tr.v. be·set, be·set·ting, be·sets
1. To attack from all sides.
2. To trouble persistently; harass. See Synonyms at attack.
3. To hem in; surround: "the mountains which beset it round" (Nathaniel Hawthorne).
4. To stud, as with jewels.
[Middle English bisetten, from Old English besettan; see sed- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.