembling with fear lest worse might betide her’
      • ‘But there is an unnerving element to the intensity of his devotion to the cause, as if those teeth glint with a shark-like quality, and woe betide the person who gets in the way of that hurry.’
      • ‘Why it betides me lovey-dovey ol’ soul in a land very hard’
      • ‘Woe betide the working man or woman who has the gall to turn up for an afternoon meeting with alcohol on the breath, even if it was from one quick half, even if it does help you through the pain barrier of an agonising, endless sales seminar.’
      • ‘Woe betide, though, anyone who is foolhardy enough not to go through the process.’
      • ‘But woe betide the people when they have the effrontery to take a stand on higher principles.’
      • ‘Armed with an exact list of what is to be bought, off we set, and woe betide the person who wanders in front of us as Mistress P beats a direct path to the chosen store.’
      • ‘Woe betide he who would hurt our loved ones, isn't that the way we all feel?’
      • ‘Woe betide the mother who has been forced into to having a sense of humor about disciplining her child, for she will bear no more offspring, but maybe get a dog instead.’
      • ‘One angle is that theology is a tool of exclusion and division; that theology is used to define ‘our’ position, and woe betide all who disagree.’
      • ‘His thin frame and weak legs prevented him from taking an active part in games of football, tennis or cricket, but he made an exacting umpire, and woe betide the player who questioned his decisions.’
      • ‘Woe betide the person who doesn't cut back their overhanging vegetation as it severely compromises the safety of tall pedestrians with hats who use a particular footpath to mass.’
      • ‘It wasn't just the Irish blogs that had their say - and woe betide he who thinks our little corner of cyberspace is the nub of the universe.’
      • ‘He admitted doubt, saying after his sister's death: ‘Woe betide us if it all turns out to be an illusion.’’
      • ‘Woes betide he who thinks himself invulnerable to this cakey onslaught.’
      • ‘And if someone is incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves, woe betide another person who might make a wrong decision for them.’
      • ‘Rats, hundreds and hundreds of them, are everywhere at the Karni Mata Hindu temple in the Indian state of Rajasthan and woe betide anyone who takes fright and steps on one.’
      • ‘They may start as innocent little bits of plastic which can be left in a drawer at home, but they will soon become essential to allow us to go about our daily business and woe betide anyone who cannot produce one for inspection.’
      • ‘Oh, yes, we thought it fair game to try and steal other people wood but woe betide anyone who tried to pilfer ours.’
      • ‘From the date of its inception, the NHS was seen as a really British achievement, something to give pride to the entire population, and woe betide anyone with the temerity to suggest other.’
      • ‘What is the individual man, with all the good or evil that may betide him, in comparison with the good or evil which may befall a great country, and in the midst of great transactions which concern that country's fate?’
      happen to, be the fate of, be the lot of, overtake, be visited on
      View synonyms


Middle English: from be- (as an intensifier) + obsolete tide ‘befall’, from Old English tīdan ‘happen’, from tīd (see tide).