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

  • transitive v. To strike repeatedly.
  • transitive v. To subject to repeated beatings or physical abuse; batter.
  • transitive v. To punish by hitting or whipping; flog.
  • transitive v. To strike against repeatedly and with force; pound: waves beating the shore.
  • transitive v. To flap, especially wings.
  • transitive v. To strike so as to produce music or a signal: beat a drum.
  • transitive v. Music To mark or count (time or rhythm), especially with the hands or with a baton.
  • transitive v. To shape or break by repeated blows; forge: beat the glowing metal into a dagger.
  • transitive v. To make by pounding or trampling: beat a path through the jungle.
  • transitive v. To mix rapidly with a utensil: beat two eggs in a bowl.
  • transitive v. To defeat or subdue, as in a contest.
  • transitive v. To force to withdraw or retreat: beat back the enemy.
  • transitive v. To dislodge from a position: I beat him down to a lower price.
  • transitive v. Informal To be superior to or better than: Riding beats walking.
  • transitive v. Slang To perplex or baffle: It beats me; I don't know the answer.
  • transitive v. Informal To avoid or counter the effects of, often by thinking ahead; circumvent: beat the traffic.
  • transitive v. Informal To arrive or finish before (another): We beat you home by five minutes.
  • transitive v. Informal To deprive, as by craft or ability: He beat me out of 20 dollars with his latest scheme.
  • transitive v. Physics To cause a reference wave to combine with (a second wave) so that the frequency of the second wave can be studied through time variations in the amplitude of the combination.
  • intransitive v. To inflict repeated blows.
  • intransitive v. To pulsate; throb.
  • intransitive v. To emit sound when struck: The gong beat thunderously.
  • intransitive v. To strike a drum.
  • intransitive v. To flap repeatedly.
  • intransitive v. To shine or glare intensely: The sun beat down on us all day.
  • intransitive v. To fall in torrents: The rain beat on the roof.
  • intransitive v. To hunt through woods or underbrush in search of game.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To sail in the direction from which the wind blows.
  • n. A stroke or blow, especially one that produces a sound or serves as a signal.
  • n. A pulsation or throb.
  • n. Physics A variation in amplitude that results from the superpositioning of two or more waves of different frequencies. When sound waves are combined, the variation is heard as a pulsation in the sound.
  • n. Music A steady succession of units of rhythm.
  • n. Music A gesture used by a conductor to indicate such a unit.
  • n. A pattern of stress that produces the rhythm of verse.
  • n. A variable unit of time measuring a pause taken by an actor, as for dramatic effect.
  • n. The area regularly covered by a reporter, a police officer, or a sentry: television's culture beat.
  • n. The reporting of a news item obtained ahead of one's competitors.
  • n. A member of the Beat Generation.
  • adj. Informal Worn-out; fatigued.
  • adj. Of or relating to the Beat Generation.
  • beat off To drive away.
  • beat off Vulgar Slang To masturbate.
  • beat out Baseball To reach base safely on (a bunt or ground ball) when a putout is attempted.
  • idiom beat all To be impressive or amazing. Often used in negative conditional constructions: If that doesn't beat all!
  • idiom beat a retreat To make a hasty withdrawal.
  • idiom around To fail to confront a subject directly.
  • idiom beat it Slang To leave hurriedly.
  • idiom beat the bushes To make an exhaustive search.
  • idiom drum To give enthusiastic public support or promotion: a politician who beats the drum for liberalism.
  • idiom beat up on To attack physically.
  • idiom beat up on To criticize or scold harshly.
  • idiom to beat the band To an extreme degree.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pulsation or throb.
  • n. A pulse on the beat level, the metric level at which pulses are heard as the basic unit. Thus a beat is the basic time unit of a piece.
  • n. A rhythm.
  • n. The interference between two tones of almost equal frequency
  • n. A short pause in a play, screenplay, or teleplay, for dramatic or comedic effect.
  • n. The route of a patrol by a guard or officer as in walk the beat.
  • n. In newspapering, the primary focus of a reporter's stories (such as police/courts, education, city government, business etc.).
  • n. The instrumental portion of a piece of hip-hop music.
  • v. To hit; to knock; to pound; to strike.
  • v. To strike or pound repeatedly, usually in some sort of rhythm.
  • v. To win against; to defeat or overcome; to do better than, outdo, or excel (someone) in a particular, competitive event.
  • v. To sail to windward using a series of alternate tacks across the wind.
  • v. To strike (water, foliage etc.) in order to drive out game; to travel through (a forest etc.) for hunting.
  • v. To mix food in a rapid fashion. Compare whip.
  • v. of a buyer, to persuade the seller to reduce a price
  • v. Past participle of beat
  • v. To indicate by beating or drumming.
  • adj. dilapidated, beat up
  • adj. exhausted
  • adj. fabulous
  • adj. boring
  • adj. ugly
  • n. A beatnik.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Weary; tired; fatigued; exhausted.
  • n. A stroke; a blow.
  • n. A recurring stroke; a throb; a pulsation.
  • n.
  • n. The rise or fall of the hand or foot, marking the divisions of time; a division of the measure so marked. In the rhythm of music the beat is the unit.
  • n. A transient grace note, struck immediately before the one it is intended to ornament.
  • n. A sudden swelling or reënforcement of a sound, recurring at regular intervals, and produced by the interference of sound waves of slightly different periods of vibrations; applied also, by analogy, to other kinds of wave motions; the pulsation or throbbing produced by the vibrating together of two tones not quite in unison. See Beat, v. i., 8.
  • n. A round or course which is frequently gone over; ; analogously, for newspaper reporters, the subject or territory that they are assigned to cover.
  • n. A place of habitual or frequent resort.
  • n. A cheat or swindler of the lowest grade; -- often emphasized by dead; ; also, deadbeat.
  • n. One that beats, or surpasses, another or others.
  • n. The act of one that beats a person or thing.
  • n. The act of obtaining and publishing a piece of news by a newspaper before its competitors; also, the news itself; -- also called a scoop or exclusive.
  • n. The act of scouring, or ranging over, a tract of land to rouse or drive out game; also, those so engaged, collectively.
  • n. A smart tap on the adversary's blade.
  • intransitive v. To strike repeatedly; to inflict repeated blows; to knock vigorously or loudly.
  • intransitive v. To move with pulsation or throbbing.
  • intransitive v. To come or act with violence; to dash or fall with force; to strike anything, as rain, wind, and waves do.
  • intransitive v. To be in agitation or doubt.
  • intransitive v. To make progress against the wind, by sailing in a zigzag line or traverse.
  • intransitive v. To make a sound when struck.
  • intransitive v. To make a succession of strokes on a drum.
  • intransitive v. To sound with more or less rapid alternations of greater and less intensity, so as to produce a pulsating effect; -- said of instruments, tones, or vibrations, not perfectly in unison.
  • transitive v. To strike repeatedly; to lay repeated blows upon.
  • transitive v. To punish by blows; to thrash.
  • transitive v. To scour or range over in hunting, accompanied with the noise made by striking bushes, etc., for the purpose of rousing game.
  • transitive v. To dash against, or strike, as with water or wind.
  • transitive v. To tread, as a path.
  • transitive v. To overcome in a battle, contest, strife, race, game, etc.; to vanquish, defeat, or conquer; to surpass or be superior to.
  • transitive v. To cheat; to chouse; to swindle; to defraud; -- often with out.
  • transitive v. To exercise severely; to perplex; to trouble.
  • transitive v. To give the signal for, by beat of drum; to sound by beat of drum; See Alarm, Charge, Parley, etc.
  • transitive v. to baffle or stump; to defy the comprehension of (a person).
  • transitive v. to evade, avoid, or escape (blame, taxes, punishment).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To strike repeatedly; lay repeated blows upon.
  • To strike in order to produce a sound; sound by percussion: as, to beat a drum or a tambourine.
  • To play (a particular call or tattoo) upon the drum: as, to beat a charge; to beat a retreat.
  • To break, bruise, comminute, or pulverize by beating or pounding, as any hard substance.
  • To extend by beating, as gold or other malleable substance, or to hammer into any form; forge.
  • To separate by concussion; strike apart; remove by striking or threshing: with out.
  • To mix by a striking or beating motion; whip into the desired condition: as, to beat or beat up eggs or batter.
  • To dash or strike against, as water or wind.
  • To strike with the feet in moving; tread upon.
  • To range (fields or woods) with loud blows or other noise in search of game.
  • To overcome in battle, contest, or strife; vanquish or conquer: as, one beats another at play.
  • To surpass; excel; go beyond: as, he beats them all at swimming.
  • To be too difficult for, whether intellectually or physically; baffle: as, it beats me to make it out.
  • To harass; exercise severely; cudgel (one's brains).
  • To exhaust: as, the long and toilsome journey quite beat him.
  • To flutter; flap: as, to beat the wings: said of a bird. See bate.
  • In medieval embroidery, to ornament with thin plates of gold or silver.
  • In printing: To ink with beaters. To impress by repeatedly striking with a mallet a proof-planer pressed against the paper: as, beat a proof of that form.
  • To obtain an unfair advantage of; defraud: as, to beat a hotel.
  • To depress or crush: as, to beat down opposition.
  • To perform or execute, as a piece of music, by or as if by beats with the hands or feet.
  • To drive out or away.
  • To summon or bring together as by beat of drum: as, to beat up recruits. In hunting, to rouse and drive (game) by ranging.
  • In engraving, to remove (a dent or mark) from the face of a plate by striking the back with a punch while the face rests on a sheet of tin-foil on an anvil or a stake. In this way engravers can remove marks too deep to be obliterated by the scraper or burnisher. Synonyms To pound, bang, buffet, maul, drub, thump, thwack, baste, thrash, pommel. Discomfit, Rout, etc. See defeat.
  • To strike repeatedly; knock, as at a door.
  • To move with pulsation; throb: as, the pulse beats.
  • To act, dash, or fall with force or violence, as a storm, flood, passion, etc.: as, the tempest beats against the house.
  • To be tossed so as to strike the ground violently or frequently.
  • To give notice by beating a drum; also, to sound on being beaten, as a drum.
  • To contain beats or pulsations of sound, as a tone formed by sounding together two notes which are nearly in unison. See beat, n., 7.
  • To ponder; be incessantly engaged; be anxiously directed to something; be in agitation or doubt.
  • Nautical, to make progress against the wind by alternate tacks in a zigzag line. A good square-rigged vessel will make a direct gain to windward of three tenths of the distance she has sailed while beating, while the gain to windward of an average fore-and-aft rigged vessel will be equal to five or six tenths of the distance sailed.
  • Exhausted by exertion, mentally or bodily; fatigued; worn out by toil.
  • To slice off (the beat or rough sod) from uncultivated or fallow ground with a beat-ax or breast-plow, in order to burn it, for the purpose at once of destroying it and of converting it into manure for the land.
  • In cricket, to break through (a batsman's defense): said of the bowler or the ball.
  • n. A stroke; a striking; a blow, whether with the hand or with a weapon.
  • n. A recurrent stroke; a pulsation; a throb: as, the beat of the pulse; the heart makes from sixty to seventy beats a minute.
  • n. The sound made by the foot in walking or running; a footfall.
  • n. A round or course which is frequently gone over: as, a watchman's beat; a milkman's beat.
  • n. Hence A course habitually traversed, or a place to which one habitually or frequently resorts.
  • n. In Alabama and Mississippi, the principal subdivision of a county; a voting-precinct.
  • n. In music: The beating or pulsation arising from the interference of two musical notes differing but slightly in pitch. See interference.
  • n. The motion of the hand, foot, or baton in marking the divisions of time during the performance of a piece of music. Used vaguely by various English writers to denote different kinds of ornamental notes or graces.
  • n. The third operation in paper-making, in which the pulp is still further divided and torn apart in the beating-engine.
  • n. The blow struck by a valve when falling into its seat.
  • n. The bearing part or the facing of a valve.
  • n. A worthless, dishonest, shiftless fellow; a knave.
  • n. A stroke or blow without recoil, as in the dead-beat escapement. See escapement.
  • n. A bundle of flax or hemp made up ready for steeping.
  • n. The rough sod of moorland, or the matted growth of fallow land, which is sliced or pared off, and burned, when the land is about to be plowed. See beat, verb
  • n. In fencing, a smart tap on the adversary's blade to disconcert him or drive the blade aside for the thrust.
  • n. The act of overcoming or surpassing; specifically (in newspaper cant), the securing and publishing of some news item by a newspaper in advance of its competitors.
  • n. The news item itself.
  • n. The act of beating or ranging over a cover for game; the company, collectively, of those engaged in beating for game.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a single pulsation of an oscillation produced by adding two waves of different frequencies; has a frequency equal to the difference between the two oscillations
  • v. move with a flapping motion
  • n. a regular route for a sentry or policeman
  • v. stir vigorously
  • n. a member of the beat generation; a nonconformist in dress and behavior
  • n. the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart
  • v. come out better in a competition, race, or conflict
  • v. give a beating to; subject to a beating, either as a punishment or as an act of aggression
  • v. produce a rhythm by striking repeatedly
  • n. the act of beating to windward; sailing as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
  • v. hit repeatedly
  • n. a stroke or blow
  • v. indicate by beating, as with the fingers or drumsticks
  • n. the sound of stroke or blow
  • v. avoid paying
  • adj. very tired
  • v. be a mystery or bewildering to
  • v. beat through cleverness and wit
  • n. the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music
  • v. wear out completely
  • v. make by pounding or trampling
  • v. be superior
  • v. glare or strike with great intensity
  • n. (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
  • v. make a rhythmic sound
  • v. make a sound like a clock or a timer
  • v. sail with much tacking or with difficulty
  • v. strike (a part of one's own body) repeatedly, as in great emotion or in accompaniment to music
  • v. move with or as if with a regular alternating motion
  • v. strike (water or bushes) repeatedly to rouse animals for hunting
  • v. shape by beating
  • n. a regular rate of repetition
  • v. move with a thrashing motion
  • v. move rhythmically


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

Middle English beten, from Old English bēaten.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English beten, from Old English bēatan ("to beat, pound, strike, lash, dash, thrust, hurt, injure"), from Proto-Germanic *bautanan (“to push, strike”) (compare Low German boten, German boßen, Old Norse bauta), from Proto-Indo-European *bhau- (compare Old Irish fo-botha 'he threatened', Latin confutāre 'to strike down', fūstis 'stick, club', Albanian bahe 'sling', Lithuanian baudžiù, Bulgarian bútam 'I beat, knock', Armenian but' 'stump').

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From beatnik


  • Punch's eye was still glued to the opening, he saw the soldiers turn rightabout face, disappear through the open doorway, and then, _beat, beat, beat_, the sound of marching began again, this time to die slowly away, and he looked and listened till the pressure of Pen's hand upon his arm grew almost painful.

    !Tention A Story of Boy-Life during the Peninsular War

  • I next inquired of a watchman, who said there was no place upon his beat; but _beat_ was Gaelic to me; and I repeated my inquiry to another, who directed me towards the hells of Saffron Hill.

    Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Volume XXII

  • The word beat through her brain, both a paradise and a churning storm.

    Ecstasy in Darkness

  • As we look at this picture, I don't know if it comes across on TV, having been close to the shuttles many times, what you notice when you see them up close is how, well, you almost want to use the term beat up.

    CNN Transcript Jul 14, 2002

  • The fact that an officer could be in a Police station at the other end of the country and as long as he was dealing with an offender that had committed an offence on his patch it was counted as being on his beat is absolutely disgusting and a very cynical way of deliberatly manipulating statistics to mislead the public.

    Hayley Adamson is dead but Northumbria wins Gold! « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • For them to put together such a great run then lose guys like Afinogenov, Drury, Briere, Spacek, Connolly, Kotalik, and Paul Gaustad and bring up players from Rochester that have never played in an NHL game and not lose a beat is amazing.

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 6485

  • The Los Angeles Times takes a look at fun alternatives to jogging: Swiveling to the beat is all part of the fun at Hoopnotica — a company that make the hula hoop the central part of its fitness strategy. | Blog | Hooping: The Fun Alternative to Jogging

  • Even Ira might have smiled at that one — or maybe the self-referentiality of Run DMC: This beat is my recital;

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Lets face it the beat is a punishment posting these days to be on the vulgarity of 24/7 shifts and all that goes with it is no longer any fun.

    I Can Tell We’re Going To Be Friends « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • Jay: eh ... the beat is a bit too erratic for me, and the vocals are a bit too repeditive. if they were both erratic, or both repeditive, i would have prefered it. i'll listen to some of their other stuff, im sure they have other songs, right?

    finally, some real science (for a science teacher) (Music (For Robots))


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  • Beats are especially important for tuning notes in the middle and upper octaves of a piano. For the lower notes, when you play a key, the hammer hits only one string. For the higher notes, when you play a key, the hammer might be hitting two or three strings which need to be tuned to the same note. My instructor would chuckle about how people were always telling him they couldn't tune because they didn't have perfect pitch and how he'd always be telling them perfect pitch doesn't matter - you just have to listen for the beats.

    July 15, 2010

  • Thanks. The effect is also used for tuning instruments. I guess the wheel of an accelerating car seemingly slowing down and then spinning backwards when observed through a video camera, is also a related phenomenon.

    This, I think, is somewhat more complex, though.

    With three (and more) different superimposed frequencies it quickly gets a lot more confusing. A possible reason why I could never make much sense of my biorhythm curves. ;-)

    July 15, 2010

  • Excellent link, telofy. I have now added the words wettability and solderability to my vocabulary.

    July 15, 2010

  • Yep. Great fun, especially when you gently, with one finger, caress the aluminum case of the external hard drive you trust with all your backups (while you are well grounded and the hard drive probably less so) and you feel it responding to you with an equally gentle purr.

    (I can only guess, but it may be the beat of the 50 Hz AC and the vibration of the finger on the satin finish surface.)

    July 15, 2010

  • "Physics. To cause beating by superposing waves of different frequencies."

    - The American Heritage Dictionary

    July 14, 2010

  • See beatnik.

    September 1, 2007