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From Middle English bidriven, from Old English bedrīfan (to drive; beat; strike; assail; follow up; pursue; surround; cover), equivalent to be- +‎ drive. Cognate with Dutch bedrijven (to commit, perpetrate), German betreiben (to operate, conduct, pursue), Swedish bedriva (to manage, carry on, prosecute).


bedrive (third-person singular simple present bedrives, present participle bedriving, simple past bedrove, past participle bedriven)

  1. (transitive) To drive or toss about; drive out, off, back, or away; defeat.
    • 1852, Alfred (King of England), The whole works of King Alfred the Great:
      But when every human help ceased, that they might trust more to divine help, they then first began to fight against their foes, who for many years before harried and plundered on them, and they then made a great slaughter among them, and bedrove them home, and had a victory.
  2. (transitive) To effect; do; commit; perpetrate; experience.
    • 1889, Henry Morley, Early prose romances:
      And every man that standeth here would well bethink him what he hath done and bedriven in his days, he should the better have patience and pity on Reynart.

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