Definitions

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

  • transitive v. Archaic To be appropriate for; befit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To appear, seem, look (with some qualifying word).
  • v. To be appropriate or creditable (without qualifying word).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. Literally: To appear or seem (well, ill, best, etc.) for (one) to do or to have. Hence: To be fit, suitable, or proper for, or worthy of; to become; to befit.
  • intransitive v. To seem; to appear; to be fitting.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To seem.
  • To be seemly; be meet.
  • To become; be fit for or worthy of.
  • To seem fit for.

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

  • v. accord or comport with

Etymologies

Middle English bisemen : bi-, be- + semen, to seem; see seem.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From be- + seem. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Prince sat, with his head bowed groundwards, and spake not to any: whereby his father knew that his breast was straitened and bade the cup-companions and men of wit relate marvellous histories, such as beseem the sessions of kings; nor was there one of them but spoke forth the goodliest of that which was with him; but Al-'Abbás still abode with his head bowed down.

    Arabian nights. English

  • It may be thought ill to beseem a military monk such as I to raise his voice where so many noble princes remain silent; but it concerns our whole host, and not least this noble King of England, that he should hear from some one to his face those charges which there are enow to bring against him in his absence.

    The Talisman

  • Ill would it beseem my habit and my calling, to thrust myself into match-making and giving in marriage, but worse were it in me to see your lordships do needless wrong to the feelings which are proper to our nature, and which, being indulged honestly and under the restraints of religion, become a pledge of domestic quiet here, and future happiness in a better world.

    The Monastery

  • “If thou wish for handsome stuffs, I will show them to thee; for I have wares that beseem persons of every condition.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Tot mundi superstitiones quot coelo stellae, one saith, there be as many superstitions in the world, as there be stars in heaven, or devils themselves that are the first founders of them: with such ridiculous, absurd symptoms and signs, so many several rites, ceremonies, torments and vexations accompanying, as may well express and beseem the devil to be the author and maintainer of them.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • This would still beseem all doughty knights at high festal tides.

    The Nibelungenlied

  • She clad her and her handmaids with care, as did beseem them.

    The Nibelungenlied

  • When that any gan gain this and chooseth one who doth beseem him, naught availeth so greatly for woe of heart.

    The Nibelungenlied

  • To the twain she said, that weeping did beseem her and naught else better.

    The Nibelungenlied

  • Polo north will beseem Sibernian and Plein Pelouta will behowl ne yerking at lawncastrum ne ghimbelling on guelflinks.

    Finnegans Wake

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.