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From Middle English umbesetten (to surround), from Old English ymbsettan (to set around, surround, beset, encompass), from Proto-Germanic *umbi (around) + *satjaną (to set); equivalent to um- +‎ beset or umbe- +‎ set. Compare also Old English ymbsittan (to sit around, surround), Dutch omzetten (to convert, transpose), German umsetzen (to convert, transpose, translate). More at umbe, set.


umbeset (third-person singular simple present umbesets, present participle umbesetting, simple past umbeset, past participle umbeset or umbesetten)

  1. (obsolete or dialectal, chiefly Scotland) To block, obstruct; act detrimentally toward.
    • 1828, John Spalding, The history of the troubles and memorable transactions in Scotland:
      The Lord Gordon ships with some friends. Monro umbesets his way; yet he escapes, ignorant of Monro's devyse.
    • 1891, William Robertson, Historic Ayrshire[1], volume 1, page 9:
      [] to underly the law at the lext Justice-aire of Renfrew, for umbesetting the high-way, by way of Murder;
    • 1922, J. Maitland Thomson, The Public Records of Scotland, Maclehose, Jackson and co., page 48:
      [] , and pressing to have bereft them of their lives by umbesetting of the high gates to that effect at divers times of before, []
    • 1972 (originally 1901), William Baird, General Wauchope, Books for Libraries Press, page 16:
      [] that king on one occasion, April 1535, having to grant a letter of protection in favour of him ‘and his wife and bairns’ against Sir Patrick Hepburn of Wauchtonne and thirty-four others for ‘umbesetting the highway for his slaughter.’
  2. (obsolete or dialectal, chiefly Scotland) To overwhelm; cover completely.
    • 1885, John Humberger, The Conquest and Triumph of Divine Wisdom and Love in Predestination, J. L. Traiger, unmarked page:
      The Opponents Umbeset with Trickery.
    • 1952, Walter Milton, The Goad of Love, Faber & Faber, page 201:
      But soothly, of sithes the more I am umbeset with anguish of heart, and destitute of all men’s comfort, the more favourable and godly I find her to me.
    • 1971, Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love, CCEL, page 164:
      Certainly a good soul umbeset with many diseases, and noyed with the heat of temptation, can not feel the sweetness of God’s love as it is in itself;

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