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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Bete, Beit, v.2 Also: bevt, biet, bet, bett(e, baet, bait(e; p.t. bet, bett; p.p. betin, beatin, beatne, baitin(e, baitten; bet, bett, bait (ybete, bettit). [ME. beete, bete, early ME. beaten, OE. béatan.]

1. tr. Of persons: To strike or beat (another or self). 1375 Barb. xiii. 158.
Ther wes … so gret A noyis, as thai can other bet
a1400 Leg. S. xii. 110.
Thus … the quene gert hym bet
Ib. xxi. 936.
With hyre nefis hyre-self betand
c1450-2 Howlat 829.
Lyking thai had That the barde was so bet
c1475 Wall. v. 384.
So bett I am with strakis sad and sar
1513 Doug. vi. ix. 83.
With quhip in hand … Thame to assail, to tor, skurge, and bete
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 152.
He beit him with his birneist brand
15.. Clar. iii. 575.
The pepill … Beitting thair breistis
1567 G. Ball. 153.
I was betin lang, With scurgis scharp and strang
1657 Balfour Ann. III. 412.
The ȝouthe was sentenced to be publickly bettit
1679 Urie Baron Ct. 95.
They bothe straike and bett ilke ane another
1681 Laing MSS. I. 424.
Wifes … did bait and bruse the Kings souldiers
fig. c1475 Wall. x. 596.
Rabut me now no mar; Myn awin dedis has bet me wondyr sar

b. To overcome. defeat. 1625 Garden Kings 24.
Whereby he bett and thame o'resett so sore
Id. Worthies 170.
Who bett in battell that brave English King
c1650 Spalding II. 258.
That Generall King had bet all the Northampton forces
c1646 Craufurd Hist. Univ. Edinb. 19.
The three Universities … did bet their interprise

2. In general use: To beat or strike; to come upon with impact or force. c1420 Wynt. i. 252.
To wyrk mettalle, … To yhet, or bete, or grawe thairin
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1821.
The lint ryipit, the carll … with ane betill knokkit it and bet
1513 Doug. xiii. iii. 21.
Lyke as quhen that the fomy bair hes bet … Ane of the rowt
a1570-86 J. Maitland M. Fol. clxxvii. 96.
Nor bett the bus that vthairis eattis the bereis
1648 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 142.
[The council] ordaines ane bank to be baitine throw the town, be touk of drume
1650 Ib. 189.
That ane bank be bait

b. In p.p. Overlaid by hammering. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 317.
Bordouris about, that bricht war of ble, Betin with brint gold

3. To knock, force, or drive with blows. With advs. and preps. as bak, doun, off, to erd, etc.(a) a1500 Henr. Fab. 1867.
To se that … boucheour bet thay birdis doun
1513 Doug. ii. viii. 104.
The fomy ryver … The dykis and the schoris bettis doun
Ib. v. xiii. 106.
Law fra the grond al Troy forto down bet
1562-3 Winȝet II. 21/31.
Quhomesoeuir it pleisit … to bete doun to the ground
c1590 J. Stewart 206 § 26.
Force of his fois than stoutlie to baet doune
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 8.
The folk to bett them about the kirk in exempill of wtheris
1682 Melrose R. Rec. III. 3.
To keep off and baite them from the said door with his staffe
(b) 1513 Doug. iii. i. 5.
Prowd Ilion was brokyn and bet down
Ib. x. vii. 166.
Down bettyn war the barnage of Archadys
1531 Bell. Boece I. 157.
Thay fand the brig bet down
1533 Boece iv. i. 125.
Corbrede … reparellit fortalicis bett to erd afore
a1568 Scott ii. 27.
To debait, or be doun bett
1573 J. Davidson Sat. P. xlii. 523.
Him self till Hell their beatin doun
1628 Soc. Ant. XXVIII. 443.
I wes baitin back again be storme to the said herbrie
1682 Melrose R. Rec. III. 4.
Haveing baitten him twysse off with his staffe

4. To deliver (a blow). c1475 Wall. ix. 510.
Thai … Sad strakis and sayr bauldly about thaim bet

5. intr. To deliver blows. a1500 Henr. Fab. 481.
Scho … vpon hir breist can beit
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 626.
Athir barne braithly bet with ane bright brand
Ib. 687.
Thai bet on sa bryimly
1535 Stewart 35630.
With brandis brycht ilkane on vther bet
15.. Christis K. 194.
Thai forsy freikis … Bet on with barow trammis
15.. Clar. i. 72.
Thay bet on utheris birnies cruellie

b. To strike or dash with force; to impinge. 1513 Doug. iii. viii. 97.
On the rolkis hie We hard the jawpys bete
Ib. vii. xii. 114.
Quharon the sonnys blenkis betis cleir
a1570-86 Schaw Maitl. F. cxlvi. 2.
Suppois fortoun on ȝow schynis and betis

c. To throb or pulsate. 1513 Doug. iii. vi. 194.
Beseik hir or thou wend, thocht thine hart betis

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"Bete v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Mar 2024 <>



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