Definition of beat verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//biːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//biːt//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they beat
    BrE BrE//biːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//biːt//
    he / she / it beats
    BrE BrE//biːts//
    ; NAmE NAmE//biːts//
    past simple beat
    BrE BrE//biːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//biːt//
    past participle beaten
    BrE BrE//ˈbiːtn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbiːtn//
    -ing form beating
    BrE BrE//ˈbiːtɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbiːtɪŋ//
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    in game
  1. 1  [transitive] beat somebody (at something) to defeat somebody 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 (informal) to get control of something The government's main aim is to beat inflation.
  4. be too difficult
  5. 3  [transitive] (informal) to be too difficult for somebody 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 (rather informal) to do or be better than something Nothing beats home cooking. You can't beat Italian shoes. They want to beat the speed record (= go faster than anyone before).
  8. avoid
  9. 5[transitive] beat something (informal) 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 somebody/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 quite minor offences (= 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). Synonymsbeatbatter pound lash hammerThese words all mean to hit somebody/​something many times, especially hard.beat to hit somebody/​something a lot of 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 offences (= as a punishment).batter to hit somebody/​something hard a lot of times, especially in way that causes serious injury or damage:He had been badly battered around the head and face. Severe winds have been battering the coast.pound to hit somebody/​something hard a lot of times, especially in a way that makes a lot of noise:Heavy rain pounded on the roof.lash to hit somebody/​something with a lot of force:The rain lashed at the window. The subject of lash is often rain, wind, hail, sea or waves.hammer to hit somebody/​something hard a lot of times, in a way that is noisy or violent:He hammered the door with his fists.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) something
  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. Word OriginOld English bēatan, of Germanic origin.Extra examples Add three eggs, lightly beaten. Beat the mixture well, until it is light and creamy. He beat her hands down. He had been beaten about the head with a rock. He was beaten into second place by the American. He was narrowly beaten by his opponent. His stepfather repeatedly beat his mother. I beat her by just three points. I could feel my heart beating wildly. She beat him at chess. She was beaten with a metal bar. She was beating the carpet with a large brush. The African sun beat relentlessly down on his aching head. a higher-rated player who consistently beat her rain beating against the window panes rain beating on the roof someone beating at the door ‘Where’s she gone?’ ‘Beats me.’ A young man was found beaten to death at his home last night. At that time, children were often beaten for quite minor offences. Beat the eggs to a frothy consistency. Book a break in the sun to try to beat those winter blues. For a break in the sun, Thailand is hard to beat. He is struggling to beat his heroin addiction. Her entry really did beat the others hands down. Her heart began to beat a little faster. I could detect a pulse beating very faintly. It beats me why he did it. Its wings beat feebly against the window. Nothing beats home cooking. She beat him hands down. She was beating dust out of the carpet. She won the 100 metres, beating a number of top Europeans. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat the mixture until it is white and stiff. The bird was frantically beating its wings. The new law is a way of trying to beat terrorism. The prisoners were beaten into submission. Their recent wins have proved that they’re still the ones to beat. They beat him unconscious. They used to get beaten with a wooden spoon. They were soundly beaten in the finals by a much stronger Dutch side. This is his latest attempt to beat the world record. We could hear the drums beating in the distance. What beats me is how it was done so quickly. When it comes to quality, you can’t beat Italian shoes.Idioms
    beat about the bush (British English) (North American English 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 somebody in an activity which they have chosen or in which they think they are strong
    (informal, especially North American English) to think very hard about something for a long time I’ve been beating my brains out all weekend to get this script written. to show that you feel sorry about something that you have done, especially in public and in an exaggerated way to finish a task, race, etc. before a particular time
    beat/knock the (living) daylights out of somebody
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    (informal) to hit somebody very hard several times and hurt them very much Get out or I’ll beat the living daylights out of you!
    beat/bang the drum (for somebody/something)
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    (especially British English) to speak with enthusiasm in support of somebody/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
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    (informal) to hit somebody/something very hard He was a dirty player and loved to kick hell out of the opposition.
    (slang) (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 somebody’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.
    (North American English, slang) to escape without being punished 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
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    (informal) to get or do something before somebody else can
    (beat somebody) black and blue
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    (to hit somebody until they are) covered with bruises (= blue, brown or purple marks on the body) More Like This Alliteration in idioms belt and braces, black and blue, born and bred, chalk and cheese, chop and change, done and dusted, down and dirty, in dribs and drabs, eat somebody out of house and home, facts and figures, fast and furious, first and foremost, forgive and forget, hale and hearty, hem and haw, kith and kin, mix and match, part and parcel, puff and pant, to rack and ruin, rant and rave, risk life and limb, short and sweet, signed and sealed, spic and span, through thick and thin, this and that, top and tail, tried and tested, wax and waneSee worksheet.
    (informal) used to express surprise or anger
    if you can’t beat them, join them
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    (saying) if you cannot defeat somebody 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
    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 somebody
    to be difficult to beat That score is going to take some beating. For sheer luxury, this hotel takes some beating.
    Phrasal Verbsbeat somethingdownbeat downbeat somebody downbeat offbeat off somebodybeat on somebodybeat somethingoutbeat something out of somebodybeat somebody out of somethingbeat somebody to …beat somebodyupbeat up on somebodybeat yourself up
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: beat