Open main menu



From Middle English bethenken, bithenchen (to think about, consider) from Old English beþenċan, biþenċan (to think upon, remind, consider, remember), from Proto-Germanic *biþankijaną; equivalent to be- +‎ think. Akin to Old High German pidenchan (to bethink) (German bedenken (to bethink)), Gothic 𐌱𐌹𐌸𐌰𐌲𐌺𐌾𐌰𐌽 (biþagkjan), Dutch bedenken (to bethink).



bethink (third-person singular simple present bethinks, present participle bethinking, simple past and past participle bethought)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To think about, to recollect.
  2. (reflexive) To think of (something or somebody) or that (followed by clause); to remind oneself, to consider, to reflect upon.
    • c. 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act I scene iii[1]:
      Bassanio: Be assured you may.
      Shylock: I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 566:
      One day, among the days, he bethought him of this and fell lamenting for that the most part of his existence was past and he had not been vouchsafed a son, to inherit the kingdom after him, even as he had inherited it from his fathers and forebears; by reason whereof there betided him sore cark and care and chagrin exceeding.
    • 1924, EM Forster, A Passage to India, Penguin 2005, p. 11:
      Having censured the circumcision, she bethought her of kindred topics, and asked Aziz when he was going to be married.
    • 2010, Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22, Atlantic 2011, p. 49:
      However, and just before I was due to take the entrance exam at the age of thirteen, my mother bethought herself that it might be worth taking a look at the place where I was due to be conscripted for the next five formative years.
  3. (intransitive) To meditate, ponder; to consider.
  4. To determine, resolve.


Derived termsEdit