in game1 [transitive] beat someone (at something) to defeat someone in a game or competitionHe beat me at chess.Their recent wins have proved they're still the ones to beat (= the most difficult team to beat).
control2 [transitive] beat something to get control of something synonym defeatThe government's main aim is to beat inflation.
be too difficult3 [transitive] to be too difficult for someone synonym defeat beat someonea problem that beats even the experts beat someone 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).
be better4 [transitive] beat something to do or be better than somethingNothing beats home cooking.You can't beat Italian shoes.They want to beat the speed record (= go faster than anyone before).
avoid5 [transitive] beat something to avoid somethingIf we go early, we should beat the traffic.We were up and off early to beat the heat.
hit6 [intransitive, transitive] to hit someone or something many times, usually very hard + adverb/prepositionSomebody was beating at the door.Hailstones beat against the window. beat somethingSomeone was beating a drum. beat something + adverb/prepositionShe was beating dust out of the carpet (= removing dust from the carpet by beating it). beat someoneAt that time children were regularly beaten for minor offenses (= a punishment). beat someone + adverb/prepositionAn elderly man was found beaten to death.The prisoners were beaten into submission (= they were beaten until they did what was wanted). beat someone + adjectiveThey beat him unconscious (= hit him until he became unconscious).
of heart/drums/wings7 [intransitive, transitive] to make, or cause something to make, a regular sound or movementShe's alive—her heart is still beating.We heard the drums beating.The bird was beating its wings (= moving them up and down) frantically.
mix8 [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 togetherBeat the flour and milk together.
shape metal9 [transitive] to change the shape of something, especially metal, by hitting it with a hammer, etc. beat something (out) (into something)beaten silverThe gold is beaten out into thin strips. beat something + adjectiveThe metal had been beaten flat.
make path10 [transitive] beat something (through, across, along, etc. something) to make a path, etc. by walking somewhere, or by pressing branches down and walking over thema well-beaten track (= one that has been worn hard by much use)The hunters beat a path through the undergrowth.
beat around the bush
to talk about something for a long time without coming to the main pointStop beating about the bush and tell me what you want.beat around the bush
beat someone at their own game
to defeat or do better than someone in an activity which they have chosen or in which they think they are strongbeat at their own game
beat your brains out(informal) to think very hard about something for a long timeI've been beating my brains out all weekend to get this script written.beat your brains out
beat your breast
to show that you feel sorry about something that you have done, especially in public and in an exaggerated waybeat your breast
beat the clock
to finish a task, race, etc. before a particular timebeat the clock
beat/knock the (living) daylights out of someone(informal) to hit someone very hard several times and hurt them very muchGet out or I'll beat the living daylights out of you!beat the daylights out ofbeat the living daylights out ofknock the daylights out ofknock the living daylights out of
beat/flog a dead horse(informal) to waste your effort by trying to do something that is no longer possiblebeat a dead horseflog a dead horse
beat/bang the drum (for someone/something)
to speak with enthusiasm in support of someone or somethingShe's really banging the drum for the new system.beat the drumbeat the drum forbang the drumbang the drum for
beat/kick (the) hell out of someone/something|
knock hell out of someone/something(informal) to hit someone or something very hardHe was a dirty player and loved to kick hell out of the opposition.beat hell out ofbeat the hell out ofkick hell out ofkick the hell out of
beat it(slang) (usually used in orders) to go away immediatelyThis is private land, so beat it!beat it
beat a path to someone's door
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 themTop theatrical agents are beating a path to the teenager's door.beat a path to door
beat the rap(slang) to escape without being punishedbeat the rap
beat a (hasty) retreat
to go away or back quickly, especially to avoid something unpleasantbeat a retreatbeat a hasty retreat
beat time (to something)
to mark or follow the rhythm of music, by waving a stick, tapping your foot, etc.She beat time with her fingers.beat timebeat time to
beat someone to the punch(informal) to get or do something before someone else canbeat to the punch
(beat someone) black and blue
(to hit someone until they are) covered with bruises (= blue, brown, or purple marks on the body)black and bluebeat black and blue
can you beat that/it!(informal) used to express surprise or angercan you beat that!can you beat it!
if you can't beat them, join them(saying) 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 soif you can't beat them, join them
off the beaten track
far away from other people, houses, etc.They live miles off the beaten track.off the beaten track
a rod/stick to beat someone with
a fact, an argument, etc. that is used in order to blame or punish someonea rod to beat witha stick to beat with
take some beating
to be difficult to beatThat score is going to take some beating.For sheer luxury, this hotel takes some beating.take some beating
beat something↔downto hit a door, etc. many times until it breaks openbeat down
beat down (on someone/something)if the sun beats down, it shines with great heatThe sun beat down on the desert sand.beat downbeat down on
beat someone/something down (to something)to persuade someone to reduce the price at which they are selling somethingHe wanted $8,000 for the car but I beat him down to $6,000.I beat down the price to $6,000.beat downbeat down to
beat someone/something↔offto force someone or something back or away by fightingThe attacker was beaten off.She beat off a challenge to her leadership.beat off
beat on someone= beat up on someonebeat on
beat something↔out1 to produce a rhythm by hitting something many times2 to put a fire out by beatingWe beat the flames out.3 to remove something by hitting it with a hammer, etc.They can beat out the dent in the car's fender.beat out
beat something out of someoneto hit someone until they tell you what you want to knowbeat out of
beat someone out of something(informal) to cheat someone by taking something from themHer brother beat her out of $200.beat out of
beat someone to something|
beat someone to itto get somewhere or do something before someone elseShe beat me to the top of the hill.I was about to take the last cookie, but he beat me to it.beat to
beat someone↔upto hit or kick someone hard, many timesHe was badly beaten up by a gang of thugs.beat up
beat up on someone(also beat on someone) to blame someone too much for somethingDon't beat up on Paul—he tried his best.beat up on
Usage note: beatbatter 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.note 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.patternsto beat/batter/pound/lash/hammer someone/something with somethingto beat/batter/pound/lash/hammer against somethingto beat/batter/pound/hammer on somethingto beat/batter/hammer something downthe rain/wind/sea beats/batters/pounds/lashes (at) something