Definition of beat in English:



  • 1Strike (a person or an animal) repeatedly and violently so as to hurt or injure them, usually with an implement such as a club or whip.

    ‘a woman whose husband would frequently beat her after becoming drunk’
    ‘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.’
    • ‘Gerald does, in fact, resort to violence, beating the horse and cutting it with spurs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Walking home from work one evening he was attacked by five thugs who beat him brutally with clubs, leaving him for dead.’
    • ‘One of the victims, a UK reporter, was held down by the neck by one officer while the others beat him with clubs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She claimed she was beaten repeatedly by members of her partner's family and decided to escape from them at the first opportunity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was forced to beat the attacking dog around the head with a stick in order to save his own pet.’
    • ‘Policemen immediately pursued the protesters, trampling and violently beating them with their clubs.’
    • ‘She was beaten repeatedly around the head with a heavy object, and left for dead in her home in Kinton, Herefordshire, last September.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Police launched a murder hunt today after a cricket club member was beaten to death next to the pitch last night.’
    • ‘A 31-year-old man was beaten with a golf club and suffered severe bruising and two puncture wounds in his back.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ann said reports of dogs being beaten before death are false.’
    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. 1.1Strike (an object) repeatedly so as to make a noise.
      ‘he beat the table with his hand’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The father beats a drum and the son buries his head in a covered pit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They feasted for two days, stripping the meat from the carcass and then consuming it as tribal drums were beaten.’
      • ‘The French street theatre company Trans Express walked through the crowd beating their drums.’
      • ‘He beat his drum as he went so his progress could be monitored by the soldiers above.’
      • ‘He has been asked to stop beating his drum so fiercely after complaints about the noise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It pounds at my head like someone beating a drum.’
      • ‘At this time, it is forbidden to beat drums or make other loud noises.’
      • ‘Later, there's a different phase of activities when a small band of students walks up the hill beating drums, carrying signs, and chanting.’
      • ‘Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.’
      • ‘A lambeg drum is an enormous instrument beaten with great enthusiasm by orange marching bands.’
      • ‘They have no churches: today Turner's act of worship involved beating a drum while watching the sun set over Bute.’
      • ‘Julius is shown beating a drum and dancing at a Pow-Wow, and speaks sincerely about his tribe's core values.’
      • ‘When monsoon floods approached their settlements, they told us, drums were beaten inside the caves, and the people could hear it.’
      bang, hit, strike, rap, tap, pound, thump, hammer
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    2. 1.2[no object](of an instrument) make a rhythmical sound by being struck.
      ‘drums were beating in the distance’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The drums had stopped beating and the tent flap had been closed.’
      • ‘In the quiet countryside there are rhythms of drums beating for all to hear.’
      • ‘There are no drums beating from the forbidden side of the mountain.’
      • ‘Her laughter was deep, right from the stomach, and it sounded like merry drums beating away.’
      • ‘Drums have been beating throughout the borough's schools this term at a series of musical workshops and concerts.’
      • ‘I heard drums beating, and the sinister familiar sound of chains.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With drums beating, bands playing and bayonets fixed, they marched through the town's streets to the delight of the crowds.’
    3. 1.3Strike (a carpet, blanket, etc.) repeatedly in order to remove dust.
      • ‘Ava beat the rug with a vengeance, watching the dust fly through the air and circle in the late summer breeze.’
      • ‘He might have been beating a rug for all the effect it had.’
      • ‘Training a dog, beating a carpet or rug, and washing clothes are also banned on the heath.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4Flatten or shape (metal) by striking it repeatedly with a hammer.
      ‘pure gold can be beaten out to form very thin sheets’
      • ‘The piece of metal was then beaten with some kind of hammer, before being put back into the fire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The metal was beaten into a shimmering disc.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The most expensive is wrought iron, where the metal is 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.’
      • ‘She took a quick glance at me and then she laughed as she continued beating the metal.’
      • ‘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.’
      hammer, forge, form, shape, mould, work, stamp, fashion, model, fabricate, make, cast, frame, sculpt, sculpture
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    5. 1.5Strike something against (something)
      ‘she beat her fists against the wood’
      • ‘Then he started beating his fist against the steering wheel, cursing and swearing.’
      • ‘He beat her head against the hole-in-the-wall machine, leaving her bruised and battered.’
      • ‘He becomes hysterical, crying and beating his fist against the wall.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead I settled for beating my fists against his chest.’
      • ‘She dropped her arms and sighed when Matt didn't beat his fist against the door.’
      • ‘Shaddin snapped suddenly, standing up and beating a fist on the table, making his son jump.’
      • ‘If things aren't back to normal by Monday, it will be because I've knocked myself out beating my head against the desk.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘Toddlers will be beating their fists on their high chairs in fury.’
      • ‘Sarah screamed in his ear, beating her fists against his arm and anywhere else she could reach.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The males also exhibit a curious trick of beating their beaks against their chests to emit a rhythmic clicking sound.’
      • ‘She fell against the glass case and began to beat her fist against it in frustration.’
      • ‘He found her beating her fists on the hood of the cop car.’
      • ‘She beat her fist against the newly created wall.’
      • ‘Layla stares at it, grim, then screams, and falls down, beating her fists against the pavement.’
      • ‘It beats chains against the ground in a rotating motion to detonate and destroy mines.’
      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 on.
      ‘Sidney beat on the door with the flat of his hand’
      • ‘I'd beat on the walls and doors, leaving dents and holes, usually hurting myself on top of it.’
      • ‘He beat on the bar with the palm of his hand then hung his head at the floor.’
      • ‘Again and again and again it beat against the roof, shattering every tile it hit.’
      • ‘He carried her back up the hill while she beat on his back and kicked.’
      • ‘The sound of the ball beating against the ground resounded through the neighborhood.’
      • ‘The sound of hoofs beating on the ground could be heard in the distance, and the small feet ran faster.’
      • ‘I heard him beat against the door, and then fall to his feet with a strangled sigh.’
      • ‘My hands grasp the brass knob as I beat on the door, calling, crying, begging.’
      • ‘My fists were shaking badly, and I wanted to beat on something to let out all of my anger.’
      • ‘Instead, Cindy was stuck staring gloomily out the window as rain steadily beat against it.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Gregor's sister and father beat on his bedroom door, calling him to leave for work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Doors slam shut, waves beat against the hull, and faint voices call for the characters to meet their doom.’
      • ‘She looked around for something to cover herself and again Noah beat on the door.’
      • ‘The percussion instrument sounds like something beating against a tin roof.’
      • ‘Even the rhythmic resonance of the waves beating against the hull of a ship produces music of a different kind.’
      bang, tap, rap, thump, pound, hammer
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    7. 1.7[no object]Make striking movements toward.
      ‘Emmie seized the hearthrug and began to beat at the flames’
      • ‘She began beating at the gates furiously, but no one came.’
      • ‘She is hysterically screaming while trying to beat at the flames.’
      • ‘Maria howled, beating at his chest with her fists.’
      • ‘One man had apparently loosened his straps and was now floating helplessly toward the ceiling, arms and legs beating at the air.’
      • ‘Jack thought for a while, then fetched a helmet and methodically beat at the flame with it.’
      • ‘She began to beat at his arms and attempt to pull away, but he pulled her closer.’
      • ‘‘Get him off of me,’ he screamed, beating at Bill's hands.’
      • ‘He was beating at the drum kit extremely aggressively, maybe even too aggressively, and banging his head, but yet still managing to grin maniacally at several females in the crowd.’
      • ‘Bill's eyes suddenly locked on Timms, his face twisted in anger, and he began beating at the glass.’
      • ‘He writhed and choked, beating at the man's wrist with his hands.’
      • ‘I saw all four guys around where I assumed the fire had been, with their shirts off, using them to beat at the flames.’
    8. 1.8Move across (an area of land) repeatedly striking at the ground cover in order to raise game birds for shooting.
      • ‘In bird hunting some participants roused the birds by beating the bushes while others caught them in nets.’
      • ‘These are people employed to beat the ground and bushes to 'flush' the birds towards the guns.’
      • ‘Many beaters like to carry their own stick, to help them get up and down banks, as well as for beating the undergrowth.’
      • ‘Local lords also demanded that peasants beat the woods during hunts and pay special additional taxes.’
      • ‘The estate staff and sundry villagers would be involved in beating the woods and picking up the game.’
  • 2Defeat (someone) in a game, competition, election, or commercial venture.

    ‘she beat him easily at chess’
    ‘the Senators beat out the Yankees for the 1933 pennant’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If he can't beat me easily then he won't be world champion.’
    • ‘As the Worthington Cup final proved, they continue to hold the formula for beating Manchester United.’
    • ‘Earlier this evening my five-year-old nephew beat me at a game of basketball.’
    • ‘In their competition the girls were beaten by one goal.’
    • ‘Having attended professional table tennis training for five years in her primary school, she beat her rival easily.’
    • ‘Our competition has been consistently beating us because they're taking bigger risks.’
    • ‘Lauren easily beat her father five games to one, and poked fun at his age and physical fitness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I spend time with our daughter, allowing her to beat me in several games of checkers.’
    • ‘We are a tough team to beat and you've got to play a very good game to beat us.’
    • ‘Saturday will be their first time back at Lansdowne Road since that shameful performance in '99, and they have beaten the British Lions since.’
    • ‘Both clubs' motivation is to beat their rivals and claim top spot in the county.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He suffered his second straight defeat when he was beaten 5-3 in the second round.’
    • ‘He also loves to practise and you can clearly see the enjoyment derived from competing against and beating his rivals.’
    • ‘Has any other team ever beaten Manchester United five times in a row, as Liverpool now have?’
    • ‘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.’
    defeat, conquer, win against, get the better of, vanquish, trounce, rout, overpower, overcome, overwhelm, overthrow, subdue, quash, crush
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    1. 2.1informal Baffle.
      ‘it beats me how you manage to work in this heat’
      • ‘How she recovered so fast from last night beats the hell out of me.’
      • ‘It beats me how anybody could play such a boring game.’
      • ‘What beats me is how it took so long for his evil deeds to be discovered.’
      • ‘How anybody can say this is good news - with a straight face - beats me.’
      • ‘Why anyone would want to drive at 150 mph with the roof down beats me.’
      • ‘But still, people seem to get offended; beats me why.’
      baffle, bewilder, mystify, bemuse, perplex, puzzle, confuse, confound, nonplus, disconcert, throw, throw off balance, disorientate, take aback, set thinking
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    2. 2.2Overcome (a problem, or disease)
      ‘they are investing their savings in hopes of beating inflation’
      ‘he beat heroin addiction in 1992’
      • ‘She beat the illness, but earlier this year, she started suffering stomach pains and was re-admitted for treatment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was thought she had beaten the disease last year, but tests in January revealed that she had developed another form of the leukaemia.’
      • ‘Chloe had to have a kidney removed at North Manchester Children's Hospital in the battle to beat her illness.’
      • ‘A mother-of-four is dedicating her life to educating people about meningitis after her two sons beat the deadly disease.’
      • ‘It is a further demonstration of the county council's commitment to beating congestion and improving our highways.’
      • ‘It is good news for Britain's poorest families - and will help the government's desire to beat child poverty.’
      • ‘But now his best chance of beating the disease is if a matching bone marrow donor can be found.’
      • ‘He says the only hope of beating the disease is to ensure that knowledge spreads faster than virus.’
      • ‘She appeared to have beaten the illness in 2004, but just seven months ago the vicious disease returned with vengeance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said beating congestion and improving safety were of the utmost importance and both these schemes worked towards that goal.’
      • ‘We can beat poverty and illiteracy and fear.’
      • ‘He said the step to beating poverty was to ensure trade justice, eradicate debt to poor countries and deliver more aid.’
      • ‘They thought he had beaten his illness as he had been healthy as a young man.’
      • ‘The journey to beat cancer is a long one and research is vital.’
      • ‘Having beaten cancer, he set out to beat the best cyclists in the world, not once but five times in a row.’
      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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    3. 2.3Do or be better than (a record or score)
      ‘he beat his own world record’
      • ‘It sold 2.5 million copies during its first week in the shops, beating the previous record, held by Titanic, by 700,000.’
      • ‘She will need to reach an average speed of 15.5 knots for the voyage if she is to beat the record.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Judging it on the TV replay, it looked like it also beat the Olympic record.’
      • ‘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 rowers were attempting to finish their voyage in 60 days, beating the record of 64 days set in 1971 by a single rower.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The aim was to beat the existing record of 62 square metres.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I wanted to beat the world record but there was so much pressure on me and Jamie,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Although communities try to beat their previous score, it is also an open competition against other communities.’
      • ‘The moment you set a goal and achieve it, somebody will eventually beat your record and surpass your goal!’
      • ‘I believe our survival record was eventually beaten by another airman.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The next day, I told myself that I was going to beat Justin's first-round score.’
      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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    4. 2.4informal Be better than.
      ‘you can't beat the taste of fresh raspberries’
      • ‘But it was hard to beat the Falconry Display as far as the kids were concerned, and parents too if they would admit it.’
      • ‘For a more regular treat, you can't beat perfect steak and chips.’
      • ‘For a totally indulgent treat, it is hard to beat a good old-fashioned bubble bath.’
      • ‘It is my experience that you can't beat a local approach for dedicated, loyal focused workers who will be with you for years.’
      • ‘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 a flow of information to keep people informed and stifle rumour.’
      • ‘For something a bit smarter, you can't beat a shirt and tie.’
      • ‘You can't beat a good growing bag, no matter what's inside it.’
      • ‘For an effortless night out, however, you can't beat the cinema.’
      • ‘Nothing beats it for atmosphere, and the food is fabulous.’
      • ‘Let's face it, you can't beat the taste of home-grown produce bought in season.’
      • ‘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 the feeling of seeing 15,000 people dancing in front of you to the music you are playing.’
      • ‘In the cooler months you can't beat camellias as they are compact and reliable and can be clipped or trained to suit.’
      • ‘You can't beat lightweight wheels for snappy acceleration and climbing power.’
      • ‘I agree they're sometimes hard to read, but you can't beat them for true honest heartfelt sincerity.’
      • ‘It gives me more comfort and beats staying in hotels all the time.’
      • ‘The drinks may not be free, but you can't beat the convenience.’
      • ‘Whatever is in it, it is hard to beat an Irish Racing Festival.’
  • 3Succeed in getting somewhere ahead of (someone)

    ‘I could beat him on my bicycle’
    ‘the goalie beat him to the ball’
    • ‘It was a close call as Tully almost beat Marvin back to the cellar.’
    • ‘The ball beat him to the dead ball line.’
    • ‘He beat the defenders to a pass and scored the only goal of the game.’
    • ‘I raced towards the building hoping to beat them back.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first half ended with Squires chasing a kick ahead but just being beaten to the ball by the full back.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Amazingly, Helen and Tara beat us back to the room.’
    • ‘He beat him to the ball and touched down under the posts.’
    • ‘In the 31st minute, he beats the defenders to a high ball and races through on goal.’
    1. 3.1Take action to avoid (difficult or inconvenient effects of an event or circumstance)
      ‘they set off early 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What have you got to lose - get your bet on early and beat the rush.’
      • ‘As a result, they had to leave quite early to beat the evening traffic jam and to make up for their drummer's driving.’
      • ‘After his first set, those who left to beat the traffic missed the best moment of the entire performance.’
      • ‘People rearranged meetings, opted to work from home, or got up earlier to beat the rush and so prevented major disruption.’
      • ‘He said that a designated bus lane in Malton Road should ensure that commuters beat peak traffic congestion and cruise straight into the city.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And his parents miss it because they left after 80 minutes to beat the traffic.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Eight hours earlier I had left Dublin, intent on beating the morning traffic up the N1 en route to a meeting in Belfast.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Visitors are being urged to get to the town early to beat traffic queues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Living in Dundrum, he found he was getting up earlier and earlier to beat the morning traffic into the city.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He left a little earlier than his usual time to beat the traffic.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The competitors' hearts are beating at almost twice their normal rates.’
    • ‘Her pulse quickened, and her heart started beating even more rapidly.’
    • ‘Critical organs such as hearts, lung, kidneys and livers are only taken from donors who are brain dead and whose hearts are still beating.’
    • ‘He evidently has a heart the size of a horse's which beats at just 43 times per minute at rest.’
    • ‘They claimed the heart was beating and the brain was functioning and the patient simply needed care and time to recover.’
    • ‘If the stations are clustered together, do jumping jacks between sets to keep your heart beating at a training rate.’
    • ‘Her heart was beating wildly, and panic was rising in her stomach.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An AED delivers a life saving electric shock that starts the heart beating and pumping again.’
    • ‘Her heart was beating wildly and her stomach lurched.’
    • ‘I could hear the sound of my own heart beating, the pulse that was pounding in my ears gradually slowing down to normal.’
    • ‘Her heart had suddenly begun to beat at an uncontrollable rate.’
    • ‘In cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating effectively, blood does not circulate and no pulse can be felt.’
    • ‘Before we had ways of testing brain activity, the test was whether the heart was beating.’
    • ‘It's the sort of night that really gets your heart beating and your pulse racing.’
    • ‘I checked my pulse and was terrified when I realized my heart was beating more than 200 times a minute.’
    • ‘Most patients have only mild symptoms, such as palpitations or the sensation that their heart is beating rapidly.’
    • ‘Her heart started beating hard, pounding against her ribcage.’
    • ‘Because of this irregular heart rhythm, your heart stops beating and can't pump blood.’
    pulsate, pulse, palpitate, vibrate, throb, reverberate
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  • 5(of a bird) move (the wings) up and down.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A band-tailed pigeon, beating her wings upward, hears the incredibly low sound but pays no attention.’
    • ‘These birds are highly animated as they vigorously beat their wings to gain height and speed.’
    • ‘A ruby-throated hummingbird beats its wings 50 to 70 times per second.’
    • ‘The birds that lived in the two trees suddenly screamed out, beat their wings and swooped down, crying their anguish.’
    • ‘He flew faster than ever, straining his strong muscles, and beating his wings so fast they were almost a blur.’
    • ‘Rather than moving forward while flapping their wings up and down like a bird, flies hover while beating their wings back and forth.’
    • ‘Did you know that a fly must beat its wings two hundred times a second to stay airborne?’
    • ‘The little hummingbirds beat their wings faster and their flight is even more graceful than normal.’
    • ‘The crow remained still until it suddenly beat its wings but soon settled again watching Ari closely.’
    • ‘It seemed to know it was away from the confines of our chamber, for it fluttered about and beat its wings.’
    • ‘It then began to move slowly backwards still heading south and beating its wings until it disappeared.’
    • ‘In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?’
    • ‘All of a sudden it's as if they've hit an invisible wall as they become stationary, despite them furiously beating their wings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He beat his powerful wings and soared high into the air, up and away from the village.’
    • ‘They are using updrafts to go higher without 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.’
    • ‘I stared after the birds as they beat their wings in strange rhythm.’
    • ‘Every tree, every bush, even the grass, all covered in butterflies, gently beating their wings, and flying delicately from one perch to another.’
    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’
      • ‘Because the wings beat about once a second, the flight will be anything but smooth.’
      • ‘I managed to get a hand hold before he jumped into the air, his wings rhythmically beating.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her great wings beat restlessly against her back as she waited for the others to join her.’
      • ‘Soaring above the gorge was a large black bird, its wings spread, beating against the wind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A bird in flight emerges from a field of slate blue on the upper right, wings beating toward the picture plane.’
      • ‘When the egrets pass close, and they often do, you can hear their wings beat.’
      • ‘The bird soared away from us, its broad wings beating slowly.’
      • ‘His long wings beat slow, steady beats, as if accentuating the overall extenuation of the bird.’
      • ‘Her multicolored wings beat furiously, but don't lift her off the ground.’
      • ‘She was stopped by a gust of air and the sound of the bird's wings beating.’
      flutter, move up and down, agitate, wave, wag, waggle, shake, swing, twitch
      View synonyms
  • 6Stir (cooking ingredients) vigorously with a fork, whisk, or beater to make a smooth or frothy mixture.

    • ‘Use either a hand mixer, blender or whisk to beat the hot chocolate until it's frothy.’
    • ‘Pour the hot melted butter over the whisked eggs in a steady stream, beating the ingredients together well.’
    • ‘In another medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them also into the chocolate mixture.’
    • ‘Slowly, add olive oil, constantly beating the mixture - just like making mayonnaise - until it is thick and almost smooth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Remove from heat, beat the egg yolk, then add to the mushrooms, stirring it into the mixture.’
    • ‘Then beat the sugar, eggs and orange flower water (if using) in a bowl until smooth.’
    • ‘In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.’
    • ‘In a bowl, beat the sugar and egg white together using an electric mixer until thick and foamy.’
    • ‘Next, beat ingredients for the cream cheese layer until smooth.’
    • ‘Sift the flour and salt together, then add them to the mixture and continue to beat until smooth.’
    • ‘In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until thick.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, with an electric mixture set on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.’
    • ‘Egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar are beaten vigorously in a double boiler until thick and foamy.’
    • ‘In a bowl, beat the sugar with the butter until it is light and fluffy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Remove from heat and beat the lentils with a wooden spoon until smooth.’
    • ‘In a food processor, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until they are pale and creamy.’
    whisk, mix, blend, whip, stir, fold
    View synonyms
  • 7informal Leave.

    [in imperative] ‘now beat it, will you!’
    • ‘"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.’’
    • ‘A young U.S. officer, whose unit had commandeered the house, saw them coming and barked: "Go on, go on! Beat it!"’
    • ‘I yelled, 'Go away, bear! Beat it! Scat!'’
  • 8Sailing
    [no object] Sail into the wind, following a zigzag course with repeated tacking.

    ‘we beat southward 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.’
    • ‘Reefs went into the sails and we began beating hard into the prevailing tides and wind.’
    • ‘I came about and headed for home but my little boat didn't beat into the wind very well.’
    • ‘He stuck with the vessel and slowly managed to beat to windward.’
    • ‘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.’


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

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

    • ‘She could hear an owl nearby, its call and then the beat of its 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.’
    • ‘You can feel the beats of their large wings as they fly just inches above you.’
    • ‘The rapid, repetitious beat of the wings seem to have no limit in flexibility or resiliences and give these creatures a docile appearance.’
    • ‘We can feel the pull of muscle and the beat of feathered wings of the snow goose as it makes its long migration.’
    • ‘The details are lost amid the uneven songs of the pigeons, the beat of wings and scrape of claw on slate.’
    • ‘When hovering, each complete beat of the wing describes a figure of eight.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3An area allocated to a police officer to patrol.

    ‘a patrolman who strived to make his beat a safe one’
    ‘public clamor for more police officers on the beat’
    • ‘The Bishop of Bradford swapped his pulpit for the pavement when he joined a police officer on the beat.’
    • ‘He was not allowed to leave his beat or consume alcohol when on duty.’
    • ‘It's harder still when there's no moral cop walking the beat to blow the whistle when things get out of control.’
    • ‘But the danger of arming the policeman on the beat is that it would drive a wedge between the officer and the community.’
    • ‘Police officers on the beat are now outnumbered in several areas by private security workers.’
    • ‘His first job had been on the beat as a Brooklyn policeman in 1917.’
    • ‘What do you think about having more police officers on the beat?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Police officers on the beat are also on the lookout for underage drinkers.’
    • ‘I would put more police on the beat instead of driving round in cars or sat behind a desk.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘28 per cent said that they had never seen a police officer on the beat in their area.’
    • ‘Extra bobbies will also be on the beat to patrol trouble spots in the borough after a spate of brick attacks on buses.’
    • ‘Police are putting extra patrols on the beat in Grimsby after a racist attack left an asylum seeker with serious facial injuries.’
    • ‘Police must be seen to be on the beat in every area where crime is known to be a problem.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They marched out in regular formation, peeling off two by two at each main street to patrol their beats on foot.’
    • ‘Worried residents regularly call for more bobbies on the beat, but the police already have community officers in key areas of north Kent.’
    circuit, round, course, route, way, path, orbit, tour, turn
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1A spell of duty allocated to a police officer.
      ‘her beat ended at 6 a.m.’
    2. 3.2An area regularly frequented by someone, typically a prostitute.
      • ‘Reporters are required to check their beat everyday -- in person.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wardens each have beats which are rotated regularly and can expect to cover an average of up to six miles a day.’
    3. 3.3A 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 she's a real reporter who happens to be stuck on the movie beat for the moment.’
      • ‘Because I work the entertainment beat, frequent contact was inevitable.’
  • 4A brief pause or moment of hesitation, typically one lasting a specified length.

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


  • 1informal [predicative] Completely exhausted.

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

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Made in 2003, he calls it a homage to his hero, the beat poet Allen Ginsberg.’
    • ‘Webb is still mining the streets for his hugely dramatic, beat poet lyrics, and they work as literature.’
    • ‘I love Tom Waits and have always been interested in Burroughs and the beat poets.’
    • ‘Like a skilled beat poet at the local café, Round keeps the rhythm and builds upon it with plenty of attitude.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Influenced by the beat poets like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Ted Jones, McGough would write late into the night.’
    • ‘He was now a beat poet, he organised poetry slams in different areas and performed his hypnotic rhymes.’
    • ‘At the minute I'm mostly reading beat poets.’
    • ‘Based on the 1957 novel by Scottish beat author Alexander Trocchi, it also stars Ewan McGregor.’
    • ‘For the last five years Peggy-Anne Berton has been entertaining audiences with her own version of beat storytelling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘North Beach was home to the beat poets, who some say launched the youth revolution.’
    • ‘You wouldn't think that Humberside police actually need a beat poet would you.’


  • beat all

    • Be amazing or impressive.

      ‘well, that beats all’
      • ‘How the committee who voluntarily run this service continue to do so beats all.’
      • ‘Hang on, this one beats all…’
      • ‘A Hollywood ending still beats all.’
      • ‘I have seen some heavy weather in Shanghai, but this beats all.’
      • ‘Yet I think his latest adventure beats all; he was arrested in Zimbabwe for practicing journalism.’
  • beat around (or beat about) the bush

    • Discuss a matter without coming to the point.

      • ‘He doesn't beat about the bush, as I'm barely through the door before he starts speaking.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is no need to beat about the bush when talking to children - you can be more direct with them than you might think.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I don't think we ought to beat about the bush,’ he joked.’
      • ‘There is no point in being ambiguous or beating about the bush.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • beat someone at their own game

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

      • ‘They need to be reminded we had eight long years of their rhetoric and we are now beating them at their own game.’
      • ‘He felt he had to beat them at their own game, and threw himself into his work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shopkeepers that want to beat Tesco at their own game need to have a strong competitive advantage.’
      • ‘Young stockbrokers from a York school will be going up against professionals to try and beat them at their own game.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is a certain pleasure in beating them at their own game, which very nearly matches a shopping buzz.’
      • ‘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 someone's brains out

  • beat one's breast

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

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

    • informal Search thoroughly.

      ‘I was out beating the bushes for investors to split the risk’
      • ‘When I first started in this role I was concerned that I might have to beat the bushes for authors willing to write articles.’
      • ‘He is beating the bushes for at least $100 million more.’
      • ‘He has been beating the bushes to find help.’
      • ‘Those were halcyon days for brokerages, which ramped up employment and beat the bushes for technology analysts who could help justify outrageous stock valuations.’
      • ‘Rather than desperately beating the bushes for MBAs, by the 1990s, US firms were swamped with them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The choice is whether to focus on one dream candidate or to beat the bushes and conduct a thorough search.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He will no doubt be beating the bushes for players that can take some of the pressure off of Milbrett next season.’
  • beat the clock

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

      • ‘It shows that drivers habitually hurry to beat the clock, and cut corners on road safety.’
      • ‘We get one of those scenes in which a safecracker tries to beat the clock.’
      • ‘For those reasons, parents need to rush to beat the clock.’
      • ‘To beat the clock, he teams up with a colleague.’
      • ‘Surgeons are being paid three times their normal daily wages by desperate health chiefs racing to beat the clock over waiting times targets.’
      • ‘A trainee army officer braved sub-zero temperatures to beat the clock in stamina-sapping ski and shoot races.’
      • ‘Those who fail to beat the clock will be discounted from the race.’
      • ‘You'll participate in a large variety of driving and shooting missions, some of which involve beating the clock.’
      • ‘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.’
  • beat the drum for

  • beat the hell out of

    • 1informal Beat (someone) very severely.

      • ‘His body has been implanted with various mechanical parts, giving him the necessary tools to regain his memory and beat the hell out of practically anything that gets in his way.’
      • ‘Two youthful boxers are beating the hell out of each other as a group of seated and standing men watch from all sides.’
      • ‘Two men starting beating the hell out of each other and it went on for about five or six minutes before the officers came in and sorted it out.’
      • ‘Like it or not, people like that really are out there, in apparent profusion, stealing each other's mates, cursing up a storm, drinking, and beating the hell out of each other, literally and figuratively.’
      • ‘He is squatting down over the dog, beating the hell out of it with the plastic leash.’
      • ‘In denying his case, the court stated that they didn't believe someone to be a pacifist who would routinely go into a boxing ring and beat the hell out of an opponent.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I heard an almighty crash and walked out on to Hogg Lane to see about seven men armed with hammers and scaffolding poles beating the hell out of each other.’’
      • ‘One of the most, I think, violent scenes I've ever seen was in ‘Goodfellas,’ where they beat the hell out of him with a shovel.’
      • ‘I am not leaving her here for you to beat the hell out of.’
      • ‘He came from out of nowhere and started beating the hell out of those bad guys, and the villagers' lives were no longer the same.’
    • 2informal Surpass or defeat easily.

      • ‘But, like any exercise program, it beats the hell out of not doing anything at all.’
      • ‘It certainly beats the hell out of not trying to make amends.’
      • ‘They might be a little baggy on you, but it beats the hell out of wearing something soaking wet.’
      • ‘And one small bar of genuine dark chocolate made with first-rate ingredients by a caring artisanal chocolatier beats the hell out of a bigger, more caloric Snicker's bar at a quarter of the price.’
      • ‘But it beats the hell out of writing a legal brief, or outlining for a final I guess.’
      • ‘Then I got laid off and started entertaining full time, and it beats the hell out of a real job.’
      • ‘This may be wildly optimistic but it beats the hell out of empty defeatism.’
      • ‘Eight tracks and forty minutes of concise wonder beats the hell out of fourteen tracks that last for, as far as I can remember, roughly four hours of good ideas surrounded by dross and boredom.’
      • ‘While life outside has its own set of problems, it beats the hell out of life in prison.’
      • ‘I learned the best way that Easter cream eggs left in your car on Valentine's Day beats the hell out of overtly romantic heart shaped anything.’
      1. 2.1Totally confuse or puzzle (someone)
  • beat the living daylights out of

  • beat one's meat

    • vulgar slang (of a man) masturbate.

  • beat the pants off

    • informal Prove to be vastly superior to.

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

    • (of a large number of people) hasten to make contact with someone regarded as interesting or inspiring, or in association with whom one stands to profit.

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

    • Withdraw, typically in order to avoid something unpleasant.

      ‘as the bombs started to go off, they beat a hasty retreat across the field’
      • ‘A fierce, icy wind whipped up the lake's fiery red surface and forced us to beat a hasty retreat from our lakeside walk.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After raising one of the biggest cheers of the night, the streaker pranced around the penalty area before beating a hasty retreat.’
      • ‘He found the attention too much and beat a hasty retreat to the States, where he spent a year writing songs in happy anonymity.’
      • ‘The thief, instead of beating a hasty retreat, confronted his accuser and hit him in the face delivering a smack on the jaw.’
      • ‘He thought of feigning illness and beating a hasty retreat but, after much deliberation, decided to chance it.’
      • ‘But speaking outside a regional police chiefs conference in Bali today, there was no sign that he's beating a retreat from his position.’
      • ‘Clocking that they were being watched they beat a hasty retreat.’
      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 shit out of

    • vulgar slang

      see beat
    • vulgar slang Beat (someone) very severely.

  • beat the system

    • Succeed in finding a means of getting around rules, regulations, or other means of control.

      • ‘Armed with that information, it would be relatively easy to help an applicant beat 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.’
      • ‘The truth is that the average consumer today has no moral compunction about beating 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.’
      • ‘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 often get complaints from loyal and honest passengers who are frustrated by the people who believe they can beat the system.’
      • ‘No matter what you do, they're going to look for ways to beat the system, and sometimes they'll succeed.’
      • ‘Folks are beginning to figure out how they can beat the system, so to speak, because there are all sorts of travel restrictions.’
      • ‘We had tried to beat the system, but the system had beaten us.’
  • beat time

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

      • ‘We were required to hold our books in our left hand and beat time with our right.’
      • ‘Their teacher would beat time with her pencil on the music rack.’
      • ‘We see him taking his grandchildren on sketching trips and marching with them round the dining room in Nice, beating time on a drum.’
      • ‘In good weather, when the windows are all wide open to the street, you hear students working at brass and woodwinds, teachers beating time.’
      • ‘The robot replaced the bandleader during one song, beating time with a baton in its pistoning arm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The drummer beat time and the pipes brought mounting excitement.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • beat someone to it

    • Succeed in doing something or getting somewhere before someone else, to their annoyance.

      • ‘I was going to post on this issue myself, but Ted beat me 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I thought I would be first, getting down here just after 4pm, but these guys beat me to it.’
      • ‘You better put in for that time off from the job now, before somebody else beats you 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She knew how I felt about succeeding in my challenge, and she wanted to 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.’
  • miss a beat

    • 1(of the heart) temporarily fail or appear to fail to beat.

      • ‘Paula, a Waterside community nurse and mum to two-year-old Eamon, has got used to her heart missing a beat when the phone rings.’
      • ‘Every morning, I nervously check the mail, every morning, my heart misses a beat.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it was difficult to stop my heart from missing a beat or two when I read the headline: Small plane crashes into Florida building.’
      • ‘Suddenly he stiffened and his heart missed a beat.’
      • ‘Shuddering at this, my heart missing a beat or two, my breathing becoming heavier, there's an even nastier surprise still waiting for me.’
      • ‘A typical pacemaker sends small electrical charges to the right atrium of the heart, which receives blood, and the right ventricle, which pumps it into the lungs, if the device senses the heart has missed a beat or is beating too slowly.’
      • ‘With a tearing sound a wide gash was introduced on the surface of the wonderful cloth and with it her heart missed a beat.’
      • ‘I've never had a fanciable doctor who made my heart miss a beat.’
      • ‘Whilst they weren't exactly throwing things about my heart missed a beat with every bang and crunch.’
      • ‘She would say her heart would miss a beat when she heard of an idea from me.’
    • 2[usually with negative]Hesitate or falter, especially in demanding circumstances or when making a transition from one activity to another.

      ‘his speech segued from child-care subsidies to nuclear disarmament, without missing a beat’
      • ‘In the first days, anti-globalization protesters made new signs and became the anti-war movement without missing a beat.’
      • ‘I swear, for the most part, people just passed by, glanced his way, then continued walking wherever they were going, not missing a beat.’
      • ‘Just the other day, when I was looking a little rumpled, Joe looked and me and, without missing a beat, told me, ‘Steve, you look like a bush man!’’
      • ‘The first was the variety of the programme, and the way the choir switched from accessible classical music to Broadway, spirituals, jazz and carols, and from high seriousness to sophisticated comedy, without missing a beat.’
      • ‘‘Because it makes me look pretty,’ said Bourne, without missing a beat.’
      • ‘She is supremely confident that he can't fail to notice her and sure enough a crack appears in his concentration and the music shifts noticeable to a simpler tune without missing a beat.’
      • ‘Without missing a beat, he moved on to the next table…’
      • ‘He juggles a complex cast with consummate ease, moving the story from the tense to the surreal - often within the same story - without missing a beat.’
      • ‘However, Burns seems to feel that she made the transition to film without missing a beat, even to the point of acting as post-production supervisor.’
      • ‘It's the lightness of touch that I'll miss, the sureness with which a Frasier script could go from drawing-room comedy to sheer farce to tragedy without missing a beat.’
  • to beat all ——s

    • That is infinitely better than all the things mentioned.

      ‘a PC screen saver to beat all screen savers’
      • ‘Forget about the debate, ignore the rows over religious misrepresentation, just buy this book and enjoy a thriller to beat all thrillers.’
      • ‘His obsession has prompted him to produce a book that contains the conspiracy theory to beat all conspiracy theories.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In spite of a storm to beat all storms, there was a record turn out of punters to the Table Quiz.’
      • ‘The visitors nearly made it the comeback to beat all comebacks.’
      • ‘England grew into an empire to beat all empires.’
  • to beat the band

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

      ‘they were talking 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It has car parks to beat the band, a huge tented village area, excellent hotel and accommodation and an airport just down the road.’
      • ‘Then there was more debate, objections to beat the band and finally alterations to bring us to where we are at.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Well, the charm seems to be continuing, as I have been pumping out lyrics to beat the band.’
      • ‘Women churned butter, baked potato bread and poured Irish coffees to beat the band.’
      • ‘The one thing he did know was that he had a headache to beat the band.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • beat someone back (usually be beaten back)

    • Force (someone attempting to do something) to retreat.

      ‘I tried to get in but was beaten back by the flames’
      • ‘We tried for a summit attempt on May 29 but we were beaten back by the weather.’
      • ‘There were women fighting to get in, but the flames beat them back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Police used truncheons to beat them back, but no major injuries were reported.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One of the attackers opened fire as the brave pensioner beat them back into the hallway.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

      • ‘It was midday, and the sun beat down with incredible intensity.’
      • ‘It had been more than three hours since his last break, and the heat was beating down on him relentlessly.’
      • ‘I was standing on the pavement, the heat beating down on the back of my neck.’
      • ‘She awoke to the bright sunlight beating down on her.’
      • ‘The sun was beating down heating the cold morning air.’
      • ‘You'll choke on dust and faint in the heat of a fierce desert sun that beats down from a jaundiced sky.’
      • ‘With the heat beating down on them, people queued up in front of fresh fruit juice stalls to quench their thirst.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She stared out at the bright sun beating down on the white sidewalks and the palm trees that lined her street.’
      1. 1.1(of rain) fall hard and continuously.
        • ‘The rain was beating down hard and both Daryl and Melissa were soaked to the bone.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘At least the rain wasn't beating down on us anymore.’
        • ‘With wind, rain and hail stones beating down the girls gave a full-hearted team performance showing good skills and determination.’
        • ‘The merciless rain beat down so hard, even the thick canopy of the dark woods gave way to the crashing heavy droplets.’
        • ‘The rain seemed to beat down on her until it seemed like it would flood the whole countryside.’
        • ‘‘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.’
        • ‘The September rain beat down on the roof incessantly, and the grey, cloudy skies made the whole situation depressing.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
  • beat something down

    • Quell defense or resistance.

      • ‘Once the enemy artillery had been beaten down, artillery could then be used to support the final stages of the infantry attack.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘It will be about another five weeks for me to beat the thing down before it really becomes a problem.’
      • ‘If you want to know if the two stay together, or if society beats her down, you'll have to watch the film.’
      • ‘It turns out that great housekeepers are not beaten down by the relentless grind of cleaning rooms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While other people might be beaten down, he seems to rise to the occasion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • beat someone down

    • Force someone to reduce the price of something.

      • ‘Legitimate net design guys like me struggle to get clients, who then beat us down on price.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      barter, bargain, negotiate, discuss terms, quibble, wrangle
      View synonyms
  • beat off

    • (of a man) masturbate.

  • beat someone/something off

    • 1Succeed in resisting an attacker or an attack.

      • ‘A clash took place and the Imperial forces were beaten off.’
      • ‘Eventually, they managed to beat the dog off her and locked it in a back yard with the other animal.’
      • ‘In January 1583, he marched to Antwerp to assert his authority but his attack was beaten off.’
      • ‘They stood firm and beat him off, inflicting another 12,000 casualties on Frederick's army.’
      • ‘Several German counterattacks were beaten off, and the Marines advanced into raking machine-gun fire and well-adjusted artillery.’
      • ‘The quick-thinking hero beat the dogs off with a lead and dived on top of Sam to protect him.’
      • ‘The Muscovites bombarded the wooden walls with cannon, but to little effect, and infantry assaults were beaten off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But much of his time was devoted to beating off attacks on his authority.’
      • ‘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.’
      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 Englishman will have to beat off fierce Scandinavian competition in the most snowbound event of the season.’
        • ‘In the men's event, Roger Hammond beat off Jeremy Hunt and Jamie Alberts to lift the crown.’
        • ‘It was also named as British film of the year, beating off competition from World War II thriller Enigma.’
        • ‘He had no problems beating off the challenge of 20 lifters.’
        • ‘‘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.’
        • ‘Since beating off its rival, the Bank of Scotland, in the battle for ownership of NatWest, RBS has made strong progress.’
        • ‘Rogers beat off four rivals to land the job.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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’
      • ‘I took the drumsticks back and started beating a rhythm out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sound she beat out was at once primal and primitive, yet nuanced, complex, flowing.’
      • ‘She tapped her fingers against the table, beating out a rhythm.’
      • ‘He is lightly beating out a rhythm which gradually increases in intensity.’
    • 2Extinguish flames by striking at them with a suitable object.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Several men attempted to beat the flames out while water was poured on the fire.’
      • ‘It screamed as flames surrounded it; screaming, it tried to beat them out.’
      • ‘It carried on relentlessly burning, melting the sole of his shoes as he finally beat the flames out.’
      extinguish, put out, quench, smother, douse, snuff out, stifle, choke
      View synonyms
  • beat someone up

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

      • ‘Apparently, on Sunday, August 18, he assaulted his wife, beating her up pretty badly.’
      • ‘He put up so much of a struggle that they had to beat him up and knock him out before taking him in.’
      • ‘She had been constantly threatened by other pupils, who said they would beat her up after school.’
      • ‘Well, the only way that she could have been injured like that was if she was beaten up.’
      • ‘During her first week she was jumped by a gang of bullies who proceeded to beat her up.’
      • ‘It's a social problem, where it's becoming acceptable to attack people and beat them up in this way.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When her father, brother and sisters protested, they were beaten up, shoved and dragged around the house.’
      • ‘She finds it hard to forget that her dad attacked me once and beat me up in front of her.’
      • ‘The youngsters have kicked his door, threatened to beat him up and thrown eggs at his door in Manor Road, Dovercourt.’
    • 2Abuse someone verbally.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Is there any point beating myself up about being lucky?’
      • ‘I was beating myself up for even thinking about such ridiculous things, but you cannot help what you think during these times.’
      • ‘I've also been beating myself up over the fact that I don't have a career.’
      • ‘Let's stop beating ourselves up about this and make use of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do what you can do, but please don't beat yourself up, because you can't do it all.’
      • ‘Stop beating yourself up about your weight; you are fine as you are!’
      • ‘I am still beating myself up about a letter I lost about five years ago.’
      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

    • another way of saying beat someone up
      • ‘You want to beat up on somebody, take a shot at me.’
      • ‘They were beating up on him because he was a pickpocket?’
      • ‘I would never hurt my wife and beat up on her like that.’
      • ‘However, she knew that crying would only make her look weak, causing the gang to beat up on her even more.’
      • ‘I frankly believe that you spend all this time beating up on somebody else because you don't have that much to say yourself.’
      • ‘But I wish people would stop beating up on him for running.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a result, they're working with him, rather than beating up on him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘The point was to beat up on him,’ said one Democratic aide.’


Old English bēatan, of Germanic origin.