Meaning of BEAT in English


I. beat 1 S2 W2 /biːt/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense beat , past participle beaten /ˈbiːtn/)

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ beat , ↑ beating ; adjective : beatable ≠ ↑ unbeatable , ↑ beaten ≠ ↑ unbeaten ; verb : ↑ beat ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: beatan ]

1 . COMPETITION/ELECTION [transitive] to get the most points, votes etc in a game, race, or competition SYN defeat :

Brazil were beaten 2–1.

Labour easily beat the Conservatives in the last election.

beat somebody at/in something

I beat him more often at pool than he beats me.

beat somebody hollow British English beat the pants off somebody American English (=defeat them easily)

2 . HIT [transitive] to hit someone or something many times with your hand, a stick etc:

photographs of rioters beating a policeman

He was questioned and beaten.

The woman had been beaten to death by her husband.

Two prisoners were beaten unconscious.

beat somebody black and blue (=hit someone until it makes marks on their body)

beat the living daylights out of somebody (=beat someone very hard)

3 . HIT AGAINST [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to hit against something many times or continuously

beat on/against/at etc

Waves beat against the cliffs.

rain beating on the windows

Sid beat on the door with his hand.

4 . DO BETTER [transitive] to do something better, faster etc than what was best before

beat a record/score etc

The record set by Kierson in '84 has yet to be beaten.

The company’s profits are unlikely to beat last year’s £10 million.

5 . BE BETTER [transitive not in progressive] especially spoken to be much better and more enjoyable than something else:

Fresh milk beats powdered milk any time.

beat doing something

‘Well,’ said Culley, ‘it beats going to the office.’

You can’t beat swimming as a good all-body exercise.

Nothing beats homemade cake.

you can’t beat something (for something)

For excitement, you just can’t beat college basketball.

6 . FOOD [intransitive and transitive] to mix things together quickly with a fork or special kitchen machine:

Beat the eggs, then add the milk.

beat something in

Gradually beat in the sugar.

beat something together

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.

7 . CONTROL/DEAL WITH [transitive] to successfully deal with a problem that you have been struggling with SYN conquer :

advice on how to beat depression

the government’s long fight to beat inflation

8 . HEART [intransitive] when your heart beats, it moves in a regular ↑ rhythm as it pumps your blood:

The average person’s heart beats 70 times a minute.

Jennifer’s heart was beating fast.

9 . DRUMS [intransitive and transitive] if you beat drums, or if drums beat, they make a regular continuous sound

10 . WINGS [intransitive and transitive] if a bird beats its wings, or if its wings beat, they move up and down quickly and regularly SYN flap

11 . take some beating if something or someone will take some beating, it will be difficult for anyone or anything to be or do better:

Raikkonen has 42 points, which will take some beating.

Florida takes some beating as a vacation destination.

12 . AVOID [transitive] to avoid situations in which a lot of people are trying to do something, usually by doing something early:

We left at four a.m. to beat the traffic.

Shopping by mail order lets you beat the queues.

Shop now and beat the Christmas rush!

13 . DO BEFORE SOMEBODY ELSE [transitive] informal to get or do something before someone else, especially if you are both trying to do it first

beat somebody to something

John had beaten me to the breakfast table.

I wanted the last piece of pie, but somebody beat me to it.

They wanted to make it into a film, but another studio beat them to the punch.

14 . beat about/around the bush to avoid or delay talking about something embarrassing or unpleasant:

Don’t beat around the bush. Ask for your account to be paid, and paid quickly.

15 . beat the system to find ways of avoiding or breaking the rules of an organization, system etc, in order to achieve what you want:

Accountants know a few ways to beat the system.

16 . beat a path to sb’s door ( also beat down sb’s door ) if people beat a path to your door, they are interested in something you are selling, a service you are providing etc:

The new design was supposed to have consumers beating a path to their door.

17 . beat a (hasty) retreat to leave somewhere or stop doing something very quickly, in order to avoid a bad situation:

He beat a hasty retreat when he spotted me.

18 . beat the clock to finish something very quickly, especially before a particular time:

The company managed to beat the clock on delivering its new system.

• • •


19 . (it) beats me used to say that you do not know something, or cannot understand or explain it:

Beats me why he wants such a big car.

‘What’s he saying?’ ‘Beats me.’

20 . beat it! used to tell someone to leave at once, because they are annoying you or should not be there

21 . can you beat that/it? used to show that you are surprised or annoyed by something:

They’ve got eight children! Can you beat that?

22 . beat your brains out to think about something very hard and for a long time:

I’ve been beating my brains out all week trying to finish this essay.

23 . if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em used when you decide to take part in something even though you disapprove of it, because everyone else is doing it and you cannot stop them

24 . beat the rap American English informal to avoid being punished for something you have done

25 . beat time to make regular movements or sounds to show the speed at which music should be played:

a conductor beating time with his baton

26 . beat a path/track to make a path by walking over an area of land

27 . to beat the band American English informal in large amounts or with great force:

It’s raining to beat the band.

28 . beat the heat American English informal to make yourself cooler:

Fresh lemonade is a great way to beat the heat.

29 . METAL ( also beat out ) [transitive] to hit metal with a hammer in order to shape it or make it thinner

30 . HUNTING [intransitive and transitive] to force wild birds and animals out of bushes, long grass etc so that they can be shot for sport

31 . beat your breast literary to show clearly that you are very upset or sorry about something

⇨ ↑ beaten , ↑ beating

• • •


■ adverbs

▪ easily beat somebody

Jason easily beats me at chess every time we play.

▪ narrowly beat somebody (=by only a few points, votes etc)

New Zealand narrowly beat the Springboks in South Africa.

▪ comfortably beat somebody (=by more than a few points, votes etc)

He comfortably beat the second placed candidate.

▪ soundly beat somebody (=by a lot of points, votes etc)

In each event she soundly beat her opponents.

▪ beat somebody hands down (=beat someone very easily)

He should be able to beat them all hands down.

▪ comprehensively beat somebody (=by a lot of points, votes etc)

There’s no point trying to offer excuses as to why we were so comprehensively beaten.

▪ convincingly beat somebody (=in a way that clearly shows somebody deserves to win)

Mexico convincingly beat Brazil 2–0.

■ phrases

▪ beat somebody into second/third etc place

He was beaten into second place in the Monaco Grand Prix.

• • •


▪ beat to get more points, votes etc than someone. Beat is used especially in spoken English:

We should have beaten them easily.


I always beat my brother at tennis.

▪ defeat to beat someone. Defeat is more formal than beat and is used especially in writing:

England were defeated by 2 goals to 1.


Bush defeated Kerry in the election.

▪ trounce /traʊns/ to defeat someone completely in a game:

They were trounced 20–0 by Kuwait.

▪ thrash British English informal , cream American English informal to beat someone very easily in a game:

Of course, they totally creamed the other team.


I hope we thrash them!

▪ wipe the floor with somebody informal to beat someone completely in a game or argument:

She wiped the floor with her opponent in the debate.


They won a £1,000 prize after wiping the floor with the opposition in a bowling competition.

beat down phrasal verb

1 . if the sun beats down, it shines very brightly and the weather is hot

2 . if the rain beats down, it is raining very hard

3 . beat the door down to hit a door so hard that it falls down

4 . beat somebody down British English to persuade someone to reduce a price

beat somebody down to

He wanted £4,500 for the car, but I beat him down to £3,850.

5 . beat somebody ↔ down to make someone feel defeated, so they no longer respect themselves:

The women seemed beaten down.

beat off phrasal verb

1 . beat somebody/something ↔ off to succeed in defeating someone who is attacking, opposing, or competing with you:

McConnell beat off a challenge for his Senate seat.

2 . American English informal not polite if a man beats off, he ↑ masturbate s

beat somebody/something ↔ out phrasal verb

1 . if a drum or something else beats out a ↑ rhythm , or if you beat out a rhythm on a drum, it makes a continuous regular sound

2 . especially American English to defeat someone in a competition:

Lockheed beat out a rival company to win the contract.

beat somebody/something ↔ out for

Roberts beat out Tony Gwynn for the Most Valuable Player Award.

3 . to put out a fire by hitting it many times with something such as a cloth

beat up phrasal verb

1 . beat somebody ↔ up to hurt someone badly by hitting them:

Her boyfriend got drunk and beat her up.

2 . beat up on somebody American English to hit someone and harm them, especially someone younger or weaker than yourself

3 . beat yourself up ( also beat up on yourself American English ) informal to blame yourself too much for something:

If you do your best and you lose, you can’t beat yourself up about it.

II. beat 2 S3 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ beat , ↑ beating ; adjective : beatable ≠ ↑ unbeatable , ↑ beaten ≠ ↑ unbeaten ; verb : ↑ beat ]

1 . [countable] one of a series of regular movements or hitting actions:

a heart rate of 80 beats a minute

the steady beat of the drum

2 . [singular] a regular repeated noise SYN rhythm

beat of

the beat of marching feet

3 . [countable] the main ↑ rhythm that a piece of music or a poem has:

a song with a beat you can dance to

4 . [singular] a subject or area of a city that someone is responsible for as their job:

journalists covering the Washington beat

on the beat

People like to see police officers on the beat.

5 . [countable] one of the notes in a piece of music that sounds stronger than the other notes

• • •


■ preparing food

▪ grate to cut cheese, carrot etc into small pieces by rubbing it against a special tool:

Grate the cheese and sprinkle it over the top of the pasta.

▪ melt to make butter, chocolate etc become liquid:

Melt the butter, chocolate, and 1 teaspoon of cream over a low heat.

▪ sieve British English , sift American English to put flour or other powders through a ↑ sieve (=tool like a net made of wire, which you use for removing larger grains or pieces) :

Sift the flour and cocoa before adding to the rest of the mixture.

▪ chop to cut something into pieces, especially using a big knife:

Chop up the vegetables.

▪ dice to cut vegetables or meat into small square pieces:

Dice the carrots and then fry them in butter.

▪ season to add salt, pepper etc to food:

Season the meat before grilling.

▪ crush to use a lot of force to break something such as seeds into very small pieces or into a powder:

Add one clove of crushed garlic.

▪ mix to combine different foods together:

Mix together all the ingredients in one bowl.

▪ beat/whisk to mix food together quickly with a fork or other tool:

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

▪ stir to turn food around with a spoon:

Stir the sauce gently to prevent burning.

▪ fold something in to gently mix another substance into a mixture:

Fold in the beaten egg whites.

▪ knead to press ↑ dough (=a mixture of flour and water) many times with your hands when you are making bread:

Knead the dough for ten minutes, until smooth.

▪ drizzle to slowly pour a small amount of a liquid onto something:

Drizzle with olive oil.

▪ let something stand to leave something somewhere, before you do something else with it:

Let the mixture stand for a couple of hours so that it cools naturally.

▪ serve to put different foods together as part of a meal:

Serve with rice and a salad.


Serve the aubergines on a bed of lettuce.

III. beat 3 BrE AmE adjective [not before noun]

informal very tired SYN exhausted :

I’m beat.

Come and sit down – you must be dead beat.

• • •


▪ tired feeling that you want to sleep or rest:

I was really tired the next day.


the tired faces of the children

▪ exhausted extremely tired:

I was exhausted after the long trip home.


He sat down, exhausted.


She immediately fell into an exhausted sleep.

▪ worn out [not before noun] very tired because you have been working hard:

With three small children to care for, she was always worn out.

▪ weary /ˈwɪəri $ ˈwɪr-/ written tired because you have been travelling, worrying, or doing something for a long time:

weary travellers


a weary sigh


He looks tired and weary after 20 years in office.

▪ fatigued formal very tired:

They were too fatigued to continue with the climb.


Because of her illness, she often became fatigued.

▪ drained [not before noun] very tired and feeling as if all your energy has gone:

Afterwards, he felt drained, both physically and mentally.

▪ bushed/beat [not before noun] informal very tired:

I’m bushed. I think I’ll go to bed early.


I’m beat. I don’t think I’ll go for a run tonight.

▪ knackered British English , pooped American English [not before noun] informal very tired. Knackered is a very informal use - do not use it in polite conversation:

By the time I got home I was absolutely knackered.

▪ shattered [not before noun] British English informal extremely tired:

When I first started teaching, I came home shattered every night.

▪ dead spoken extremely tired, so that you cannot do anything but sleep:

I was absolutely dead by the time I got home.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.