Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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Main Entry: 1beat
Pronunciation: 'bEt
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): beat; beat·en /'bE-t&n /; or beat; beat·ing
Etymology: Middle English beten, from Old English bEatan; akin to Old High German bOzan to beat
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb
1 : to strike repeatedly: a : to hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain -- often used with up b : to walk on : TREAD <beat the pavement looking for work> c : to strike directly against forcefully and repeatedly : dash against d : to flap or thrash at vigorously e : to strike at in order to rouse game; also : to range over in or as if in quest of game f : to mix by stirring : WHIP -- often used with up g : to strike repeatedly in order to produce music or a signal <beat a drum>
2 a : to drive or force by blows <beat back his attackers> b : to pound into a powder, paste, or pulp c : to make by repeated treading or driving over <beat a path> d (1) : to dislodge by repeated hitting <beat dust from the carpet> (2) : to lodge securely by repeated striking <beat a stake into the ground> e : to shape by beating <beat swords into plowshares>; especially : to flatten thin by blows f : to sound or express especially by drumbeat
3 : to cause to strike or flap repeatedly <a bird beating its wings>
4 a : OVERCOME, DEFEAT; also : SURPASS -- often used with out b : to prevail despite <beat the odds> c : BEWILDER, BAFFLE <it beats me how she does it> d (1) : FATIGUE, EXHAUST (2) : to leave dispirited, irresolute, or hopeless e : CHEAT, SWINDLE
5 a (1) : to act ahead of usually so as to forestall (2) : to report a news item in advance of b : to come or arrive before c : CIRCUMVENT <beat the system> d : to outmaneuver (a defender) and get free e : to score against (a goalkeeper)
6 : to indicate by beating <beat the tempo>
intransitive verb
1 a : to become forcefully impelled : DASH b : to glare or strike with oppressive intensity c : to sustain distracting activity d : to beat a drum
2 a (1) : PULSATE, THROB (2) : TICK b : to sound upon being struck
3 a : to strike repeated blows <beating on the door> b : to strike the air : FLAP c : to strike cover in order to rouse game; also : to range or scour for or as if for game
4 : to progress with much difficulty
5 : to sail to windward by a series of tacks
- beat·able /'bE-t&-b&l/ adjective
- beat about the bush or beat around the bush : to fail or refuse to come to the point in discourse
- beat a retreat : to leave in haste
- beat it
1 : to hurry away : SCRAM
2 : HURRY, RUSH
- beat one's brains out : to try intently to resolve something difficult by thinking
- beat the bushes : to search thoroughly through all possible areas
- beat the drum : to proclaim as meritorious or significant : publicize vigorously
- beat the pants off : to defeat or surpass overwhelmingly
- beat the rap : to escape or evade the penalties connected with an accusation or charge
- beat up on : to attack physically or verbally
- to beat the band : in a very energetic or forceful manner <talking away to beat the band>