Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause (oneself) to go or move.
  • transitive v. Archaic To commit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To beteach.
  • v. To take over to; take across (to); deliver.
  • v. To commend or entrust to; to commit to.
  • v. To take oneself.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To take or seize.
  • transitive v. To have recourse to; to apply; to resort; to go; -- with a reflexive pronoun.
  • transitive v. To commend or intrust to; to commit to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To seize; take hold of; take.
  • Reflexively, to take one's self (to); repair; resort; have recourse.
  • To take one's self.
  • Same as beteach.

Etymologies

Middle English bitaken : bi-, be- + taken, to take; see take.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English betaken, bitaken, in form equivalent to be- +‎ take, however, in sense from betæcen, betechen ("to beteach"). More at beteach. (Wiktionary)
From be- +‎ take. Cognate with Danish betage ("to take, deprive, cut off"), Swedish betaka ("to take, deprive, cut off"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If you endeavor to approach these bird in their haunts, they betake themselves to flight.

    The Memory Palace

  • It is a sign of our times, conspicuous to the coarsest observer, that many intelligent and religious persons withdraw themselves from the common labors and competitions of the market and the caucus, and betake themselves to a certain solitary and critical way of living, from which no solid fruit has yet appeared to justify their separation.

    Richard Geldard: In This Other America

  • I betake myself to Allah for refuge from the accursed Satan.

    A Kettle of Vultures

  • Turning away from childish games, she used to hide herself in retired chambers, that she might give herself up more completely to prayer; and by constantly reading the deeds of holy men, she was so inflamed with the desire of a more austere life, that she even laid a plan with her brother to run away from their father's house and to betake themselves to a desert place.

    29 December -- St Thomas of Canterbury

  • Note 51: The custom of all the gentlemen of the house was to betake themselves straightway after supper to my lady Duchess; where, among the other pleasant pastimes and music and dancing that continually were practised, sometimes neat questions were proposed, sometimes ingenious games were devised at the choice of one or another, in which under various disguises the company disclosed their thoughts figuratively to whom they liked best.

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • As he had no passport, he was arrested after a few days, told to betake himself to another country and released.

    Autumn

  • On the arrival of spring they betake themselves to Antarctica, where they have their regular rookeries in places where there is bare ground.

    The South Pole~ The Eastern Sledge Journey

  • Otranto himself, and most of his followers, were obliged to betake themselves to the unknightly labours of the oar.

    Count Robert of Paris

  • Sirrah, no railing, but, betake thyself to thy teeth.

    The Abbot

  • They say you cannot live in Rome and strive with the Pope; so my uncle thought it best to cross the Rhine, and betake himself to

    Anne of Geierstein

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