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[muh k-beth, mak-] /məkˈbɛθ, mæk-/
died 1057, king of Scotland 1040–57.
(italics) a tragedy (1606?) by Shakespeare. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for Macbeth
  • Even though it is banquo who first challenges them, they address Macbeth.
  • Many scholars see banquo as a foil and a contrast to Macbeth.
British Dictionary definitions for Macbeth


/məkˈbɛθ; mæk-/
died 1057, king of Scotland (1040–57): succeeded Duncan, whom he killed in battle; defeated and killed by Duncan's son Malcolm III
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 Macbeth
Gaelic, lit. "son of life," an old personal name. The first ref. to bad luck associated with Shakespeare's "Macbeth," and to avoidance of naming it, is from 1910 and alludes to "old" actors, so presumably it was current late 19c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Macbeth in Culture

Macbeth definition

A tragedy by William Shakespeare, in which the Scottish nobleman Macbeth, misled by the prophecy of three witches and goaded on by his wife, murders the king and usurps the throne. Well-known lines from the play include “Lay on, Macduff” and “Out, damned spot!

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for Macbeth

king of Scots from 1040, the legend of whose life was the basis of Shakespeare's Macbeth. He was probably a grandson of King Kenneth II (reigned 971-995), and he married Gruoch, a descendant of King Kenneth III (reigned 997-1005). About 1031 Macbeth succeeded his father, Findlaech (Sinel in Shakespeare), as mormaer, or chief, in the province of Moray, in northern Scotland. Macbeth established himself on the throne after killing his cousin King Duncan I in battle near Elgin-not, as in Shakespeare, by murdering Duncan in bed-on August 14, 1040. Both Duncan and Macbeth derived their rights to the crown through their mothers.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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