• WordNet 3.6
    • v beset assail or attack on all sides: "The zebra was beset by leopards"
    • v beset decorate or cover lavishly (as with gems)
    • v beset annoy continually or chronically "He is known to harry his staff when he is overworked","This man harasses his female co-workers"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Beset To hem in; to waylay; to surround; to besiege; to blockade. "Beset with foes.""Let thy troops beset our gates."
    • Beset To occupy; to employ; to use up.
    • Beset To set or stud (anything) with ornaments or prominent objects. "A robe of azure beset with drops of gold.""The garden is so beset with all manner of sweet shrubs that it perfumes the air."
    • Beset To set upon on all sides; to perplex; to harass; -- said of dangers, obstacles, etc. "Adam, sore beset , replied.""Beset with ills.""Incommodities which beset old age."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • beset To set or place.
    • beset To set or place upon; distribute over; bestud; besprinkle: now only in the perfect participle.
    • beset To come upon or against; set upon in attack, or so as to perplex, endanger, or hem in; press upon severely, vigorously, or from all sides: as, to beset one with blows or with entreaties.
    • beset To employ; spend; use up.
    • beset To become; suit; look well on.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Beset be-set′ to surround or set round with anything (now only in pa.p.): to surround with hostile intentions, to besiege: to occupy so as to allow none to go out or in: to assail, perplex, endanger, as by temptations, obstacles, &c.
    • pr.p Beset beset′ting; pa.t. and pa.p. beset′
    • ***


  • Thomas Jefferson
    “The art of life is the art of avoiding pain; and he is the best pilot, who steers clearest of the rocks and shoals with which it is beset.”
  • James F. Cooper
    “It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny.”
  • Samuel Butler
    “Work with some men is as besetting a sin as idleness.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. besettan,akin to OHG. bisazjan, G. besetzen, D. bezetten,); pref. be-, + settan, to set. See Set


In literature:

Horrible visions of being put in the pulpit already beset me.
"The Letters of Charles Dickens" by Charles Dickens
The apprehension that quickly beset him rose from the knowledge that Sir Graham was in danger so long as he was in the Island.
"Tongues of Conscience" by Robert Smythe Hichens
To besiege, to invest or beset with an armed force.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
Their soldiers, however, beset its wooden houses.
"The Two Great Retreats of History" by George Grote
Neither was this the worst of the evils that beset the Saxon prince.
"Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 3 of 8" by Various
You will be beset as you never were before.
"The Making of Bobby Burnit" by George Randolph Chester
A most gracious country, and because of its fairness, most fearfully beset.
"A Virginia Scout" by Hugh Pendexter
Laden with treasure and spices, the ships were about to start for home, when fearful storms beset them.
"Famous Privateersmen and Adventurers of the Sea" by Charles H. L. Johnston
I will not deny that trepidation beset me.
"Fibble, D. D." by Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
Even in Porto Cabello, at one time or another, every one was beset by spies.
"The White Mice" by Richard Harding Davis

In poetry:

Earnest toil and strong endeavor
Of a spirit which within
Wrestles with familiar evil
And besetting sin;
"To ------," by John Greenleaf Whittier
Where is now that threat,
So cowardly—so mean—
Wherewith this lady they beset—
Our persecuted Queen.
"The Queen's Triumph" by Samuel Bamford
Fresh from the greatest victory
That mortal man can win
The triumph against fearful odds.
Over besetting sin
"Death Of D'Arcy McGee" by Nora Pembroke
The road that leads to Jericho,
By thieves is still beset,
For Kaiser Bill, the highwayman,
Is there already yet.
"The Modern Good Samaritan" by Abner Cosens
'Twas thus a widow poor,
Without support or friend,
Beset the unjust judge's door,
And gained, at last, her end.
"The Importunate Widow" by John Newton
There is a greater army,
That besets us round with strife,
A starving, numberless army,
At all the gates of life.
"The Challenge. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The Third)" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In news:

While the economy seems healthy, with no sharp rise in inflation and good prospects for continued growth, the financial markets are beset with doubts and worries.
A n activist says nine people have died in an attack on a Christian village in central Nigeria, a region beset by religious and ethnic tensions.
JOS, Nigeria – An activist says nine people have died in an attack on a Christian village in central Nigeria, a region beset by religious and ethnic tensions.
An activist says nine people have died in an attack on a Christian village in central Nigeria, a region beset by religious and ethnic tensions.
Fires, Dying Grain Beset Russia.
The World Health Organization is beset by unusual political conflict and anxiety as it prepares for a traumatic change in leadership.
The University of Central Arkansas, beset by a series of scandals since 2008, plans to install a fraud hot line that employees and others can use to call in anonymous tips.
Complications beset 'posthumous conception ' case.
Beset by Low Expectations, DC Schools Chief Looks for New Breed of Educators.
Snohomish county town beset by financial woes, lawsuits.
A terrific deadpan chronicle of father and son Talmudic scholars beset by an escalating bureaucratic screw-up, Joseph Cedar's.
School district beset with problems at start of year.
The Jubilee and Olympics brought only temporary calm to the storms that beset adland, from the eurozone crisis to the UK double-dip, lower client spend to agency collapses.
) A series of terrifying events besets a best-selling novelist four years after his wife's sudden death.
Ruling and opposition parties beset by sharp differences as they hold competing rallies.

In science:

II, so that the definitive determination of its subdominant terms by numerical (or other analytical procedures) is a problem for future work which will surely be beset by with the technical difficulties associated with the identification of these faint subdominant terms .
I. Territory covered by N random walkers on deterministic fractals. The Sierpinski gasket
The advent of symbolic manipulation codes [9, 10] has allowed the tedium to be transferred to the computer and freed the brain of the operator for thinking. A similar problem of computation besets the calculation of the Jacobi Last Multiplier.
Lagrangians Galore
From this point of view, our intention has also been to introduce the Hamiltonian-Ostrogradski approach as a geometrical powerful method to beset this sort of systems.
Ostrogradski approach for the Regge-Teitelboim type cosmology
While the arguments above carry some strength and reflect the conventional wisdom on the topic, we will argue that we must look deeper in order to discover the key problems that beset hardware compilation, and to find ways to address them.
Function Interface Models for Hardware Compilation: Types, Signatures, Protocols
If the basic Enlightenment idea had been properly developed in this way, in the 18th and 19th centuries, we might have learned how to avoid some of the horrors of the 20th century, and some of the crises that now beset us, partly as a result of the pursuit of SE science.
Do We Need a Scientific Revolution?