Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To happen to. Used chiefly in the phrase woe betide. synonym: happen.
  • intransitive verb To take place; befall.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To happen; befall; come to.
  • To betoken; signify.
  • To come to pass; happen.
  • noun Hap; fortune.

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

  • transitive verb To happen to; to befall; to come to .
  • intransitive verb To come to pass; to happen; to occur.

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

  • verb transitive To happen to.
  • verb intransitive To happen; to take place; to bechance or befall.

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

  • verb become of; happen to

Etymologies

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

[Middle English bitiden : bi-, be- + tiden, to happen (from Old English tīdan; see tide).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English be- +‎ tide, from Old English tīdan

Examples

  • Newcomers are viewed skeptically until they "prove" their loyalty, and "woe betide anyone who walks into our house wearing that [hated team X] shirt!"

    Pop Culture

  • Newcomers are viewed skeptically until they "prove" their loyalty, and "woe betide anyone who walks into our house wearing that [hated team X] shirt!"

    8 posts from October 2009

  • They want what's advertised, and they set their sights on that, form concrete expectations, and woe betide anyone or anything that thwarts those expectations.

    "Blame in on the satellite, that beams me home."

  • Newcomers are viewed skeptically until they "prove" their loyalty, and "woe betide anyone who walks into our house wearing that [hated team X] shirt!"

    Marketing

  • We will all now be looking out for that sword, woe betide those who stole it from you.

    Fond Memories of Spain

  • USNclerk says: wow, the trolls have basically left the gay marriage thread be. but woe betide anyone who attacks Rush./snark

    Think Progress » Romney: ‘I find it hard to disagree with Rush Limbaugh.’

  • Newcomers are viewed skeptically until they "prove" their loyalty, and "woe betide anyone who walks into our house wearing that [hated team X] shirt!"

    corporate therapists

  • Newcomers are viewed skeptically until they "prove" their loyalty, and "woe betide anyone who walks into our house wearing that [hated team X] shirt!"

    corporate therapists

  • But woe betide anyone who refers to Watercliffe Meadow as a school.

    "negative connotations of school"

  • Hotel Stary in Krakow, which will host the England party during Euro 2012 and woe betide the management if the bathrooms specs are not up to scratch.

    All cisterns must be go for England's team at Euro 2012 | Harry Pearson

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