be- +‎ set



beset (third-person singular simple present besets, present participle besetting, simple past and past participle beset)

  1. (transitive) To surround or hem in.
  2. (transitive) To attack, especially from all sides.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      “Nay, for matter o’ that, he never doth any mischief,” said the woman; “but to be sure it is necessary he should keep some arms for his own safety; for his house hath been beset more than once; and it is not many nights ago that we thought we heard thieves about it []
  3. (transitive) To decorate something with jewels etc.
  4. (nautical) Of a ship, to get trapped by ice.


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