Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To attack from all sides.
  • transitive verb To trouble persistently; harass. synonym: attack.
  • transitive verb To hem in; surround.
  • transitive verb To stud, as with jewels.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • verb assail or attack on all sides:
  • verb annoy continually or chronically
  • verb 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 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.

    Stuff.co.nz - Stuff

  • 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

  • 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.

    Stuff.co.nz - Stuff

  • 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

Comments

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  • 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

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

    April 16, 2009

  • Ha ha!

    April 16, 2009