Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To attack from all sides.
  • transitive v. To trouble persistently; harass. See Synonyms at attack.
  • transitive v. To hem in; surround: "the mountains which beset it round” ( Nathaniel Hawthorne).
  • transitive v. To stud, as with jewels.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To surround or hem in
  • v. To attack, especially from all sides
  • v. To decorate something with jewels etc
  • v. Of a ship, to get trapped by ice

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To set or stud (anything) with ornaments or prominent objects.
  • transitive v. To hem in; to waylay; to surround; to besiege; to blockade.
  • transitive v. To set upon on all sides; to perplex; to harass; -- said of dangers, obstacles, etc.
  • transitive v. To occupy; to employ; to use up.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To set or place.
  • To set or place upon; distribute over; bestud; besprinkle: now only in the perfect participle.
  • To come upon or against; set upon in attack, or so as to perplex, endanger, or hem in; press upon severely, vigorously, or from all sides: as, to beset one with blows or with entreaties.
  • To employ; spend; use up.
  • To become; suit; look well on.

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

  • v. assail or attack on all sides:
  • v. annoy continually or chronically
  • v. decorate or cover lavishly (as with gems)

Etymologies

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

Middle English bisetten, from Old English besettan; see sed- in Indo-European roots.

Examples

  • But the project is beset from the start by a fiendish enemy, and also that weird phantom of outer space, Zero Gravity.

    Tom Swift and His Outpost in Space » Fanboy.com

  • But there's an I-told-you-so attitude in the West Wing — a rare feel-good moment in a second term beset by a succession of crises.

    White House Revels In War-Funding Vote

  • For Mr Brown, election day could mark the ignominious end of a three-year term beset by division within his party, relentless media sniping and the near-collapse of the British economy.

    Independent.ie - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • For Brown, appreciated by some but widely unloved, election day could mark the ignominious end of a three-year term beset by division within his party, relentless media sniping and the near-collapse of the British economy.

    RSSMicro Search - Top News on RSS Feeds

  • Kollapen said the report describes a community "beset" by problems:

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • A man needs a stout heart, a clear head, and a sure hand, to hold his own in a welter of interests and antagonisms such as beset me.

    The Black Colonel

  • But there were no other hardships such as beset Odysseus, between the burning of Troy and his return to Ithaca, west of the land of Greece.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew

  • Presently, however, his inner anxieties grew upon him so much that his book fell on his knee, and he lost himself in a multitude of small scruples and torments, such as beset all persons who live alone.

    Helbeck of Bannisdale — Volume I

  • That struggle, like his own, was beset by "dark forces, threatening words, which caused rivers of tears."

    Czar-Crossed Writers

  • Choose carefully from your various lodging options, if for no other reason than to reduce the likelihood of encountering the problem which beset us … feeling compelled, at dusk, to change our plan regarding where to spend the night, and as a result having little choice but to drive at night, not the optimum way to enjoy any trip through Mexico.

    A driving tour from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque: Part Two

Comments

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  • Ha ha!

    April 16, 2009

  • Soon a big hornets' nest fell out of the tree, and Roland was 'lavishly decorated' by hundreds of stinging hornets.

    April 16, 2009

  • Soon a big hornets' nest fell out of the tree, and Roland was beset by hundreds of stinging hornets.

    - William Steig, Roland the Minstrel Pig

    September 29, 2008