From the second edition (1989):
be- prefix
:—OE. be-, weak or stressless form of the prep. and adv. (bi), by. The original Teut. form was, as in Gothic, bi, with short vowel, prob. cognate with second syllable of Gr. ἀµϕί, L. ambi; in OHG. and early OE., when it had the stress, as a separate word, and in composition with a noun, it was lengthened to (, ), while the stressless form, in composition with a vb. or indeclinable word, remained bi-; in later OE., as in MHG. and mod.G., the latter was obscured to be- (also occasional in OE. as an unaccented form of the preposition): cf. OE. bí-gęng practice, bi-gangan, be-gangan, to practise. In early ME. the etymological bi-, by- regularly reappeared in comp. as the stressless form; but in later times be- was finally restored. (On the other hand, be was used by northern writers as the separate prep., as still in mod.Sc.) In modern use, the unaccented prefix is always be-; the accented form by- (sometimes spelt bye-) occurs in one or two words descended from OE., as ˈby-law, ˈby-word (OE. bí-lae, bí-word), and in modern formations on the adv., as ˈby-gone, ˈby-name, ˈby-play, ˈby-road, ˈby-stander.


The original meaning was ‘about.’ In prepositions and adverbs this is weakened into a general expression of position at or near, as in before (at, near, or towards the front), behind, below, beneath, benorth, besouth, between, beyond. With verbs, various senses of ‘about’ are often distinctly retained, as in be-bind, be-come (= come about), be-delve, be-gird, be-set, be-stir. In such as be-daub, be-spatter, be-stir, be-strew, the notion of ‘all about, all round, over,’ or ‘throughout,’ naturally intensifies the sense of the verb; whence, be- comes to be more or less a simple intensive, as in be-muddle, be-crowd, be-grudge, be-break, or specializes or renders figurative, as in befall (to fall as an accident), be-come, be-get, be-gin, be-have, be-hold, be-lieve. In other words the force of be- passes over to an object, and renders an intransitive verb transitive, as in be-speak (speak about, for, or to), be-flow (flow about), be-lie, be-moan, be-think, be-wail. Hence it is used to form transitive vbs. on adjectives and substantives, as in dim be-dim, fool be-fool, madam be-madam; also others, in which the n. stands in an instrumental or other oblique relation, as be-night ‘to overtake with night,’ be-guile, be-witch. Of these a special section consists of verbs having a privative force, as OE. belandian, behéafdian, to deprive of one's land, one's head: cf. bereave, and OE. benim-an to take away. Finally, be- is prefixed with a force combining some of the preceding, to ppl. adjs., as in be-jewelled, be-daughtered.


Be- being still in some of its senses (esp. 2, 6, 7 below) a living element, capable of being prefixed wherever the sense requires it, the derivatives into which it enters are practically unlimited in number. The more important, including those that are in any way specialized, or that require separate explanation, are treated in their alphabetical places as Main Words. (In the case of ME. words in bi-, by-, all that survived long enough to have be- appear under this spelling; a few that became obsolete at an early date are left under their only extant form in bi-, by-.) Those of less importance, infrequent (often single) occurrence, and obvious composition, are arranged under the following groups (in which, however, the senses tend to overlap each other, so as to make the place of some of the words ambiguous):—


1. Forming derivative verbs, with sense of ‘around’: a. all round externally, on all sides, all over the surface, as in beset, besmear; b. from side to side (within a space), to and fro, in all directions, in all ways, in or through all its parts, thoroughly, as in bestir, bejumble. (Some of these formations appear only in the pa. pple.)


bebang, to bang about; †bebass, to kiss all over, cover with kisses; bebaste (with a cudgel, or with gravy); †bebat, to becudgel; bebatter, bebite; beblear, to blear all over; beblotch, †beboss, bebotch, bebrush; †becense, to perfuse with incense; bechase, to chase about; becircle; beclart dial., to be dirty; beclasp; becompass, to compass about; becramp; †becrampoun, to set (a jewel); becrimson, becrust; †becurry, to curry one's hide, belabour; becurse, to cover with curses; becut, bedamn, bedamp, bediaper; †bedowse, to souse with water; bedrape, bedrift, bedrive, be-embroider, befan; befinger, to finger all over; befleck, to cover with flecks; befreckle, befriz; †befrounce, to frounce or toss about, touzle; †begarnish, begash, begaud, begirdle; †behale, to drag about; behammer, †behem; †behorewe, to befoul; bejig, to jig about; bejumble, †beknit (OE. becnyttan), belave, belick, bemingle, bemix, bepaste; bepaw, to befoul as with paws; bepen, to pen in; bepommel; †bepounce, to stud; beprank, to prank out or over; bepuddle (e.g. a spring); bepurple; †bequirtle, to besprinkle; berake, to rake all over; †beroll, to roll over; †beround, bescour, beseam, beshackle, †beshield, beshroud; †beslab, to beplaster; beslash, †beslur; beslurry, to sully all over; besmother, besmudge (†besmouche); †besow (OE. besáwan), to sow about; †besperple, to bespatter; bespin, to spin round, so as to cover; bespirt; †besquatter, to bespatter with filth; bestamp, †bestroke, †beswitch, betinge, †beturn, beveil, †bewallow (OE. bewalwian), bewash, bewater, bewhiten, bewreath. Also bebar, bedelve, etc., q.v.

1599 Porter Angry Wom. Abingd. (1841) 50 Sheele‥*be~bang him with drie bobs and scoffes. 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis i. (Arb.) 40 Queene Dido shal smacklye *bebasse thee. Ibid. iii. (Arb.) 79 With larding smearye *bebasted. 1620 Rowlands Nt. Raven 29 Tom with his cudgell well *bebasts his bones. 1565 J. Calfhill Answ. Treat. Crosse (1846) 133 To be all to- *bebatted and afterward to be beheaded. 1565 Golding Ovid's Met. v. (1593) 106 All *be~battred was his head. 1880 Webb tr. Goethe's Faust ii. v. 130 Each, from queen to waiting-maid, is Be-devilled and *be-bit! 1609 R. Armin Ital. Taylor (1880) 196 Eyes *be~bleard with blindnesse. 1807 Southey Lett. (1856) I. 412 Down comes a proof‥*beblotched and bedeviled. 1576 Gascoigne Philomene (Arb.) 90 A snaffle Bit or brake, *Bebost with gold. 1605 Davies Humours Wks. (1876) 44 (D.) Petti-botching brokers all *bebotch. 1587 Turberv. Trag. T. (1837) 30 *Bebrusht with bryers her broosed body bled. 1591 G. Fletcher Russe Commw. (1836) 113 Having sprinckled and *besensed the good man and his wife. 1639 Ainsworth Annot. Song Sol. iii. 6 *Becensed with Myrrh. 1574 Hellowes Gueuara's Ep. (1577) 96 In this Courte, none runneth, but they go all *beechased. 1648 Earl Westmld. Otia Sacra (1879) 128 A grove of Pine *Becircled with Eglantine. 1607 Topsell Serpents 743 He *beclapseth it with his tail, and giveth it fearful blows. c1230 Wohunge in Cott. Hom. 279 Þat spatel þat swa *biclarted ti leor. 1864 Atkinson Whitby Gloss., *Beclarted, splashed or bemired. 1480 Caxton Chron. Eng. ii. (1520) 10b/1 An Yle‥called Albyon‥*becompassed al with the see. 1634 Malory Arthur (1816) II. 257 Him thought there came a man‥all *becompassed of stars. 1666 Fuller Hist. Camb. (1840) 107 Many whose hands are *becramped with laziness. 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis iv. (Arb.) 99 With‥pure gould neatly *becrampound. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. II. iii. vii. vi. 369 Why was the Earth‥*becrimsoned with dawn and twilight? 1883 Century Mag. XXVII. 47 The lofty hedge is *be~crimsoned with savage roses. a1834 Lamb tr. Bourne's Ball. Singers Wks. 633 Two Nymphs‥in mud behind, before, From heel to middle leg *becrusted o'er. 1598 R. Bernard tr. Terence's Andr. i. ii. (1629) 16/1, I will all to *becurry thee, or bethwacke thy coate. 1553–87 Foxe A. & M. (1596) 247/1 The legat‥all to *beecurssed the earle of Tholouse, his cities and his people. 1860 Reade Cloister & H. xlviii. (D.), I was never so *becursed in all my days. 1630 J. Taylor (Water P.) Trav. Twelve P. Wks. i. 67/2 Me all in pieces they *becut and quartir'd. 1863 Kinglake Crimea (1877) VI. vi. 278 This much *be-damned ‘Sixth of the Line.’ 1870 Hawthorne Eng. Note-Bks (1879) II. 328 A mist‥*be~damped me. 1648 Herrick Poems App. (1869) 457 (D.) Fields *bediaperd with flowers, Presente their shappes. 1576 Gosson Spec. Hum. ii, A bruised barke with billowes all *bedowst. 1865 Swinburne Dolores 49 We shift and bedeck and *bedrape us. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. (1872) III. iii. iii. 109 Poor Orléans‥foolishly *bedrifted hither and thither. 1614 Rich Honest. Age (1844) 26 Some women goe‥to the church‥so be-laced and so *bee-imbrodered. 1674 N. Fairfax Bulk & Selv. Ep. Ded., *Befann'd from next Dogs~day scorchings. 1821 Southey Lett. (1856) III. 233 The dirty and *befingered leaves. 1567 Turberv. Ovid's Epist. 135b, Why blush you? and why with vermilion taint *Beflecke your cheekes? 1610 G. Fletcher Christ's Vict. ii. vii, A grassie hillock‥With woodie primroses *befreckell'd. 1772 Songs Costume (1849) 249 *Be-friz it, and paste it, and cut it, and curl it. 1581 J. Studley Seneca's Herc. Œtæus 214b, All her hayre *befrounced, rent and torne. 1647 R. Stapylton Juvenal 70 What sparagus *begarnishes the dish. 1555 Fardle Facions ii. ix. 196 [They] all to *begasshe his fore~heade and his nose. 1580 North Plutarch (1676) 127 Be~gawded with Chains of Gold and Iewells. 1843 Carlyle Past & Pr. 75 Stately masonries‥*begirdle it far and wide. 1574 Hellowes Gueuara Ep. (1584) 310 Also *bee~haileth her by the lockes. 1639 Ainsworth Annot. Pentat. 144 The Hebrew word signifieth stricken‥*behammered. 1598 Sylvester Job Triumph. i. 688 (D.) Armies of pains‥mee round *behem. 1340 Ayenb. 237 Þe hand þet is uoul and *behorewed. 1821 Combe (Dr. Syntax) Wife v. (D.) When they *bejigg'd it 'neath the steeple. 1565 Golding Ovid. Met. iv. (R.) Her filthy arms *beknit with snakes about. 1598 Sylvester Du Bartas ii. iii. (1641) 174/1 Me in Thy Bloud *be-lave. Ibid. (1608) 1002 The happy plains great Phasis streams *belave. 1559 Mirr. Mag. 106 (T.) All his gore *bemingled with this glew. Ibid., Dk. Clarence xliii, *Bemixt my swete with bitternes to bad. 1565 Golding Ovid's Met. iv. (1593) 102 Waves of water‥*Bemixed with the purple bloud. 1684 Otway Atheist Epil., While Rotten Eggs *bepaw the Scarlet Gown. c1230 Ancr. R. 94 Heo beoð her so *bipenned. 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis i. (Arb.) 32 Thee beams with brazed copper were costlye *bepounced. 1648 Herrick Hesper. (1844) I. 159 A sheep-hook I will send *Beprank'd with ribands. 1642 Jer. Taylor Episc. (1647) 98 While their tradition was cleare‥and not so *bepudled‥with the mixture of Hereticks. 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis i. (Arb.) 37 His sight was yoouthlye *bepurpled. 1771 Muse in Miniature 115 Mossy banks and flower-*bepurpled plains. 1690 Songs Costume (1849) 193 Whole quarts the chamber to *bequirtle. 1685 R. Burton Eng. Emp. Amer. ii. 51 Their Guns, with which they so *beraked her from side to side. c1325 E.E. Allit. P. B. 959 Al *birolled wyth þe rayn, rostted & brenned. 1642 Bridge Serm. Norf. Volunteers 9 Are we not *berounded with many enemies? 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. II. iii. v. iv. 304 France too is *bescoured with a Devil's Pack. 1839 Blackw. Mag. XLV. 301 Blue tops‥All *beseamed with snow-streaks hoar. 1599 Nashe Lent. Stuffe 50 Who this king should bee, *beshackled theyr wits. 1848 H. Miller First Impressions of Eng. xi. (1857) 172 Venerable dwellings, much *beshrouded in ivy and honeysuckle. 1481 Caxton Reynard (1844) 138 They were *byslabbed and byclagged to their eres to in her owen donge. 1581 T. Newton Seneca's Thebais 44b, To die this death: or in one part to be *beslashed through. 1635 tr. Camden's Hist. Eliz. iii. (1688) 291 To *beslurr their Writings with this so impudent a Lie. c1614 Drayton Crt. Fairy Wks. (1748) 164 All *be~slurried, head and face, On runs he in this wild-goose chase. 1598 Florio, Carbonare, to besmeare as black as coles, to *besmother. 1600 Hakluyt Voy. (1810) III. 508 Their faces‥all *besmouched with cole. c1175 Lamb. Hom. 107 Þa sunnan þe deouel *bisaweð on us. 1557 K. Arthur (W. Copland) vi. viii, The grounde‥was all *besperpled wyth blode. 1865 Carlyle Fredk. Gt. V. xiii. ix. 92 Was a Nation ever so *bespun by gossamer? 1885 Singleton Virgil I. 171 And on the cattle to *bespirt his bane. 1611 Cotgr., Enfoirir, to besquirt, *besquatter. 1652 Urquhart Jewel Wks. 1834. 256 *Besquatter them on all sides. 1857 Fraser's Mag. LVI. 742 That letter‥much *bestamped, much stained with travel‥is delivered to its owner at Lahore. 1548 Herrick Hesp. Wks. I. 157 *Bestroaking fate the while. 1821 Clare Vill. Minstr. I. 12 *Beting'd with glossy yellow. 1594 Carew Tasso (1881) 110 To their aduises the disdainefull hart, Of this audacious youth, *beturning plies. 1582 Stanyhurst Æneis ii. (Arb.) 55 With darcknesse mightye *beueyled. 1205 Lay. 25989 Al *biwaled [1250 biwalewed] on axen. 1589 Fleming Virg. Georg. iv. 69 She‥all *bewasht the burning Vesta‥with pure sweet wine. 1648 Herrick St. Distaff's Day, Hesp. (1859) 451 Let the maides *bewash the men. 1593 Barnes Parthen. in Arb. Garner V. 363 Why were these cheeks with tears *bewatered? 1812 Combe (Dr. Syntax) Picturesque xix. 71 The cot that's all *bewhiten'd o'er. 1598 Gorg. Gallery Invent., Louer weryed w. Life, About mishap that hast thy selfe *bewrethed. a1850 Beddoes Song on Water ii, Heart high-beating, triumph- *bewreathed.


2. Forming intensive verbs, with sense of ‘thoroughly (extension of 1), soundly, much, conspicuously, to excess, ridiculously.’ (Some of these occur only in the past participle.) †bebait, to bait or worry persistently; bebothered; †bebreech, to breech soundly; bebusied, †becheck; †becheke, to choke, stifle; bechill (? nonce-wd.); beclamour, becompliment, †becost, becovet, becrowd, becrush, becumber; †bedare, to defy; †bedrown; bedrowse, to make drowsy; bedrug, beduck; †bedunch, to strike against; †be-earn, be-elbow, †befavour, befilch; †beflap, to clap; beflout, beflustered, befraught; begall, to gall, fret, or rub sore; †beglose, to deceive; †begrain, to dye in the grain, colour permanently; †begreet, begut, behallow, †behelp; †behusband, to economize to the full; bekick, belade, †belash, belull; †bemar, to injure seriously; bemartyr, bemaze, †bemeet, bemuzzle, bepaid, beparch, beparody; †bepart, to divide, share; †bepiece, to piece up, patch up; †bepierce; †bepile, to pile up; †bepill, to pillage completely; bepoetize; †bepress, to oppress; †bepride; bequoted, quoted to excess; †beragged, †berinse; besanctify, to besaint; besauce, bescent, bescorch; †bescorn, to cover with scorn; †bescourge, bescrape, beshake; beshiver, to shiver to atoms; beshod, †beshower, beshrivel, †besinge (OE. besengan); beslap, to slap soundly; besnowball; †besob, to soak; besoothe; †bespend, to spend, waste; †besplit, besqueeze, †bestab, bestay, besteer; bestock, to stock thoroughly; bestore, †bestrip, besuit, besweeten, †betalk, †bethreaten, †betire; †betrace, to mark all over, to streak; †betwattle (dial.), to bewilder; bewasted, wasted away; beweary, bewelcome, bewidow, bewomanize; †bewound, to wound seriously; †bewreak, to revenge.

1599 Thynne Animadv. (1865) 61 This syllable [be] is sett before to make yt moore signyficant and of force; as‥for ‘dewed,’ ‘bedewed,’ etc.
1589 Almond for P. 40 It was not for nothing‥that he so *bebaited his betters. 1866 Harvard Memor. Biogr. I. 263 Seventy miles distant—a long way in this *bebothered state. 1617 Collins Def. Bp. Ely ii. x. 504 As if his wits were *be-breecht. 1603 Florio Montaigne iii. v. (1632) 490 They are not *bebusied about Rhetorike flowers. 1598 Sylvester Du Bartas ii. ii. (1641) 114/1 Brutish Cham‥In scornful tearms his Father thus *be~checkt. c1175 Cott. Hom. 239 His richtwise deme, þe non ne maie *bechece, non beswice. 1952 Auden Nones 54 The spreading ache *bechills the rampant glow Of fortune-hunting blood. 1832 Whately in Life (1866) I. 150 He whined and *beclamoured‥but all to no purpose. 1832 tr. Tour Germ. Prince IV. v. 195 The chief magistrate‥thought fit to *becompliment me by the mission of two of his colleagues. 1513 Douglas Æneis x. viii, 135 Na lytill thyng‥Hes hym *bycost the frendschip of Ene. 1883 Gd. Words 448 The begrudged, *becoveted good of half a lifetime. 1860 Trollope Framley P. I. xiv. 281 Barsetshire‥is a pleasant, green, tree-*becrowded county. 1607 Rowlands Fam. Hist. 37 Eskeldart Guy's sword did so *becrush. 1863 G. Kearley Links in Chain iv. 74 Snails, much despised, bekicked, and *becrushed. 1550 Coverdale Spir. Perle xxi. Wks. 1844 I. 151 Why should any man‥*becumber himself about that thing? 1599 Peele David & Beths. Wks. II. 74 The eagle‥emboldened‥to *bedare the sun. 1584 Hudson Judith in Sylvester Du Bartas (1608) 694 You Tyrant‥Who hath *bedround the world with blood. 1877 J. Hawthorne Garth. II. iv. xxxii. 31 Nor was it the lack of public recognition which had *bedrowsed him. 1874 Motley Barneveld II. xi. 19 England and France distracted and *bedrugged. 1596 Spenser F.Q. ii. vi. 42 To the flood he came‥And deepe himselfe *beducked in the same. 1567 Drant Horace' Ars Poet. Bvj, Daunce and *bedunche the grounde with fote. 1602 Warner Alb. Eng. x. liv. 244 Her owne *byearned lot. 1848 H. Miller First Impr. vii. (1857) 119 Sorely *be-elbowed and be-kneed. a1633 Munday Palm. of Eng. ii, One of her *befavoured knights. 1566 J. Studley Seneca's Agamemn. (1581) 155 Hercules‥left the groue *befilched cleane. 1388 Wyclif Lament. ii. 15 Alle men passynge bi the weie *biflappeden with hondis on thee. 1574 Hellowes Gueuara's Ep. (1577) 232 You had escaped from thence wounded, abhorred, *beeflowted. 1864 Morn. Star 25 June 4 Some panting, blushing, *beflustered honourable member. 1568 T. Howell New Sonn. (1879) 144 For thou in Barke so well *befraught, hast al our ioyes away. a1656 Bp. Hall Defiance to Snoy (R.) Pines‥*be~gald alone With the deep furrowes of the thunder-stone. 1393 Langl. P. Pl. C. xxi. 383 Þou‥*By-glosedest hem and [by]-gyledest hem and my gardyn breke. 1855 Singleton Virgil I. 204 With full hue of glassy green *Begrained. 1513 Douglas Æneis vi. vii. 63 With hartly luif *begrait hir thus in hy. 1648 Herrick Poems App. (1869) 433 (D.) Whose head beefrindged with *behallowed tresses Seemes like Apollo's. 1481 Caxton Myrr. iii. xii. 160 A grete philosophre‥whiche coude *byhelpe hym. 1640 A. Harsnet God's Summ. 388 Bee carefull then to *Be-Husband every moment of thy time. 1862 J. Brown in Illustr. Melbourne Post 26 July, Many generations of starved, *bekicked, and downtrodden forefathers. 1850 Blackie Æschylus I. 197 Friendly men receive The curse- *beladen wanderer. 1458 Paston Lett. 311 I. 422 *Belassch hym, tyl he wyll amend. 1631 R. Brathwait Whimzies 46 To dandle him in the lappe of securitie, and *belull him in his sensuall lethargie. c1400 Destr. Troy xxvi. 10701 Paris‥was pricket at his hert, To se his men so *be-mard, & murtherit. 1662 Fuller Worthies i. 2 He *bemartyreth such who as yet did survive. 1879 Howells L. Aroostook (1883) II. 174 Stanifrid stood *bemazed. 1656 S. H. Gold. Law 61 But now the Laicks are a Lay people‥till some Moses *be-meet with them. 1857 Carlyle Misc. iv. 86 (D.) The young lion's whelp has to grow up all bestrapped, *bemuzzled. 1838 Hawthorne Amer. Note Bks. (1871) I. 147 A *bepaid clergyman. 1586 Webbe Eng. Poetrie (1870) 77 Workmen‥with boyling heate so *be~parched. 1828 Blackw. Mag. XXIV. 591 It has been bespouted, bequoted, and *beparodied. 1531 Elyot Gov. (1580) 7 Hiero‥counsailed him to *beparte his importable labours. 1578 Florio 1st Fruites 50 A language confused, *bepeesed with many tongues. 1839 J. Darley in Beaum. & Fl. Wks. (1839) I. Introd. 31 Unlike him [i.e. Caesar] *bepierced and bescratched. a1726 Vanbrugh Journ. Lond. i. i, Bandboxes‥were so *bepiled up. 1574 Hellowes Gueuara's Ep. (1577) 232 You had escaped from thence wounded, abhorred, and also *beepilled. 1865 Morn. Star 20 Nov., The most *bepoetised case of crim. con. on record. 1591 in Farr S.P. (1845) I. 141 To rescue me *beprest I do thee pray. 1690 E. Fowler Serm. Bow-Ch. 16 Apr. 16 They would‥*bepride themselves the more in their own strength. 1822 Blackw. Mag. II. 64 Bethumbing and *bequoting their beauties. 1611 Cotgr. s.v. Chipault, He is all to *be ragged and rent. 1598 Sylvester Du Bartas (1608) 1013 Princes Whose rage their realms with‥bloud *berinses. 1826 Scott Woodst. v, *Besanctified as you are. a1674 Milton Hist. Mosc. Wks. (1738) II. 147 Rare dishes‥*besauc'd with Garlick and Onions. 1863 A. B. Grosart Small Sins 40 A‥*be-scented, be-ribboned‥little fox! 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis ii. (Arb.) 52 Hector‥thee Greekish nauye *beskorched. c1386 Chaucer Pars. T. ⁋204 Than was he *bescorned, that oonly schulde be honoured. a1300 Cursor M. 17771 Bath bi~scurget and bi-spit. 1865 Athenæum No. 1951. 375/3 No *bescraped cathedrals. 1664 Cotton Scarron. 24 Have you not seen‥A water-dog‥*Beshake his shaggy pantaloons? 1556 Abp. Parker Psalter xxxiv. 87 God hateth the proud and them *beshenth. 1648 Herrick Noble Numb. Wks. II. 203 That cloude‥*Beshiver'd into seeds of raine. 1850 Clough Dipsychus ii. ii. 69 Hexameters‥*Beshod with rhyme. c1420 Pallad. on Husb. vi. 12 And yf the rayne *beshoure. 1821 Combe (Dr. Syntax) Wife iii. (D.) That *beshrivelled face and mien. 1340 Ayenb. 230 Þe prive cat *bezengþ ofte his scin. 1858 Carlyle Fredk. Gt. iv. x. I. 488 Philip's Father, son of the *Beslapped. 1611 Chapman May Day Plays (1873) II. 360 'Twere a good deed, to‥*besnowball him with rotten egges. 1609 Holland Amm. Marcell. xxxv. viii. 259 The ground was *besobbed and drenched with the mid-Winter frosts that now thawed. 1614 Sylvester Bethulia's Resc. vi. 60 The trembling Lady‥*besoothes him. 1567 J. Maplet Gr. Forest 96 Ixion *bespent his seede vpon the Cloude. 1614 Chapman Odyss. viii. 398 All his craft *bespent. a1640 Jackson Creed ix. Wks. VIII. 445 Unless abundance of wit hath *besplitted his understanding. 1600 Rowlands Let. Humours Blood xxiii. 29 Drinke with his dart hath all *bestabbed mee. c1320 Sir Tristr. i. lxii, Tristrem‥seyd‥How stormes hem *bistayd. a1618 J. Davies Sonn. Sir T. Erskin (D.), How blest wert thou that didst thee so *besteere. 1648 Herrick Poems App. (1869) 439 (D.) Lett hym‥Soe good a soile *bestocke and till. 1661 Hickeringill Jamaica 16 *Bestored with all sorts of fruit-bearing Trees. 1340 Ayenb. 123 Þe holy gost be þise zeue yefþes *bestrepþ þe zeue zennes uram þe herte. 1648 Herrick Hesp. I. 166 Dew‥*besweetned in a‥violet. 1612 Drayton Poly-olb. xxviii, The same‥*betalk'd on long. 1635 Quarles Emb. iii. xi, My rock-bethreaten'd soul. 1594 Carew Tasso (1881) 17 Like rest to gaine in like *betyred plight. c1460 Towneley Myst. 288 A goost‥lyke hym in blood betraced. 1686 Goad Celest. Bodies iii. iv. 507 They are *betwatled in their Understandings. 1844 S. Nayler Reynard 29 Poor Bruin thus was sheer *betwattled. 1593 Shakes. Rich. II, i. iii. 221 My‥time- *bewasted light Shall be extinct with age. 1636 Healey Theophrast. 55 Hee‥is all to *bewearied. 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis iii. (Arb.) 81 King Helenus‥vs‥*bewelcomd. 1787 T. Jefferson Writ. (1859) II. 127, I shall now feel *bewidowed. 1653 W. Hemings Fatal Contr., O man *be-womaniz'd! 1422–61 Songs & Carols 15th C. (1856) 87 Many man‥wyste hym wel *bewreke, The hadde wel levere myn hed to-breke.


3. Forming derivative verbs with privative meaning ‘off, away,’ as in bedeal, benim, bereave. A very common use of be- in OE. and ME., prob. originating in words like be-shear, ‘to cut all round,’ whence ‘to cut off or away’; but no longer in living use in forming new derivatives.


4. Making verbs transitive, by adding a prepositional relation: primarily ‘about,’ as in be-speak, speak about (or for, to), be-moan, moan about (or over); which sense can usually be detected under the various against, at, for, to, on, upon, over, by, etc. required by modern idiom: †bebark, to bark around or at; †becack, to deposit ordure on; bechatter, to environ with chattering, etc.; †bechirm, to chirm (as birds) around; †bechirp, to chirp about; beclang, beclatter; †becrave (OE. becrafian), to crave for; becrawl, to crawl all over; becroak, to croak round or at; †becry, to cry at, accuse; bedin, to fill with din or noise; bedribble, to dribble upon (e.g. as a dog); bedrivel; bedrizzle; †bedwell, to dwell in or around; †befleet, to flow round; †befret, to fret or gnaw away; befuddle, to make stupid with tippling; begaze, to gaze at; †beglide, to slip away from, escape; †beglitter, to irradiate; begroan, to groan at; †begruntle, to make uneasy; behoot, to hoot at; bejuggle, to get over by jugglery, to cheat; †belag, to make to lag; †beleap, to leap on, ‘cover’; †bemew, †bemoult, to mew or moult upon; bemurmur, to murmur at or against; †bemute (of birds), to mute or drop dung on; beparse, to plague with parsing; bepiss, to piss on, wet with urine; bepreach, to preach at; bereason, to reason with, overcome by reasoning; †bireme, to cry out upon; beride (OE. berídan), to ride beside, to override; †berow, to row round; †bescumber, to scumber on; beshine (OE. bescínan), to shine on; beshit(e (OE. bescítan) = becack (Obs. in polite use, but common in ME. and early mod.E. literature); beshout, to shout at, applaud; †beshriek, to shriek at; †besigh, to sigh for; †besmell, to smell out; besmile, to smile on; †bespew, to spew on; bestare, to stare at, to make staring; bestraddle, to straddle across, bestride; bestream, to stream over; beswarm, to swarm over; †beswelter; beswim, to swim upon; bethunder; †betipple, to muddle by tippling; betravel, to travel over, to overrun with travellers: bevomit, to vomit all over; bewhisper, to whisper to; bewhistle, to whistle round.

1340 Aycnb. 66 Þe felle dogge þet byt and *beberkþ alle þo þet he may. 1598 Florio, Incacare, to *becacke. a1618 J. Davies Paper's Compl. Wks. (1876) 75 (D.), He all my breast becackes. 1875 B. Taylor Faust I. xxi. 191 If he can't every step *bechatter. a1250 Owl & Night. 279 Hi me *bichirmeþ [v.r. bichermet] and bigredeth. 1600 T. Morley in Lyric P. (Percy Soc.) 51 Every bird upon the bush *be~chirps it up so gay. 1875 A. Smith Burns' Wks. (Globe) Introd. 13 A dingy churchyard hemmed by narrow streets—*be~clanged now by innumerable hammers. 1832–53 Whistle-Binkie (Sc. Songs) Ser. i. 77 Why sae incessantly deave and *beclatter me, Teasing me mair than a body can bide? c1250 Gen. & Ex. 1388 Ðoȝte he, ðis maiden wile ic‥*bi~crauen. 1787 Beckford Italy, etc. II. 19 An oozy beach‥*becrawled with worms. 1861 Temple & Trevor Tannhäuser 52 Let‥the hoarse chough *becroak the moon! c1440 Morte Arth. (Roxb.) 89 Launcelot of treson he *be~cryed. 1880 Swinburne Stud. Song 192 The darkness by thunders *bedinned. 1620 Bp. Hall Hon. Mar. Clergy i. §8 Wks. (1628) 747 This whelpe of theirs commingit cineros, *bedribbles their ashes. 1653 A. Wilson Jas. I, Pref. 4 Why should we *bedribble with our Pens, the Dust that rests there? 1721 Bailey, Bedrawled, bedrabbled, bedrivelled: cf. bedravel v.. 1883 Harper's Mag. Jan. 167/1 The *bedrizzled windows of an express train. 1802 W. Taylor in Robberds Mem. I. 412 Gentry of narrow income used to *bedwell Montreuil. 1817 —— in Month. Mag. XLIII. 236 The marble caves ye now bedwell. a1300 K. Horn 1396 Strong castel he let sette, Mid see him *biflette. 1598 Greene Jas. IV (1861) 207 A constant heart with burning flames *be-fret. 1802 W. Taylor in Robberds Mem. I. 411, I could only‥*begaze the site of Lord Nelson's misemployment. c1300 in Wright Lyric P. xxx. 87 That ded he shal *by-glyde. 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis i. (Arb.) 30 Shee turned with rose color heaunlye *beglittred. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. ii. vi. iii. (D.), [He] shall find himself *begroaned by them. a1670 Hacket Abp. Williams i. 131 (D.), The Spaniards were *begruntled with these scruples. 1838 Emerson Misc. 118 It is travestied and depreciated‥it is *behooted and behowled. 1680 Hickeringill Meroz 12 To *bejuggle and beguile the silly Rabble. 1705 —— Priest-cr. ii. Pref. Aiij, Bejuggl'd Mob! you are the Tools, That Priests do work with called Fools. 1851 H. Melville Moby Dick III. xlvii. 268 No matter how many‥thou may'st have bejuggled and destroyed before. 1721 Bailey, *Belagged, left behind. 1513 Douglas Æneis vii. iii. 207 Makand his stedis *beleip meris vnknaw. 1630 J. Taylor (Water P.) Wks. ii. 448 So scuruily bescuruide and *bemewde. 1603 Florio Montaigne iii. ix. (1632) 561 Some of Platoes Dialogues: *bemolted with a fantasticall variety. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. iii. iii. iv. II. 231 Beshouted by the Galleries‥*bemurmured by the Right-side. 1875 Lowell Poet. Wks. (1879) 458 She loves yon pine- bemurmured ridge. 1634 A. Warwick Spare Min. (1821) 110 The heron‥*bemuting his enemie's feathers to make her flagge-winged. 1880 Grant White Every-Day Eng. 270 Grammar that has so weighed down our poor *beparsed English-speaking people. 1481 Caxton Reynard (Arb.) 6 There he hath *be-pyssed my chyldren where as they laye. 1658 Ford Witch of Edm. iv. i, Ready to bepiss themselves with laughing. 1764 T. Bridges Homer Travest. (1797) II. 16 Ye all bepiss'd yourselves for fear. 1809 W. Irving Knickerb. ii. viii. (1849) 130 Our worthy ancestors‥never being *be-preached and be-lectured. 1880 World 13 Oct. 8 She is alternately be-preached and bepraised by middle-aged spinsterhood. 1826 E. Irving Babylon II. vi. 154 We are *bereasoned out of our faith by the intellectual apostacy of the time. c1200 Trin. Coll. Hom. 29 Nu shalt [þu]‥*biremen him mid euel wordes. 1690 D'Urfey Collin's Walk ii. (D.), Those two that there *beride him, And with such graces prance beside him. 1848 in Proc. Berw. Nat. Club II. vi. 300 When an insect so beridden is taken up, the mites disperse. 1205 Lay. 20128 He wolde‥æc Bristouwe abuten *birouwen [1250 birowe]. 1599 Marston Sco. Villanie iii. ix. (1764) 218 This‥pedant Mortimers numbers With muck-pit Esculine filth *bescumbers. 1625 B. Jonson Staple News v. ii, Did Block bescumber Statute's white suit? 1850 Blackie Æschylus I. Pref. 23 The large sweeping sun- *beshone tiers of an ancient theatre. a1000 Ags. Gloss. in Wr.-Wülcker Voc. 507 Caccabatum, *besciten. a1300 K. Alis. 5485 Bishiten and bydagged foule. a1683 Oldham Wks. & Rem. 81 Flies which would the Deity beshite. 1727 Swift Acc. E. Curll Wks. 1755 III. i. 158, I have been frighted, pumped, kicked‥and beshitten. 1828 Carlyle Misc. I. 156 Betrumpeted and *beshouted from end to end of the habitable globe. a1250 Owl & Night. 67 Alle ho‥the *bi-schricheth and bi-gredet. c1200 Trin. Coll. Hom. 201 Þe sinfulle þe his sinnes‥sore *bisicheð. 1803 Ladies' Diary 26 Colonial settlements I made, And Spain *be-smelt the prize. 1867 Cayley in Fortn. Rev. Nov. 590 The levels *besmile thee of ocean. c1600 Stow in Three 15th c. Chron. (1880) 162 e howse was mervelously‥*by spewed. c1220 Leg. Kath. 309 Þe Keiser *bistarede hire wið swiðe steape ehnen. 1780 Beckford Italy, etc. I. 224 That hobgoblin tapestry which used to bestare the walls of our ancestors. 1807–8 W. Irving Salmag. 12 (D.), The little gentleman who *bestraddles the world in the front of Hutching's Almanack. 1860 Pusey Min. Proph. 488 Shall My dwelling-place‥be *bestreamed with rains. 1583 Stanyhurst Æ neis i. (Arb.) 34 Troians with rough seas stormye *besweltred. 1805 W. Taylor in Ann. Rev. III. 59 Rivers which bridges have yoked, and navigation *beswims. 1581 J. Bell Haddon's Answ. Osor. Aiiijb, This poysoned Dolldreanche hath *be~typpledd the senses. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. iii. iii. iv. II. 229 An explosive crater; vomiting fire, *bevomited with fire! 1674 N. Fairfax Bulk & Selv. To Rdr., Self *be~whispers us, that it stands us all in hand to be forgiven as well as to forgive. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. iii. iii. vi. (D.), Dumouriez and his Staff‥sprawl and plunge for life, *be~whistled with curses and lead.


5. Forming trans. verbs on adjectives and substantives, taken as complements of the predicate, meaning To make: as befoul, to make foul, orig. to surround or affect with foulness; bedim, to make dim; befool, to make a fool of; besot, to turn into a sot. In modern use, nearly all tinged with ridicule or contempt; cf. to beknight with to knight. a. Formed with adj.: †bebrave (1576), to make brave; bedirty, bedismal, bedumb; †befast (OE. befæstan), to fasten; †begaudy, †begay, †beglad, begray, begreen, begrim; †begrimly, to begrime; †beguilty; †bepale, bepretty, †bered; beshag, to make shaggy; †beslow, to retard; besmooth, †besour, bewhite. b. With n.: bebaron, to make into a baron; bebishop, beclown; †becollier, to make as black as a collier; becoward; †bedaw (a 1529), to make a ‘daw’ or fool of; bedeacon (1589), bedoctor, †bedolt (= besot), beduchess, bedunce, befop, beking, beknight; belion, to make a (society) lion of; beminstrel; bewhig, to convert into a whig.

1842 Miall in Nonconf. II. 33 Be-mitred and *be-baroned bishops. 1576 in Collier E.E. Pop. Lit. xvi. 40 Dyvers‥gladly would have mee, And being their wyfe would trimly *bebrave me. 1609 Rowlands Crew Gossips 24 O wretch, O Lob, who would be thus *beclown'd? 1593 Nashe Lent. Stuffe (1871) 60 Too foul-mouthed I am, to becollow, or *becollier him, with such chimney-sweeping attributes. 1831 P. Heidiger Didon., A lot of fellows so *becowarded by their stay on shore. a1529 Skelton Agst. Garnesche 182 Ye may well be *bedawyd. 1589 Hay any Work 74 The old porter of Paddington, whom John of London *bedeaconed and beminstrelled. 1623 Accident Blacke Friers 12 [They] must run from the pure waters of Shiloe, to *bedirty themselves in the filthy puddels of mens traditions. 1803 Bristed Pedest. Tour II. 525 It [a shirt] was‥begrimed and *bedirtied. 1751 Student II. 259 Let us see your next number‥*bedismalled with broad black lines. 1806 Southey Let. (1856) I. 364 Harry will be *bedoctored in July. 1856 Vaughan Mystics II. viii. v. 59 The *be-doctored wiseacres of all the universities of Europe. 1574 Hellowes Gueuara's Ep. (1577) 183 Young men without experience‥*bedolted of the thinges of this world. 1804 Wolcott (P. Pindar) Wks. (1812) V. 180 She's begrac'd and *beduchess'd already. 1615 Bp. Hall Contempl. N.T. iv. ii, Every soul is more deafened and *bedumbed by increasing corruptions. 1611 Cotgr., Philogrobolizé du cerveau‥astonied, *bedunced, at his wits end. 1674 N. Fairfax Bulk & Selv. 43 Motion, which I think is altogether *befasted to Body. 1866 Reader 24 Feb. 201/1 The courtier in his new Court suit *be-fopt. 1640 J. Gower Ovid's Fast. 310 Her breasts with glittring gold *begaudy'd were. 1648 J. Beaumont Psyche iii. §75 (R.), Beauteous things‥*Begay the simple fields. a1617 Hieron Wks. II. 199 To *beglad your hearts. a1624 Bp. M. Smyth Serm. (1632) 234 Age‥*begrayeth our head. 1864 D. Mitchell Sev. Stories 300 Hillsides‥*begreened by a thousand irrigating streamlets. 1870 H. Macmillan Bible Teach. xiii. 267 They‥tarnish and *begrim the brightest colours. c1485 Digby Myst. (1882) ii. 105 Ye were so *be-grymlyd and yt had bene a sowe. 1627 Bp. Sanderson Serm. I. 263 Dost‥*beguilty thine own conscience with sordid bribery. 1831 Greville Mem. (1875) II. xiv. 153 He would do anything to be *be~king'd. 1794 Wolcott (P. Pindar) Celebration Wks. III. 422 Behold once-Quaker Benjamin *be-knighted. 1808 Scott in Lockhart (1839) I. 11 Many worshipful and *be~knighted names. 1837 New Month. Mag. LI. 183 Be-scented and *be-lioned petlings! 1640 T. Carew Lady to Inconst. Serv., Those perjur'd lips of thine, *Bepal'd with blasting sighes. 1872 C. King Sierra Nev. x. 210 What has he done but‥belittle and *be-pretty this whole‥country? 1604 Rowlands Looke to it 27 Your head *beshagg'd with nittie lowsie lockes. 1868 Hawthorne Amer. Note-bks. (1879) IV. 201 All *beshagged with forest. 1645 Quarles Sol. Recant. iv. 20 How art thou clogg'd With dull mortality, *beslow'd‥In thine owne frailty! 1615 Chapman Odyss. viii. 495 The Graces‥with immortal balms *besmooth her skin. a1660 Hammond Serm. xv. Wks. 1683 IV. 668 This old leaven that so *besoures all our actions. 1852 James Pequinillo I. 154 Five-and-thirty years of peace have so betravelled the world. 1832 Southey Q. Rev. XLVIII. 300 Lord Nugent is lamentably *bewhigged. 1678 Ripley Reviv'd, Vision, 12 The Concave of this secret place will be so *bewhited with the fumes.


c. To call, to style, to dub with the title of, etc. Often with a depreciatory or contemptuous force: as be-blockhead, †be-blunderbus, be-brother, be-coward, †behypocrite, be-lady, be-ladyship, belout, bemadam, bemistress, bemonster, berascal, be-Roscius, bescoundrel, bevillain.

1765 Tucker Lt. Nat. I. 476 He so *be-blockheaded and *be-blunderbust me about as was enough to hurry anybody, and throw them off their guard. 1881 C. Phillipps-Wolley Sport in Crimea 80 The old gentleman was‥much given to kissing and *be-brothering his friends. 1752 Fielding Covent Gard. Jrnl. Wks. (1840) 712 If another hath kicked you, be sure to *becoward him well. 1612 J. Davies Muse's Sacr. 75 How would'st Thou now *behypocrit man's hart. 1811 E. Nares Thinks I to Myself ii. (1816) 38 (D.), How Mrs. Twist did *be-ladyship my poor mother. 1614 B. Jonson Barth. Fair v. iii. (D.), They do so all to *bemadam me, I think they think me a very great lady. 1605 Camden Rem. 157 He rated and *belowted his Cooke. 1630 J. Taylor (Water P.) Wks. ii. 239/1 Were so *bemadam'd, *bemistrist and Ladified by the beggers. 1692 Christ Exalted cxxxix. 105 Not be-heriticking, not *be-monstring Dr. Crisp. 1743 Fielding Jon. Wild ii. iii, She beknaved, *berascalled, berogued the unhappy hero. 1596 Nashe Saffron Walden Vij, M. Lilly and me, by name he beruffianizd and *berascald. 1774 Goldsm. Retal. 117 While he was *be~Roscius'd and you were be-prais'd! 1885 Blackw. Mag. Apr. 543/2 Garrick's generation *be-Rosciused him. 1786 Wolcott To Boswell Wks. 1794 I. 313 Where surly Sam‥Nassau *bescoundrels. a1734 North Exam. (1740) 247 (D.), After Mr. S. Atkins had *bevillained the Captain sufficiently.


6. Forming trans. verbs on substantives used in an instrumental relation; the primary idea being; a. To surround, cover, or bedaub with, as in becloud, to put clouds about, cover with clouds, bedew; †be-ash, to cover or soil with ashes; †beblain, †bebloom, beboulder, bebutter, becap, becarpet, bechalk, becloak, becobweb, becolour; becoom, †becolme, to smear with coom; becrime, becurtain, †bedot; †bedowle, to cover with dowle or soft hair; bedust, befetter, befilth, beflannel, beflounce, beflour, beflower, befoam, befringe, befume, †beglare, begloom, †begum, behorn, behorror, belard, †beleaf, †beloam; †bemail to cover with mail; bemantle, bemat, bemeal, bemuck, bepicture, bepimple, beplague, bepowder, berust, bescab, bescarf, bescurf, bescurvy, beslime, besugar, betallow, bethorn, betowel, beulcer, bevenom, bewig, †bewimple. Thence, by extension, b. To affect with in any way, as in benight, beguile, befriend; †beback, to furnish (a book) with a back; bebed, to furnish with a bed; bebog, to entangle in a bog, embog; †bebrine, to wet with brine; bebutterfly, to engross with butterflies; becivet, to perfume with civet; becomma, to sprinkle with commas; bedawn, beday, to overtake with dawn or daylight; †bedebt, to indebt; bedinner, to treat with a dinner, give a dinner to; †bedown, to fill with down; †befame, to make famous; †befancy, to fill with fancies; befiddle, to engross with a fiddle; befire; befist, to belabour with the fists; beflea, to infest (as) with fleas; †beflum (dial.), to deceive; †befrumple, to crease into frumples or clumsy folds; befume, to affect with fumes; †begall, to fill with gall, embitter; †beginger, to spice with ginger; †beglew, -glue, to make game of, befool; begulf, to engulf; †behearse, to place in a hearse; behymn, beice, bekerchief; beladle, to ladle up; belecture, to ply with lectures; beliquor, to soak with liquor, to alcoholize; †beman, to fill with men, to man; bemissionary, to pester with missionaries; bemole, to mark with moles or dirty spots; bemoon, to moon-strike; bemusk, to perfume with musk; †benettle, benightmare, be-ode; bepaper, to cover or pester with papers; bephilter, to treat with a philter; bephrase; †bepistle, to inflict epistles on; bequalm, to affect with qualms; †berampier, to surround with a rampart; berebus, to inscribe with a rebus; berubric, to mark with a rubric or red letter; besaffron, to stain or mingle with saffron; beschoolmaster, to furnish with schoolmasters; bescutcheon, to furnish with an escutcheon; besentinel, to surround or guard with sentinels; †besin, to stamp with sin, to stigmatize as sinful; besiren, to charm with a siren; beslipper, to present with slippers; besnivel, besnuff; besonnet, to address or celebrate in sonnets; bespeech; bespy, to dog with spies; besquib; bestench, bestink, to afflict with stench; bestraw, to furnish or fill with straw; betag, to furnish with a tag; betask, to charge with a task; betocsin, betrumpet; betutor, to furnish with tutors; be-urine; beverse, to celebrate in verse; beveto, to put a veto on; bewall, bewelcome; bewhisker, to adorn with whiskers; bewinter, to overtake or affect with winter; bewizard, to influence by a wizard (cf. bewitch); beworm, to infest with worms; pass. to breed worms; beworship, to honour with worship. In both sets there is often an accompanying notion of ‘thoroughly, excessively,’ as in 2. c. An ancient application, no longer in living use, was to express the sense of ‘bereave of,’ as in behead, belimb, etc., q.v. Cf. 3, above.


(Some of these are used only in the passive voice.)

1530 Palsgr. 444/2 You have *beasshed your gloves. 1599 H. Buttes in Jas. I Counterbl. (Arb.) App. 93 The leaues *be-ashed or warmed in imbers and ashes. 1858 Reeves & Turner's Bk. Catal. Dec. (No. 278) Folio, newly *bebacked. a1300 Havelok 420 He hem ne dede richelike *bebedde. 1605 J. Davies Humours Wks. (1876) 43 (D.), *Beblaine the bosome of each mistres. 1585 Hunnis Handf. Honisuck. Gen. xl. 8 In the Vyne were Braunches three That al *bebloomed were. 1662 Fuller Worthies (1840) I. 458 His feet were fixed in Ireland, where he was not *be~bogg'd. 1862 H. Marryat Sweden II. 341 The country, though greatly *bebouldered, is wild like fertile Skaane. 1652 Benlowes Theoph. xi. lxviii. 202 Thou peul'st, not to repent, but to *bebrine thy woes. 1611 Cotgr., Embeurrer, to butter or *bebutter. 1759 Sterne Tr. Shandy ii. iii, The souls of connoisseurs‥have the happiness‥to get all be-virtued‥*be-butterflied, and be-fiddled. 1821 Combe (Dr. Syntax) Wife v. (D.), He thus appear'd‥*Becapp'd in due conformity. a1800 Cumberland Mem. II. 364 (L.), A floor‥splendidly *bechalked by a capital deseyner. 1805 W. Taylor in Ann. Rev. III. 46 The distilled perfume of the bookmaker's style, which bemusks and *becivets every London composition. 1598 Sylvester Batt. Ivry in Du Bartas (1608) 1096 Fire and Smoak As with thick clouds, both Armies round *becloak. 1611 Cotgr., Emmantelé‥*becloked‥wrapped as in a cloke. 1788 Burns Let. 9 Sept., Throw my horny fist across my *becobwebbed lyre. 1851 Carlyle Sterling ii. iv, Anywhere else in this much *becobwebbed world. 1567 J. Maplet Gr. Forest 57b, To make black and *becolour the Caruels as it were most browne. 1881 Academy 14 May 355 The senseless ‘*be~commaing’ of many Shakespere texts. a1300 K. Horn 1064 He makede him a ful chere, And al *bicolmede his swere. 1882 Pall Mall G. 18 Apr. 2 A ship's fireman all *becoomed and besmoked. 1844 E. Warburton Cresc. & Cross xiv. (1859) 144 Every man of any nation, who has so *becrimed himself as to have no country of his own. 1878 H. Phillips Poems 71 The heaven with clouds *becurtained. 1827 Blackw. Mag. XXI. 783 [He] exclaimed, with visible apprehension of being *bedawned, ‘Methinks I smell the morning air.’ 1882 G. Macdonald Cast. Warl. III. xxvii. 374 My spirit is the shadow of thy word, Thy candle sun-*bedayed! 1513 Douglas Æneis viii. vii. 20 Albeit that to the childring of Priame King I was *bedettit. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. ii. v. x. II. 81 They are harangued, *bedinnered, begifted. 1843 Carlyle Past & Pr. 380 Can he do nothing for his Burns but‥lionise him, *bedinner him? 1620 Sir J. Davies Past. W. Brown What though time yet have not *bedowld thy chin. 1611 Cotgr., Enduvetter, to *bedowne; to fill‥with downe. 1574 Hellowes Gueuara's Ep. (1584) 280 Aristrato‥most *befamed the art of phisick. 1567 Turberv. Ovid's Ep. 110b, For everie point I was *Befancide well. 1610 G. Fletcher Christ's Vict. in Farr S.P. (1847) 64 How thou *befanciest the men most wise. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. ii. i. x. I. 268 The mute representatives of‥*befettered, heavy-laden Nations. 1759 Sterne Tr. Shandy ii. iii, Be-pictured, be-butterflied, and *befiddled. 1593 Nashe Christ's T. (1613) 115 The Buck, hauing *be-filtht himselfe with the female. 1613 F. Robartes Revenue Gosp. (title-p.), A sparke vnseen‥*Befir'd her neast, and burnt vp all her wealth. 1718 Motteux Quix. (1733) I. 284 Sancho‥rent his Beard‥*befisted his own forgetful Skull. 1859 M. Scott Tom Cringle's Log xi. 228 Men who‥whenever a common cold overtook them‥caudled and *beflanneled themselves. 1870 Lowell Among my Bks. (1873) 283 The savages by whom the continent was *beflead rather than inhabited. 1824 Miss Mitford Village Ser. i. (1863) 202 Miss Phœbe‥is said to have becurled and *beflounced herself at least two tiers higher on‥holidays. 1598 Florio, Farinare, to *beflowre or *bemeale. 1814 Scott Wav. lxxi, Then‥I *beflumm'd them wi' Colonel Talbot. 1700 Dryden Fables 106 Froth‥*befoams the Ground. 1611 Cotgr. s.v. Flocquer, To hang forth loose, to sit bagging, flagging, or *befrumpled, as an ouer-wide garment. 1598 Sylvester Du Bartas (1608) 809 If such a folly have *befumed your Brain. 1598 Gilpin Skial. i, Play the scold‥*Begall thy spirit. 1611 Cotgr., Gingembré, *begingered; seasoned‥with Ginger. 1865 Dickens Mut. Fr. iii. xvi, The countenance of the *beglared one. 1835 Beckford Recoll. 46 A square‥*begloomed by dark-coloured painted windows. c1430 Lydg. Minor P. 115 They went from the game begylyd and *beglued. a1813 A. Wilson Foresters Wks. 246 *Begulfed in mire we laboured on. 1730 Swift Lady's Dress.-room, *Begumm'd, bematter'd, and beslim'd. 1611 Cotgr., Encrasser, to *begryme‥bedawbe with slouenlie filth. 1594 Peele Batt. Alcazar 88 In fatal bed *behearst. 1577 Hellowes Gueuara's Ep. 314 An Oxe‥so *behorned. 1630 J. Taylor (Water P.) Wks. ii. 109 She‥did *behorne his head. 1857 Thackeray White Squall (D.), The Turkish women‥Were frightened and *behorror'd. 1863 N. Brit. Daily Mail 13 Oct., *Be-iced in Melville Bay, and presumed to be lost. 1620 Shelton Quix. iii. xiii. I. 247 The Curate would not permit 'em to veil and *bekerchief him. 1885 Spectator 8 Aug. 1043/1 They were‥rather unpleasantly *belarded. 1862 Thackeray Four Georges i. 37 The honest masters of the roast *beladling the dripping. 1631 R. Brathwait Whimzies, Ruffian 83 So *beliquored and belarded, as they have oyle enough to frie themselves. 1611 Cotgr., Enfueiller, to *beleafe; to stick or set‥with leaues. 1598 Florio Smaltare ‥To *belome‥to ouercast with mortar or loame. 1594 Nashe Terrors of Nt. Gijb, Their armes as it were *bemayled with rich chaynes and bracelets. c1175 Lamb. Hom. 23 Þah an castel beo wel *bemoned mid monne. 1620 Shelton Quix. IV. vii. 47 A white long gather'd Stole, so long that it did‥*bemantle her from Head to Foot. 1820 Combe (Dr. Syntax) Consol. ii. (D.), The straw-roof'd cot‥With spreading vine *bemantled o'er. 1868 Morn. Star 3 Feb., The chaste hall so scrupulously hearthstoned and *bematted. 1623 Favine Theat. Hon. ii. xiii. 208 The idolatry of the Syrians‥was planted among the Ægyptians, who *be~mealed the Greeks therewith. 1656 Earl of Monmouth Advt. fr. Parnass. 118 As much *bemealed as those millers who keep there day and night. 1884 in Pall Mall G. 31 May 2 Till the end of his days he is *bemissionaried by the society which has made him what he is. 1362 Langl. P. Pl. B. xiv. 4 Children Þat wolen *bymolen it many tyme maugre my chekes! 1866 Lond. Rev. 23 June 697/2 If you get *be~mooned on a shoemaker's holiday, you had best return home at once. 1530 Palsgr. 306/1 *Bemooked, breneux. 1611 Cotgr., Emmusquer, to *bemuske, or perfume with muske. 1611 Cotgr., Enortier, To *benettle; to sting‥rub ouer, with nettles. 1820 Keats St. Agnes xlii, All his warrior-guests‥Were long *be-nightmared. 1814 Southey Life & Corr. (1850) IV. 78 Present copies to the persons *be-oded. 1837 Whittock Bk. Trades (1842) 356 His well *be-papered cranium. 1861 M. Arnold Pop. Educ. France 93 French administration is *bepapered to death. 1690 Secr. Hist. Chas. II & Jas. II, 36 The King‥had so *bephiltered them with his potions of Aurum potabile, that they passed another act to his heart's desire. 1853 F. Hall Ledlie's Miscell. II. 171 Englishmen‥are not easily bephrased to death. a1818 Macneill Poems (1844) 122 The shelving palm-girt beach‥*Bepictured o'er. 1648 Herrick Hesp. I. 52 His cheeks *be-pimpled, red and blue. 1860 All Y. Round No. 49. 545 Have taken to drinking, and have got blotchy and *bepimpled in consequence. 1589 Hay any Work 36 Ile *bepistle you D. Prime, when I am at more leasure. 1870 Pall Mall G. 23 Aug. 3 To furnish a concrete and basis for our *beplagued civilization. 1646 G. Daniel Poems Wks. 1878 I. 52 When we are *be-qualm'd, that long imbraces has Made dull Desire. 1582 Stanyhurst Æneis ii. (Arb.) 51 O Troy wals stronglye *berampyerd. 1655 Fuller Hist. Camb. (1840) 140 Sir Hugh Ashton‥in a tomb‥*be-rebussed, according to the ingenuity of that age, with an ash growing out of a tun. —— Ch. Hist. xi. vii. §43 VI. 103 We have *be-rubrick'd each day‥with English blood. 1631 R. Brathwait Whimzies 129 His conscience is a Delphian sword‥yet annoint him and you *berust him. 1611 Cotgr., Ensafrani, *besaffroned‥seasoned, stained, or coloured with Saffron. Ibid., Crousteux, crustie, *bescabbed. 1631 W. Saltonstall Pict. Loq. (1635) Fviij, She is so *bescarf'd that the winde must not breath on her face. 1826 Miss Mitford Village Ser. ii. (1863) 327 Miss Reid‥*be-scarfed and be-veiled‥and all in a flutter of bridal finery. 1810 Coleridge Friend (1818) III. 224 Young men‥expensively *be-schoolmastered, be-tutored, be-lectured, any thing but educated. 1653 Urquhart Rabelais v. v, They are thus bescabb'd, *bescurf'd‥with Carbuncles, Pashes, and Pockroyals. 1630 J. Taylor (Water P.) Nat. Eng. Poetry Wks. ii. 248/2 So scuruily *bescuruide and bemewde? 1762 Churchill Ghost iii. 640 A‥hearse, *Bescutcheon'd. 1622 H. Sydenham Serm. Sol. Occ. (1637) 62 Our Apostle *be-sinnes it over and over. 1861 Trollope Barchester T. 346 Thus *be-sirened, Mr. Arabin behaved himself very differently from Mr. Slope. 1602 B. Jonson Poetast. Prol. (R.), Our fry of writers may *beslime his fame. 1868 Helps Realmah xv. (1876) 416 *Beslimed with disagreeable and injurious talk. 1866 Reader 24 Mar. 299 Poor men!‥to be be-teapotted and *be-slippered. 1611 Cotgr., Enroupié, *besniueled, dropping at the nose. 1728 Young Love Fame vi. (1757) 147 Unwash'd her hands, and much *besnuff'd her face. 1860 J. Kennedy Swallow B. v. 60 Belles, who had been *besonnetted‥for ten years before. 1845 Carlyle Cromwell's Lett. & Sp. (1871) II. 126 Solemnly welcomed, bedinnered, *bespeeched. 1837 —— Fr. Rev. III. iii. viii. 132 Getting them *bespied. 1813 Q. Rev. IX. 107 She was *besquibbed and pasquinaded. 1568 Like to Like in Hazl. Dodsl. III. 317 To *bestench the place! 1611 Cotgr., Empuantir, to *bestinke; to fill with stinke. Ibid., Empaillé, *bestrawed, filled‥furnished with straw. Ibid. Ensuccrer, to *besugar; to sweeten‥with sugar. a1618 Sylvester Colonies 356 (D.), Thrace subtle Greece *beswarms. 1762 Churchill Ghost iii. 640 Bescutcheon'd and *betagged with verse. 1638 Ford Fancies i. 2 I will *betallow thy tweezes. 1857 Heavysege Saul (1869) 268 The nymph‥would have *betasked me like a very slave. 1884 G. Hawley Wit, Wisd. etc. Richter 66 The whole‥lay prickly and *bethorned before him. 1857 Carlyle Fr. Rev. II. vii. v. 263 It has been *betocsined, bestormed. 1846 H. Miller Rambles Geol. (1858) 399 The *betowelled monkey. 1662 Fuller Worthies II. 520 (D.), Satan‥having Job in his power‥only *be-ulcered him on his skin. 1565 Golding Ovid's Met. ii. (1593) 51 All *be~venimd was his toong. a1764 Churchill P. Profess., When their Ancestors *beversed That glorious Stuart James the first. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. ii. v. xii. II. 85 The Priest-Decree, *bevetoed by Majesty. 1250 Lay. 18631 He hadde þare tweie castles *biwalled swiðe faste. 1583 Stanyhurst Æneis iii. (Arb.) 81 King Helenus‥vs as his freends freendlye *bewelcomd. 1762 Sterne Tr. Shandy V. i. 14 'Twas she who *bewhisker'd St. Bridget. 1820 W. Irving Sketch Bk., Xmas Dinner (D.), Striplings *bewhiskered with burnt cork. 1866 Lond. Rev. 9 June 640/1 It drives him to *bewig his bald head. 1393 Gower Conf. II. 360 Where lay *be~wimpled a visage. 1647 Cowley Mistr. (1669) 47 Tears, that *bewinter all my Year. 1652 Sparke Prim. Dev. Pref., The Sun‥visiting the *bewintered earth. 1862 H. Taylor St. Clement's Eve 23 She cannot‥Be more *bewizarded than I'm bewitched. 1604 Dekker Honest Wh. in Dodsley (1780) X. 253 The body‥is gone *be-worm'd. 1787 Beckford Italy, etc. II. 198 For what purpose they [state pageants] are bedecked and *beworshiped.


7. Forming participial adjectives, which unite the preceding senses, esp. 6 and 2, in the notion of ‘covered or furnished with,’ usually in a conspicuous, ostentatious, unnecessary, or overdone way. In modern use (e.g. with Carlyle) the force of the be- is often merely rhetorical, expressing depreciation, ridicule, or raillery, on the part of the speaker, towards the appendage or ornamentation in question; cf. booted and bebooted, gartered begartered, wigged bewigged. Some of these words have no form without be-, and closely approach the verbs in 5, e.g. bedaughtered, bepilgrimed ‘overrun with pilgrims.’ This is now the most frequent use of be-, and the formations of this kind are endless; e.g. be-aureoled, bebelted, becloaked, becoroneted, becupolaed, bediamonded, bedragoned, befathered, befezzed, beflogged, beflounced, befrilled, begoggled, bejacketed, bejeaned, bemitred, bemotored, bemuslined, beperiwigged, beribboned, beringleted, beskirted, besleeved, betabbed, betrousered, beturbaned, beuncled, bevillaed, bewinged. See the quotations.

1923 D. H. Lawrence Birds, Beasts & Flowers 29 Your‥idealism, Like a *be-aureoled bleached skeleton. 1945 Dylan Thomas Let. 30 July (1966) 282 Like a be-aureoled bleached skeleton hovering its cage-ribs in the social heaven. 1839 Lady Lytton Cheveley I. v. 105 *Be-balled and *be~chained candelabras. 1854 H. Strickland Trav. Th. 18 A besworded‥*bebelted official takes all passports. 1831 Carlyle Sart. Res. i. iii, Couriers arrive *bestrapped and *bebooted. 1859 Reeve Brittany 138 [A] short-tailed jacket, *bebuttoned and braided throughout. 1884 Harper's Mag. Sept. 556/1 Elderly *becapped women. 1883 Century Mag. XXVII. 110 [A] country‥*becarpeted, and becurtained with grass. 1861 Sat. Rev. 18 May 502 The figure of the *becassocked priest spoils all. 1882 Mrs. Heckford Lady Trader 302 Fine-looking Kaffirs, all *be~cat-tailed. 1598 Sylvester Vocation, Du Bartas (1608) 311 Gawdy plumes of Foes (*be-cedared brave). 1785–95 Wolcott (P. Pindar) Lousiad. iii. Wks. I. 267 *Be-chain'd with all the splendor of Lord May'rs. 1869 Daily News 3 July, Genial welcome‥to the bewigged and the *bechignoned alike. 1879 Mrs. Houston Wild West 85 The smiling remonstrance of more than one of his *be~coiffed listeners. 1863 Grosart Small Sins 40 It is only a ‘small sin,’ a smug, be-furred, *be-combed‥‘little fox!’ 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. iii. v. i. II. 283 Open-Scoundrels rode triumphant, bediademed, *becoronetted, bemitred. 1700 Congreve Way of World iii. xv, Thou art so *becravated, and so beperriwigg'd. 1885 Times 28 July 3/1 Very ancient illustrations, crowded with *becrinolined ladies. 1860 Reade Cloister & H. lv. (D.), My master was at the gate *be~crutched. 1808 W. Irving Salmag. xiv. (1860) 331 The portrait of a young lady dressed in a‥gown‥be-flowered‥and *be-cuffed. 1771 H. Walpole Lett. III. 375 (D.), The Collisée‥is a most gaudy Ranelagh, gilt, painted, and *becupided like an opera. 1883 V. Lee in Mag. Art. Nov. 3/1 Two rooms‥stuccoed, gilded, flowered, *be~cupided. 1861 Russell in Times 10 July, A city on a hill‥be-steepled, *becupolaed, large-hoteled. 1883 Century Mag. XXVII. 110 Is there another country under the sun so *becushioned, becarpeted, and becurtained with grass? 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. i. vi. iii. I. 180 Comes this ‘Saviour of France,’ beshouted, *becymballed by the world. 1830 Diary of Nun I. 233 *Bedaughtered dowagers. 1884 Med. Times 28 June 875/2 The wan-matrons and *be-dentelured debutantes. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. iii. v i. II. 283 Open-Scoundrels rode‥*bediademed, becoronetted, bemitred. 1840 Poe Ulalume, Poems (1859) 70 Astarte's *bediamonded crescent. 1879 J. Hingston Austral. Abr. ix. 101 The garden of China is much *bedotted with mounds of earth. 1925 E. Bowen in Lond. Mercury July 249 Eleanor‥followed the *be-dragoned back. 1928 Blunden Japanese Garland 22 A wind like fifty winds at once Through the bedragoned kingdom runs. 1960 T. Hughes Lupercal 29 Prehistoric bedragonned times Crawl that darkness with Latin names. 1614 Rich Honest. Age (1844) 50 Starcht bands, so *be-edged, and be-laced. 1746 H. Walpole Corr. (1837) I. 105 Your campaign‥well *be-epitheted would make a pompous work. 1864 Daily Tel. 9 Feb., Matrons‥*befanned, bejewelled, and speechless. 1839 Lady Lytton Cheveley I. ii. 34 You *be-fathered and *be-uncled young gentlemen. 1885 C. Hall Amer. Missionary June 175 Young men [Indians] nude, and painted in parti colors and *befeathered. 1635 Quarles Emblems iii. i. (1818) 138 Surveying round her dove-*befeather'd prison. 1761 Sterne Tr. Shandy III. xii. 57 Hung round and *befetish'd with the bobs and trinkets of criticism. 1905 Daily Chron. 2 June 6/7 The Arab, a *befezzed, well-knit young man. 1932 Times Lit. Suppl. 24 Nov. 867/2 The befezzed junior officer. 1832 Carlyle Remin. I. 43 His pale, ghastly, *befilleted head. 1846 Landor Wks. II. 458 The eagle eye of Buonaparte was *befilmed. 1882 Standard 28 Apr. 6 Has the town been *beflagged and decorated. 1843 Fraser's Mag. XXVIII. 569 The close bepuckered and *befrilled gowns and collars. 1884 Cassell's Fam. Mag. Mar. 216/1 Aprons‥befrilled and adorned with lace. 1860 H. Marryat Jutland I. i. 4 Houses turreted and *begabled‥statued, and *befriezed. 1849 Miss Mulock Ogilvies xxix. (1875) 218 The be-laced and *be-furbelowed throng around. 1879 Sir G. Scott Recoll. ii. 87 [The churches were] *begalleried to the very eyes. 1870 Morris Earthly Par. II. iii. 486 The beasts, sharp horn‥and dewlapped neck were well *begarlanded. 1797 W. Taylor in Monthly Mag. IV. 134 Lordlings all *begarter'd and bestarr'd. 1839 Bailey Festus (1848) 207 Or diamond beetle round *beglobed with light. 1611 Cotg., Enganté, *begloued. 1903 Daily Chron. 30 June 3/7 These *begoggled road demons. 1914 G. B. Shaw Misalliance 44 The Passenger, also begoggled, comes in. 1858 Lond. Rev. Oct. 112 Bathing machines, with *begowned tenants. 1812 Combe (Dr. Syntax) Picturesque iii. (D.), Thus *behatted, Down on the grass the Doctor squatted. 1742 Fielding Miss Lucy in T. (1762) 179 This‥be-curl'd, *behoop'd. 1691 Ray S. & E. Country Wds. 89 *Behounc'd; Tricked up and made fine. 1837 C. Ridley Lett. (1958) 23 We are also *bejacketted in a very tight fitting style. 1958 Manch. Guardian 7 Mar. 8/5 A sulky adolescent and his *be-jeaned girl-friend. 1960 Bookseller 28 May 2070/1 The bejeaned and pony-tailed young ladies of my village. 1884 Pall Mall G. 7 Oct. 5/1 This awful, befringed, *bekilted, and beflounced dual trouser. 1848 H. Miller First Impr. xi. (1857) 172 Venerable dwellings *belatticed with lead. 1835 Beckford Recoll. 91 The wildest be-pined, and be-rosemaryed, and *be-lavendered country. 1787 Burns Wks. III. 90 Gie Wealth to some *be-ledger'd Cit. 1854 Thackeray Newcomes II. 58 The steps of a fine *belozenged carriage were let down. 1880 Blackw. Mag. Feb. 243 Officers much *be-medalled and much be-crossed. 1878 J. Thomson Plenip. Key 7 Tap your mulls or bejewelled and *beminiatured caskets. 1842 Miall in Nonconf. II. 33 *Be-mitred and be-baroned bishops. 1908 Westm. Gaz. 5 June 4/2 The *be-motored and dusty road. 1931 Times Lit. Suppl. 12 Feb. 117/4 The boys, hip-flasked and be-motored. 1858 E. Jacson Harvest Festiv. 7 A long‥*be-mottoed cattle shed. 1882 Daily News 10 Oct. 2/4 The becurled and *bemoustachiod tenor. 1850 Frank Fairlegh vi. 61 A very pretty girl you would make, too, if you were properly *bemuslined. 1842 H. Miller O.R. Sandst. vii. 155 Its betailed and *bepaddled figure (the Plerichthys). 1849 Thoreau Week on Concord, Ess. 331 The stumpy, rocky, forested and *bepastured country. 1614 Rich Honest. Age (1844) 26 They are so be-paynted, so *be-periwigd. 1884 E. Gosse in Fortn. Rev. Apr. 534 The rider, the august and *beperiwigged Kurfürst. 1854 H. Strickland Trav. Th. 6 A chapel correctly *bepewed à l'Anglaise. 1759 Sterne Tr. Shandy ii. iii, All be-virtued, *be-pictured, be-butterflied, and be-fiddled. 1857 Carlyle Misc. iv. 168 (D.), There was no literary shrine ever so *bepilgrimed. 1611 Cotgr., Empillier, *bepillered; set on pillers; made with pillers. 1858 H. Miller Rambl. Geol. 375 Sallied out, *be~plaided and umbrellaed. 1852 James Pequinillo I. 154 Five-and-thirty years of peace have so‥*be-railroaded‥the world. 1831 Carlyle Sart. Res. ii. ii, Nut-brown maids and nut-brown men, all clean-washed‥and *beribanded. 1863 W. Thornbury True as Steel I. 104 Their *beribboned waists and huge beruffled sleeves. 1951 S. Spender World within World 5 My father, removing with a flourish his beribboned spectacles. 1954 Dylan Thomas Quite Early one Morning 16 Autograph albums with a lock of limp and colourless beribboned hair lolling out between the thick black boards. 1614 Purchas Pilgr. vi. xiv. 647 They found others thus *beringed. 1883 G. MacDonnell Chess Life-Pict. 166 A Frenchman whose be~ringed fingers and be-jewelled scarf betokened a certain amount of pecuniosity. 1880 Mrs. Parr Adam & Eve vii. 97 A petticoated figure, with a dark *beringleted face. 1862 Times 26 Dec., Mr. Anthony Trollope comes to us *berobed and bewigged. 1865 Reader 15 Apr. 427/3 Those *berouged, leering, stripped sluts. 1792 Bot. Mag. VI. 213 The Stipulae on the stalk‥making it look as if *beruffled. 1865 Mrs. Whitney Gayworthys i. (1879) 12 The small, starched, ribboned and beruffled creature. 1848 Blackw. Mag. LXIII. 576 Long galleries vainly draperied and *beshawled with all the rich wonders of modern manufacture. 1936 O. Nash Primrose Path 165 And all the trim and not so trim ladies who have been be-trousered begin thank God once more to be *be-skirted. 1959 Times 16 Nov. 4/1 Even the deployment of the animals,‥high-stepping horses and beskirted chimpanzees, is done with tact and artistic propriety. 1864 C. M. Yonge Trial II. 150 Cora tripped in, all *besleeved and smartened. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. ii. i. xi. I. 271 Mayor and Curate‥also walk *bespaded, and in tricolor sash. 1859 Evening Star 2 Apr. 2/5 These nineteenth century *bestayed women. 1920 Chambers's Jrnl. Sept. 569/1 The whole party indulging in explosive merriment over the quips of the *betabbed gentleman in the centre. 1930 Blunden De Bello Germanico i. 5 We joined the avalanche with which the betabbed encyclopædia was dealing. 1884 A. Putnam Ten Yrs. Police Judge v. 28 The dearly beloved and dearly *betaxed people. 1873 Browning Red Cotton Night-Cap Country 162 Its cobweb-work, *be~tinseled stitchery. 1856 Sat. Rev. 123 Be-cloaked and *be-togaed statesmen. 1611 Cotgr., Entourellé‥*be~towred; bedecked‥with turrets. 1828 Carlyle in Page De Quincy I. xiii. 279 *Betrodden by picturesque tourists. 1934 Webster, *Betrousered. 1936 [see be-skirted above]. 1937 Daily Express 3 Mar. 14/2 Betrousered, she hacks in the park at Arundel and once hid when Queen Mary passed by in case her boyish clothes were frowned on. 1865 Pall Mall G. No. 166, 11/2 Fluttering ribbons, *be~tuckered bodices. 1858 De Quincey Autob. Sk. Wks. I. 48 (D.) Bewhiskered and *beturbaned. 1884 Chambers' Jrnl. 4 Oct. 635/2 Never did a *be-uniformed people more thoroughly believe in the dignity of dress. 1866 Alford in Life (1873) 389 Falmouth, with the spruce well *be-vesselled basin. 1866 G. M. Hopkins Let. 30 June (1938) 10 A great fashionable town, and even the country round much *bevillaed. 1784 Wilberforce Life I. 70 Running between two mountains *be-vined. a1849 Poe Conq. Worm, Poems (1859) 87 An angel throng *bewinged. 1869 F. B. Palliser Hist. Lace xxii. 268 To keep the ruff erect, *bewired and starched. 1860 Pusey Min. Proph. 342 ‘Accursed,’ or, one might say, ‘bewrathed,’ lying under the wrath and curse of God.


¶Examples of the capabilities of be- are seen in be-belzebubbed (= bedevilled), be-blacksmithed, be-cockney'd, to be-documentize (1593), to bedoltify, befrenchify (1603), be-Frenchman'd, be-Germanized, be-lady-loved, belawgiven (Milton) legislated to, be-Legion-of-Honoured, to be-lish-lash to whip soundly, to be-Mary to give us too much of ‘Mary,’ to be-pamphletize, to be-trash.

1814 Coleridge Let. 16 July, All last Sunday I was thoroughly *be-belzebubbed. 1864 Carlyle Fredk. Gt. IV. 316 Superb betailored running at the ring; *be-blacksmithed running at one another. 1850 W. Irving Salmag. ii. (1860) 39 This poor town‥has long been *be-Frenchman'd, *be-cockney'd, be-trash'd. 1593 Nashe Lent. Stuffe in Harl. Misc. VI. 157 (D.), Digests‥cited up in the precedents and *bedocumentized most locupleatley. 1698 T. Rymer Short View 146 Never was old deputy Recorder‥so blunder'd and *be-doultefied, as is our Poet. 1603 Florio Montaigne i. lvi. (1632) 173 In a cape-cloake-hood *befrenchifide. 1856 Southey's Lett. (1856) I. Pref. 14 Unnecessary disquisitions, or *be-Germanised excursuses. 1863 Grosart Small Sins 40 Only a ‘small sin,’ a smug, be-furred, be-combed, be-scented, be-ribboned, *be-lady-loved ‘little fox!’ 1643 Milton Divorce Wks. (1851) Introd. 6 The Almighty‥whom they do not deny to have *belawgiv'n his own sacred people with this very allowance. 1860 All Year Round No. 52. 34 The bestarred, beribboned, *be-Legion-of-Honoured‥pensioned throng. 1602 in Hazl. Dodsl. IX. 28 He that minds trishtrash‥Him will I *be-lish-lash. 1812 G. Colman Br. Grins, Lady of Wreck ii. x, The world has been much *be-Maryed of late‥we have innumerable sweet little stanzas‥ending with ‘my Mary.’ 1884 Punch 9 Feb. 62 The right to bespatter and *be-pamphletise any particular leader.