American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- v. transitive To help, assist.
- v. transitive To profit; benefit; serve; avail.
- v. transitive To take the place of; replace.
- adj. archaic Placed (in a given situation); beset.
- adj. obsolete Disposed mentally; affected.
- adj. obsolete Provided; furnished.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. Only in p. p. To put in a certain situation or condition; to circumstance; to place.
- v. To put in peril; to beset.
- v. To serve; to assist; to profit; to avail.
- From be- + Old Norse staddr ("placed"), later assimilated to Etymology 1, above. (Wiktionary)
- Probably be- + stead, to help. Adj., from Middle English bistad, placed : bi-, be- + -stad (ultimately from Old Norse staddr, placed, past participle of stedhja, to stop, from stadhr, place; see stā- in Indo-European roots). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Even that Englishman who knew Alfred, Bede, Caedmon, as well as he knew Plato, Caesar, Cicero, or Pericles, would be hard bestead were he asked about the great peoples from whom we sprang; the warring of Harold”
“Thou hast been friendly with me here when need was to me of friendliness; wherefore I say, I would I might see thee again, and thou better bestead than now thou art.”
“And now this is the last word: here is a horn of oliphant which thou shalt wear about thy neck, Birdalone; and if thou be sore bestead, or thy heart faileth thee, blow in it, yet not before the onfall; and then, whether thou blow much or little, thou shalt be well holpen.”
“Then he gave her a horn, drawing it from out of the basket of victual, which he now set down on the ground; and he said: If thou shouldst deem thee hard bestead, then wind this horn, and we shall know its voice up there and come to help thee.”
“She said presently: Habundia, thou seest I am hard bestead; give me some good rede thereto.”
“And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.”
“At once this knight seemed to throw aside his apathy, when he discovered the leader of his party so hard bestead; for, setting spurs to his horse, which was quite fresh, he came to his assistance like a thunderbolt, exclaiming, in a voice like a trumpet-call,”
“Ha, ha, most noble knight, said Queen Guenever, I see well thou art hard bestead when thou ridest in a chariot.”
“My lord, said Sir Gareth, he made me a knight, and when I saw him so hard bestead, methought it was my worship to help him, for I saw him do so much, and so many noble knights against him; and when I understood that he was Sir Launcelot du Lake, I shamed to see so many knights against him alone.”
“Then was he sent for, and when Sir Lavaine saw Sir Launcelot, he said: My lord, I found well how ye were hard bestead, for I have found your horse that was slain with arrows.”
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