Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To cause (oneself) to reflect on or consider.
  • intransitive verb To remind (oneself); remember.
  • intransitive verb To meditate; ponder.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To think; imagine.
  • To think about; reflect upon; consider.
  • Reflexively: To call to mind; take into consideration; remind one's self: with of (formerly also on or upon) before the name of the object of thought.
  • To reflect; deliberate; commune with one's self.
  • To deliberate; consider.

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

  • transitive verb To call to mind; to recall or bring to recollection, reflection, or consideration; to think; to consider; -- generally followed by a reflexive pronoun, often with of or that before the subject of thought.
  • intransitive verb To think; to recollect; to consider.

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

  • verb obsolete, transitive To think about, to recollect.
  • verb pronominal To think of (something or somebody) or that (+ clause); to remind oneself, to consider, to reflect upon.
  • verb to meditate, ponder; to consider
  • verb to determine, resolve

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

  • verb cause oneself to consider something
  • verb consider or ponder something carefully

Etymologies

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

[Middle English bithinken, from Old English bethencan; see tong- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bethenken, bithenchen "to think about, consider" from Old English beþenċan, biþenċan "to think upon, remind, consider, remember" from Proto-Germanic *bi- + *þankijanan (“to think about”), equivalent to be- +‎ think. Akin to Old High German pidenchan "to bethink" (German bedenken "to bethink"), Gothic  (biþagkjan), Dutch bedenken "to bethink". More at be-, think.

Examples

  • "But you," I demanded hotly; "you with your orgies of sound and sense, with your mad cities and madder frolics — bethink you that you win?"

    WHEN GOD LAUGHS

  • “An excellent motion, my ingenious friend,” said Lascaris, which was the name of the other citizen; “but bethink you, shall we not be in danger from the missiles with which the audacious Latins will not fail to return the Greek fire, if, according to your conjecture, it shall be poured upon them by the Imperial squadron?”

    Count Robert of Paris

  • And thou art he, too, as I bethink me, to whom the Christian princes sent this very criminal to open a communication with the Soldan, even while I, who ought to have been first consulted, lay on my sick-bed?

    The Talisman

  • “Good Nectabanus, bethink thyself,” said the knight.

    The Talisman

  • I am not so void of sense; bethink thee, I shall go through this as well, when I lead the maiden from the chamber to the sound of the marriage-hymn; wherefore I chide thee not; but custom will combine with time to make the smart grow less.

    Iphigenia at Aulis

  • “Keep thy voice low and submissive, I have told thee a score of times,” said the leader, “and lower thine axe, which, as I bethink me, thou hadst better leave in the outer apartment.”

    Count Robert of Paris

  • I am not so void of sense; bethink thee, I shall go through this as well, when I lead the maiden from the chamber to the sound of the marriage-hymn; wherefore I chide thee not; but custom will combine with time to make the smart grow less.

    Iphigenia at Aulis

  • Now go, my child, and tarry not; and soon as thou hast made the offering at the tomb, bethink thee of thy return.

    Orestes

  • Consider thyself, Hereward, and bethink thee what thou art.

    Count Robert of Paris

  • “Cousin,” said the Lady Hameline, “I believe with you that the youth means us well — but bethink you — we transgress the instructions of King Louis, so positively iterated.”

    Quentin Durward

Comments

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  • “Beset, as you should know, by woe and eager for a situation of venerational tranquility, I bethought me of this manteion, the new calde’s own, as a place to which I might retire, pray and contemplate the inscrutable ways of the gods.” (emphasis in the original)

    —Patera Incus in The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe

    September 18, 2009