Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

beat - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb beat pronunciation in British English /biːt/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlebeating
past tensebeat
past participlebeaten
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [transitive] to defeat someone in a game, competition, election, or battle

    England needed to beat Germany to get to the final.

    In 2000, George W Bush narrowly beat Al Gore in the election.

    1. a.
      to do something faster, for longer, more times etc than has been done before

      She beat the world record by 0.3 of a second.

      I’ll be happy if I beat my previous score.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to arrive before someone else
    beat someone to/back/up etc:

    See if you can beat me back to the house!

    1. a.
      to do something before a planned time or before something happens
      beat the deadline/clock:

      He was always trying to beat the clock and finish early.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to hit someone violently several times

    They were arrested for beating their children.

    Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    [transitive] to hit something several times making a regular pattern of sounds, or to make this pattern of sounds

    Someone was beating a drum in the distance.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [transitive] to hit an object or part of the body with your hands

      I beat my hands on the wall with rage.

      He suddenly beat the table with his fist.

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] if a bird or insect beats its wings, or if its wings beat, it hits them together several times
      Synonyms and related words
      Synonyms and related words
    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] to hit something many times or for a long period of time
      beat against/on/at:

      The rain was beating against the windows with renewed force.

      Synonyms and related words
    4. d.
      [transitive] to hit a piece of metal with a special hammer in order to make it thinner
  5. 5
    [intransitive] if someone’s heart beats, it makes the same sound and movements again and again as it pumps blood around their body

    The shock had made my heart beat faster.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to mix foods such as eggs, cream, or butter well using a fork or a special tool or machine. This tool or machine can be called a beater.
  7. 7
    [transitive] informal to be better than something else

    For me, surfing the Net beats watching TV any time.

    1. a.

      you can’t beat something


      something can’t be beat

      used for saying that something is very good

      You can’t beat a good book.

  8. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    beat somebody to market to launch a product earlier than anyone else and thus get a competitive edge

    Obviously, Apple would be upset by any announcement that some company was going to beat them to market.

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 16/12/2014


to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play