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verb (used with object), beset, besetting.
to attack on all sides; assail; harass: to be beset by enemies; beset by difficulties.
to surround; hem in: a village beset on all sides by dense forest.
to set or place upon; bestud: a gold bracelet beset with jewels.
Nautical. to surround (a vessel) by ice, so that control of the helm is lost.

before 1000; Middle English besetten, Old English besettan. See be-, set

besetment, noun
besetter, noun
prebeset, verb (used with object), prebeset, prebesetting.
unbeset, adjective

2. encircle, enclose, besiege, beleaguer. 3. stud, decorate, ornament.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
beset (bɪˈsɛt)
vb , -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

besetting (bɪˈsɛtɪŋ)
tempting, harassing, or assailing (esp in the phrase besetting sin)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. besettan "to put, place; own, keep; cover, surround with, besiege," from P.Gmc. *bisatjan (cf. O.S. bisettjan, Ger. besetzen, Goth. bisatjan); see be- + set (v.). The figurative sense also was in O.E.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
However, there are other issues besetting the fortunes of these green machines, according to the study.
He also found time to keep up with political problems besetting the new nation.
Where temptation to fall into the besetting sins of tourists is great, the merit of avoiding them is equally great.
His besetting sin heretofore has been opening his mouth.
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