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beset

[bih-set] /bɪˈsɛt/
verb (used with object), beset, besetting.
1.
to attack on all sides; assail; harass:
to be beset by enemies; beset by difficulties.
2.
to surround; hem in:
a village beset on all sides by dense forest.
3.
to set or place upon; bestud:
a gold bracelet beset with jewels.
4.
Nautical. to surround (a vessel) by ice, so that control of the helm is lost.
Origin of beset
1000
before 1000; Middle English besetten, Old English besettan. See be-, set
Related forms
besetment, noun
besetter, noun
prebeset, verb (used with object), prebeset, prebesetting.
unbeset, adjective
Synonyms
2. encircle, enclose, besiege, beleaguer. 3. stud, decorate, ornament.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beset
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At first navigation was beset with the greatest difficulties.

  • They are putty in the hands of the fears and forces that beset them from without.

  • The task is, however, beset with difficulties, on account of the great expense involved.

    Meteorology Charles Fitzhugh Talman
  • He was beset on either side by the merciless fangs of his erstwhile comrades.

    White Fang Jack London
  • And then he endeavoured to reason with himself, and to look the perils that beset him, in the face.

    The Mysteries of London, v. 1/4 George W. M. Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for beset

beset

/bɪˈsɛt/
verb (transitive) -sets, -setting, -set
1.
(esp of dangers, temptations, or difficulties) to trouble or harass constantly
2.
to surround or attack from all sides
3.
(archaic) to cover with, esp with jewels
Derived Forms
besetter, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beset
v.

Old English besettan "to put, place; own, keep; occupy, settle; cover, surround with, besiege," from Proto-Germanic *bisatjan (cf. Old Saxon bisettjan, Dutch bezetten, Old High German bisezzan, German besetzen, Gothic bisatjan); see be- + set (v.). The figurative sense also was in Old English. Related: Beset (past tense); besetting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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7
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