American English

Definition of beat verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they beat
    he / she / it beats
    past simple beat
    past participle beaten
    -ing form beating
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    in game
  1. 1[transitive] beat somebody (at something) to defeat someone in a game or competition He beat me at chess. Their recent wins have proved they're still the ones to beat (= the most difficult team to beat).
  2. control
  3. 2[transitive] beat something to get control of something synonym defeat The government's main aim is to beat inflation.
  4. be too difficult
  5. 3[transitive] to be too difficult for someone synonym defeat beat somebody a problem that beats even the experts beat somebody why, how, etc… It beats me (= I don't know) why he did it. What beats me is how it was done so quickly (= I don't understand how).
  6. be better
  7. 4[transitive] beat something to do or be better than something Nothing beats home cooking. You can't beatItalian shoes. They want to beat the speed record (= go faster than anyone before).
  8. avoid
  9. 5[transitive] beat something to avoid something If we go early, we should beat the traffic. We were up and off early to beat the heat.
  10. hit
  11. 6[intransitive, transitive] to hit someone or something many times, usually very hard + adv./prep. Somebody was beating at the door. Hailstones beat against the window. beat something Someone was beating a drum. beat something + adv./prep. She was beating dust out of the carpet (= removing dust from the carpet by beating it). beat somebody At that time children were regularly beaten for minor offenses (= a punishment). beat somebody + adv./prep. An elderly man was found beaten to death. The prisoners were beaten into submission (= they were beaten until they did what was wanted). beat somebody + adj. They beat him unconscious (= hit him until he became unconscious).
  12. of heart/drums/wings
  13. 7[intransitive, transitive] to make, or cause something to make, a regular sound or movement She's alive—her heart is still beating. We heard the drums beating. The bird was beating its wings (= moving them up and down) frantically.
  14. mix
  15. 8[transitive] to mix something with short, quick movements with a fork, etc. beat something (up) Beat the eggs up to a frothy consistency. beat A and B together Beat the flour and milk together.
  16. shape metal
  17. 9[transitive] to change the shape of something, especially metal, by hitting it with a hammer, etc. beat something (out) (into something) beaten silver The gold is beaten out into thin strips. beat something + adj. The metal had been beaten flat.
  18. make path
  19. 10[transitive] beat something (through, across, along, etc. something) to make a path, etc. by walking somewhere, or by pressing branches down and walking over them a well-beaten track (= one that has been worn hard by much use) The hunters beat a path through the undergrowth.
  20. Thesaurusbeatbatter pound lash hammerThese words all mean to hit someone or something many times, especially hard.beat to hit someone or something many times, especially very hard:Someone was beating at the door. A young man was found beaten to death last night. At that time, children were often beaten for quite minor offenses (= as a punishment).batter to hit someone or something hard many times, especially in a way that causes serious damage:He was badly battered about the head and face. Severe winds are battering the coast.pound to hit someone or something hard many times, especially in a way that makes a lot of noise:Heavy rain pounded on the roof. She pounded on the table with her fist.lash to hit someone or something with great force:The rain lashed at the window. The subject of lash is often rain, wind, hail, sea, or waves.hammer to hit someone or something hard many times, in a way that is noisy or violent:He hammered at the lock, but it would not open. (figurative)She hammered him with difficult questions.pound or hammer?There is not much difference in meaning between these two, but to pound is sometimes a steadier action. To hammer can be more violent and it is often used figuratively.Patterns to beat/batter/pound/lash/hammer somebody/something with something to beat/batter/pound/lash/hammer against something to beat/batter/pound/hammer on something to beat/batter/hammer something down the rain/wind/sea beats/batters/pounds/lashes (at) somethingIdioms
    beat around the bush
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    to talk about something for a long time without coming to the main point Stop beating about the bush and tell me what you want.
    beat somebody at their own game
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    to defeat or do better than someone in an activity which they have chosen or in which they think they are strong
    beat your brains out (informal)
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    to think very hard about something for a long time I've been beating my brains out all weekend to get this script written.
    beat your breast
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    to show that you feel sorry about something that you have done, especially in public and in an exaggerated way
    beat the clock
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    to finish a task, race, etc. before a particular time
    beat/knock the (living) daylights out of somebody (informal)
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    to hit someone very hard several times and hurt them very much Get out or I'll beat the living daylights out of you!
    beat/flog a dead horse (informal)
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    to waste your effort by trying to do something that is no longer possible
    beat/bang the drum (for somebody/something)
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    to speak with enthusiasm in support of someone or something She's really banging the drum for the new system.
    beat/kick (the) hell out of somebody/something, knock hell out of somebody/something (informal)
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    to hit someone or something very hard He was a dirty player and loved to kick hell out of the opposition.
    beat it (slang)
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    (usually used in orders) to go away immediately This is private land, so beat it!
    beat a path to somebody's door
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    if a lot of people beat a path to someone's door, they are all interested in something that person has to sell, or can do or tell them Top theatrical agents are beating a path to the teenager's door.
    beat the rap (slang)
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    to escape without being punished
    beat a (hasty) retreat
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    to go away or back quickly, especially to avoid something unpleasant
    beat time (to something)
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    to mark or follow the rhythm of music, by waving a stick, tapping your foot, etc. She beat time with her fingers.
    beat somebody to the punch (informal)
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    to get or do something before someone else can
    (beat somebody) black and blue
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    (to hit someone until they are) covered with bruises (= blue, brown, or purple marks on the body)
    can you beat that/it! (informal)
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    used to express surprise or anger
    if you can't beat them, join them (saying)
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    if you cannot defeat someone or be as successful as they are, then it is more sensible to join them in what they are doing and perhaps get some advantage for yourself by doing so
    off the beaten track
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    far away from other people, houses, etc. They live miles off the beaten track.
    a rod/stick to beat somebody with
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    a fact, an argument, etc. that is used in order to blame or punish someone
    take some beating
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    to be difficult to beat That score is going to take some beating. For sheer luxury, this hotel takes some beating.
    Phrasal Verbsbeat somethingdownbeat down (on somebody/something)beat somebody/something down (to something)beat somebody/somethingoffbeat on somebodybeat somethingoutbeat something out of somebodybeat somebody out of somethingbeat somebody to somethingbeat somebodyupbeat up on somebodybeat yourself up (about/over something)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: beat