Definition of “beat” - English Dictionary

“beat” in English

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uk /biːt/ us /biːt/ beat, beaten or US also beat

beat verb (DEFEAT)

B1 [ T ] to defeat or do better than:

Simon always beats me at tennis.
Holland beat Belgium (by) 3–1.
The Miami Heat beat the Pacers 95-90/by five points.
Our team was comfortably/easily/soundly beaten in the first round of the competition.
The Nationalists were narrowly beaten in the election.
He beat me fair and square (= without cheating).
They were beaten hands down (= completely) by their opponents.
She has beaten her own record of three minutes ten seconds.

B2 informal to be better or more enjoyable than another activity or experience:

[ + -ing verb ] Taking the bus sure beats walking.
slang Taking the bus beats the hell out of (= is much better than) walking all the way there.
You can't beat (= there is nothing more enjoyable than) a cold beer on a hot afternoon.

[ T ] To beat something that is going to happen is to take action before the thing happens:

Let's try to beat the traffic by leaving early in the morning.
I always do my shopping early to beat the rush.
beat sb to it

to do something before someone else does it:

I was just going to clean the kitchen, but you beat me to it.

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beat verb (HIT)

B2 [ I or T, usually + adv/prep ] to hit repeatedly:

They saw him beating his dog with a stick.
The child had been brutally/savagely beaten.
She was beaten to death.
[ + obj + adj ] He was beaten senseless.
Beat the drum.
The rain was beating down incessantly on the tin roof.
beat a path through sth

to form a path in an area where long grass or bushes grow closely together, by hitting the plants with your hands or an object, or by stepping on them:

We beat a path through the undergrowth.

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beat verb (MIX)

C1 to mix something repeatedly using a utensil such as a spoon or whisk:

To make an omelette you first beat the eggs.

beat verb (MOVEMENT)

B1 [ I or T ] to (cause to) make a regular movement or sound:

The doctor could feel no pulse beating.
Her heart started to beat faster.
beat time

to make a regular sound or movement to music

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beatadjective [ after verb ]

uk /biːt/ us /biːt/ informal

extremely tired:

I'm beat - I'm going to bed.
You've been working too hard, you look dead beat.
See also


uk /biːt/ us /biːt/

beat noun (MOVEMENT)

B2 [ C or U ] a regular movement or sound, especially that made by your heart:

I put my head on his chest but I could feel no heartbeat.
My heart skipped a beat (= I felt very excited) when she said, "Yes, I'll marry you".

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(Definition of “beat” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“beat” in American English

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us /bit/

beat verb (DEFEAT)

[ T ] past tense beat, past participle beaten /ˈbi·tən/ beat to defeat a competitor, or to do or be better than someone or something:

In football, the Giants beat the 49ers, 17-3.
Most people think that the governor will beat his opponent.
The room wasn’t much, but it beat driving to a hotel 20 miles away.

[ T ] past tense beat, past participle beaten /ˈbi·tən/ beat To beat something that is going to happen is to take action that will prevent it from having an effect on you:

I leave work early to beat the traffic.

beat verb (HIT)

[ I/T ] past tense beat, past participle beaten /ˈbit·ən/ beat to hit repeatedly:

[ T ] He looked as if he’d been beaten.
[ I ] The children were beating on the table.

beat verb (MIX)

[ T ] past tense beat, past participle beaten /ˈbit·ən/ beat to mix food with a fast circular motion:

[ M ] Beat in the egg yolks.

beat verb (RHYTHM)

[ I/T ] past tense beat, past participle beaten /ˈbit·ən/ beat to make a rhythmic sound or movement, or to hit something in rhythm to make such a sound:

[ I ] I was so nervous I could feel my heart beating.
[ T ] He steadily beat the drum.
[ I ] Without calcium, your heart could not beat correctly.

beat noun [ C usually sing ] (AREA)

an area for which someone, esp. a police officer, has responsibility as part of the job:

People are comforted to see cops on the beat.

beat noun [ C usually sing ] (RHYTHM)

music the rhythmic sound in music that repeats regularly:

We clapped in time to the beat.


us /bit/ infml

beat adjective (TIRED)

extremely tired:

I’m beat – I’m going to bed.

(Definition of “beat” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“beat” in Business English

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beatverb [ T ]

uk /biːt/ us beat, beaten, US also beat

to do better than someone or something:

Yesterday's close beat the record set Feb. 1.
With their lowest price guarantee, they will beat the price of a competitor's product by 10%.
beat estimates/expectations/forecasts Declines in shares of the world's biggest chip maker halted when the company beat expectations for profits.
They are selling the software packages at prices that are hard to beat.
beat the competition

to be more successful than other people or companies that you are competing against:

The way to beat the competition is to recruit and retain talented staff.
beat a path to sb's door

to be eager to buy or get something from someone:

By making furniture distinguished in design and workmanship, it has persuaded buyers to beat a path to its door.
beat a (hasty) retreat

to decide not to continue with something that has become too difficult or not worth doing:

Most of the market beat a hasty retreat, investors being unimpressed by a volatile performance on Wall Street.
beat a retreat from sth The prime minister's cabinet continues to beat a retreat from many economic reforms.
beat sb at their own game

informal to use the methods by which someone has tried to defeat you to your own advantage:

By buying two competitors who tried to beat him at his own game, he created the three networks he now owns.
beat sb to it

to achieve something before someone else does it:

We got very close to buying the franchise last year before another company beat us to it.
beat the odds

to succeed despite having a disadvantage:

Many mergers fail to deliver value to shareholders, but the bank's new president thinks it will be able to beat the odds.
if you can't beat 'em, join 'em also if you can't beat them, join them informal

said when you accept that you cannot be as successful as someone else without doing what they do:

If you can't beat them, join them. Beginning in February the domestic distributor will become the exclusive U.S. importer for the popular foreign brands.
take some beating

to do something so well that it is difficult for anyone else to do better:

The automaker has delivered an impressive hatchback car that will take some beating.

(Definition of “beat” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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We must beat fate.
Even up to today some parts of our cooperation have had to beat a retreat faced with the supremacy of other strong interests.
You beat me by two years.
The object of this must not be to beat our competitors at any cost, and we must not allow this to shape our thinking.
The number-one condition is to be able to cover distances of 300-400 kilometres, which is the distance over which they can beat competition from other modes.
Do we really have equal standards - at least minimum standards - of hygiene, which enable us to fight disease and beat it?
They will not work because you cannot beat the law of supply and demand which operates in labour markets like elsewhere.
In the fight to beat this disease it is crucial for anybody who believes they have the symptoms and have travelled in the affected areas to consult their doctor.