beaten (adj.) Look up beaten at Dictionary.com
"hammered" (of metal, etc.), c. 1300, from past participle of beat (v.), which alternates with beat with some distinctions of sense. Meaning "defeated" is from 1560s; that of "repeatedly struck" is from 1590s.
beater (n.) Look up beater at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "an implement for beating;" mid-15c., "a person who punishes" (c. 1200 as a surname); agent noun from beat (v.). Of various mechanical devices that "beat" in some sense from early 17c. Meaning "one who rouses game" is from 1825. Slang meaning "old car" is from c. 1980.
beatific (adj.) Look up beatific at Dictionary.com
1630s, from French béatifique or directly from Late Latin beatificus, from Latin beatus "blessed, happy," past participle of beare "make happy, bless" (see beatitude). Related: Beatifical (c. 1600); beatifically.
beatification (n.) Look up beatification at Dictionary.com
c. 1500, "act of rendering blessed," from Middle French béatification, noun of action and state from past participle stem of Late Latin beatificare (see beatify). As a papal declaration about the status of a deceased person, it dates from c. 1600.
beatify (v.) Look up beatify at Dictionary.com
1530s, "to make very happy," from Middle French béatifer, from Late Latin beatificare "make happy, make blessed," from Latin beatus "supremely happy, blessed" (past participle of beare "make happy, bless") + -ficare, from stem of facere "to make, do" (see factitious). The Roman Catholic Church sense of "to pronounce as being in heavenly bliss" (1620s) is the first step toward canonization. Related: Beatified; beatifying.
beating (n.) Look up beating at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, beatunge "action of inflicting blows," verbal noun from beat (v.). Meaning "pulsation" is recorded from c. 1600.
beatitude (n.) Look up beatitude at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "supreme happiness," from Middle French béatitude (15c.) and directly from Latin beatitudinem (nominative beatitudo) "state of blessedness," from past participle stem of beare "make happy" (see bene-). As "a declaration of blessedness" (usually plural, beatitudes, especially in reference to the Sermon on the Mount) it is attested from 1520s.
Beatlemania (n.) Look up Beatlemania at Dictionary.com
1963; see Beatles + mania.
The social phenomenon of Beatlemania, which finds expression in handbags, balloons and other articles bearing the likeness of the loved ones, or in the hysterical screaming of young girls whenever the Beatle Quartet performs in public. ["London Times," Dec. 27, 1963]
Beatles (n.) Look up Beatles at Dictionary.com
seminal rock and pop group formed in Liverpool, England; named as such 1960 (after a succession of other names), supposedly by then-bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, from beetles (on model of Buddy Holly's band The Crickets) with a pun on the musical sense of beat. Their global popularity dates to 1963.
beatnik (n.) Look up beatnik at Dictionary.com
coined 1958 by San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen during the heyday of -nik suffixes in the wake of Sputnik. From Beat generation (1952), associated with beat (n.) in its meaning "rhythm (especially in jazz)" as well as beat (past participle adjective) "worn out, exhausted," but originator Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) in 1958 connected it with beatitude.
The origins of the word beat are obscure, but the meaning is only too clear to most Americans. More than the feeling of weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of the mind. ["New York Times Magazine," Oct. 2, 1952]

"Beat" is old carny slang. According to Beat Movement legend (and it is a movement with a deep inventory of legend), Ginsberg and Kerouac picked it up from a character named Herbert Huncke, a gay street hustler and drug addict from Chicago who began hanging around Times Square in 1939 (and who introduced William Burroughs to heroin, an important cultural moment). The term has nothing to do with music; it names the condition of being beaten down, poor, exhausted, at the bottom of the world. [Louis Menand, "New Yorker," Oct. 1, 2007]
Beatrice Look up Beatrice at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from French Béatrice, from Latin beatrix, fem. of beatricem "who makes happy," from beatus "happy, blessed," past participle of beare "make happy, bless" (see beatitude).
beau (n.) Look up beau at Dictionary.com
"attendant suitor of a lady," 1720, from French beau "the beautiful," noun use of an adjective, from Old French bel "beautiful, handsome, fair, genuine, real" (11c.), from Latin bellus "handsome, fine, pretty, agreeable," diminutive of bonus "good" (see bene-). Meaning "man who attends excessively to dress, etiquette, etc.; a fop; a dandy" is from 1680s, short for French beau garçon "pretty boy" (1660s).
beau monde (n.) Look up beau monde at Dictionary.com
also beau-monde, "the fashionable world," 1714, French; see beau + monde, from Latin mundus "world" (see mundane).
beau-ideal (n.) Look up beau-ideal at Dictionary.com
1801, from French beau idéal "the ideal beauty, beautifulness as an abstract ideal," in which beau is the subject, but as English usually puts the adjective first, the sense has shifted in English toward "perfect type or model."
beaucoup Look up beaucoup at Dictionary.com
French, literally "a great heap," from beau "fine, great" (see beau (n.)) + coup "a stroke," also "a throw," hence, "a heap" (see coup (n.)). Compare Spanish golpe "multitude."
Beaufort scale Look up Beaufort scale at Dictionary.com
to measure wind velocity, developed 1806 by Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), surveyor and hydrologist.
Beaujolais (n.) Look up Beaujolais at Dictionary.com
type of Burgundy, 1863, from name of a district in the department of Lyonnais, France, which is named for the town of Beaujeu, from French beau "beautiful" + Latin jugum "hill."
beaut (n.) Look up beaut at Dictionary.com
1866, abbreviated form of beauty in the sense of "a beautiful thing or person."
beauteous (adj.) Look up beauteous at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from beauty + -ous. Now mostly limited to poetry and displaced elsewhere by beautiful. Related: Beauteously; beauteousness.
beautician (n.) Look up beautician at Dictionary.com
first recorded 1924, American English (the Cleveland, Ohio, telephone directory, to be precise), from beauty + ending as in technician. Beauty salon is from 1922, a substitution for prosaic beauty shop (1901).
beautification (n.) Look up beautification at Dictionary.com
1630s, from beauty + -fication "a making or causing."
beautiful (adj.) Look up beautiful at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "pleasing to the eye," from beauty + -ful. The beautiful people "the fashionable set" first attested 1964 in (where else?) "Vogue" (it also was the title of a 1941 play by U.S. dramatist William Saroyan). House Beautiful is from "Pilgrim's Progress," where it is a proper name of a place. Related: Beautifully.
beautify (v.) Look up beautify at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "to make beautiful," from beauty + -fy. Intransitive sense, "to become beautiful," is recorded from 1590s. Related: Beautified; beautifying.
beauty (n.) Look up beauty at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "physical attractiveness," also "goodness, courtesy," from Anglo-French beute, Old French biauté "beauty, seductiveness, beautiful person" (12c., Modern French beauté), earlier beltet, from Vulgar Latin bellitatem (nominative bellitas) "state of being handsome," from Latin bellus "pretty, handsome, charming," in classical Latin used especially of women and children, or ironically or insultingly of men, perhaps from PIE *dw-en-elo-, diminutive of root *deu- (2) "to do, perform; show favor, revere" (see bene-). Famously defined by Stendhal as la promesse de bonheur "the promise of happiness."
[I]t takes the one hundred men in ten million who understand beauty, which isn't imitation or an improvement on the beautiful as already understood by the common herd, twenty or thirty years to convince the twenty thousand next most sensitive souls after their own that this new beauty is truly beautiful. [Stendhal, "Life of Henry Brulard"]
Replaced Old English wlite. Concrete meaning "a beautiful woman" is first recorded late 14c. Beauty sleep "sleep before midnight" is attested by 1850. Beauty spot is from 1650s. Beauty parlor is from 1894.
The sudden death of a young woman a little over a week ago in a down-town "beauty parlor" has served to direct public attention to those institutions and their methods. In this case, it seems, the operator painted on or injected into the patron's facial blemish a 4-per-cent cocaine solution and then applied an electrode, the sponge of which was saturated with carbolized water. ["The Western Druggist," October 1894]
Beauté du diable (literally "devil's beauty") is used as a French phrase in English from 1825.
beaux arts (n.) Look up beaux arts at Dictionary.com
"the fine arts," 1821, from French; also in reference to Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and the widely imitated conventional type of art and architecture advocated there.
beaver (n.) Look up beaver at Dictionary.com
Old English beofor, befer (earlier bebr), from Proto-Germanic *bebruz (source also of Old Saxon bibar, Old Norse bjorr, Middle Dutch and Dutch bever, Low German bever, Old High German bibar, German Biber), from PIE *bhebhrus, reduplication of root *bher- (3) "brown, bright" (source also of Lithuanian bebrus, Czech bobr, Welsh befer; see bear (n.) for the likely reason for this). Gynecological sense ("female genitals, especially with a display of pubic hair") is 1927 British slang, perhaps transferred from earlier meaning "a bearded man" (1910), or directly from the appearance of split beaver pelts.
bebop (n.) Look up bebop at Dictionary.com
1944, from bebop, rebop, bop, nonsense words in jazz lyrics, attested from at least 1928. The style is associated with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
becalm (v.) Look up becalm at Dictionary.com
1550s, from be- + calm. Related: Becalmed; becalming.
became Look up became at Dictionary.com
past tense of become (q.v.).
because (conj.) Look up because at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, bi cause "by cause," modeled on French par cause. Originally a phrase, often followed by a subordinate clause introduced by that or why. One word from c. 1400. As an adverb from late 14c. Clipped form cause attested in writing by mid-15c.
bechamel (n.) Look up bechamel at Dictionary.com
1796, from French béchamel, named for Louis XIV's steward, Louis de Béchamel, marquis de Nointel (1630-1703), who perfected it. Gamillscheg identifies him as a great gourmet of the time ("eines bekannten Feinschmeckers des 17. Jhdts.").
bechance (v.) Look up bechance at Dictionary.com
1520s, from be- + chance. Related: Bechanced; bechancing.
beck (n.) Look up beck at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "mute signal," from noun use of bekken (v.), variant of becnan "to beckon" (see beckon). Transferred sense of "slightest indication of will" is from late 15c.
beck (v.) Look up beck at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, shortening of beckon. (v.).
beckon (v.) Look up beckon at Dictionary.com
Old English gebecnian (West Saxon beacnian) "to make a mute sign," derivative of beacen "a sign, beacon," from Proto-Germanic *bauknjan (source also of Old Saxon boknian, Old High German bouhnen), from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine" (see beacon). Related: Beckoned; beckoning. The noun is attested from 1718, from the verb.
becloud (v.) Look up becloud at Dictionary.com
1590s, from be- + cloud. Figurative sense of "to obscure" is recorded from 1610s. Related: Beclouded; beclouding.
become (v.) Look up become at Dictionary.com
Old English becuman "happen, come about," also "meet with, arrive," from Proto-Germanic *bikweman "become" (source also of Dutch bekomen, Old High German biqueman "obtain," German bekommen, Gothic biquiman). A compound of be- and come; it drove out Old English weorðan. Meaning "to look well" is early 14c., from earlier sense of "to agree with, be fitting" (early 13c.).
becoming (adj.) Look up becoming at Dictionary.com
"looking well," 1560s, from earlier sense of "fitting" (early 13c.), from present participle of become. Related: Becomingly; becomingness.
bed (n.) Look up bed at Dictionary.com
Old English bedd "bed, couch, resting place, garden plot," from Proto-Germanic *badjam "sleeping place dug in the ground" (source also of Old Frisian, Old Saxon bed, Middle Dutch bedde, Old Norse beðr, Old High German betti, German Bett, Gothic badi "bed"), from PIE root *bhedh- "to dig, pierce" (source also of Hittite beda- "to pierce, prick," Greek bothyros "pit," Latin fossa "ditch," Lithuanian bedre "to dig," Breton bez "grave"). Both "sleeping" and "gardening" senses are in Old English. Meaning "bottom of a lake, sea, watercourse" is from 1580s.
bed (v.) Look up bed at Dictionary.com
Old English beddian "to provide with a bed or lodgings," from bed (n.). From c. 1300 as "to go to bed," also "to copulate with, to go to bed with;" 1440 as "to lay out (land) in plots or beds." Related: Bedded; bedding.
bed-clothes (n.) Look up bed-clothes at Dictionary.com
also bedclothes, late 14c., from bed (n.) + clothes.
bed-rest (n.) Look up bed-rest at Dictionary.com
"device for sitting up in bed," by 1836; as "a resting in bed for recovery from injury or illness," by 1896; from bed (n.) + rest (n.).
bed-roll (n.) Look up bed-roll at Dictionary.com
1905, from bed (n.) + roll (n.).
bed-sore (n.) Look up bed-sore at Dictionary.com
"gangrene caused by anemia due to continued pressure," 1833, from bed (n.) + sore (n.)
bed-wetting (n.) Look up bed-wetting at Dictionary.com
1844, from bed (n.) + present participle of wet (v.). Related: Bed-wetter.
bedaub (v.) Look up bedaub at Dictionary.com
1550s, from be- + daub (v.). Related: Bedaubed; bedaubing.
bedazzle (v.) Look up bedazzle at Dictionary.com
1590s, from be- + dazzle (v.). Related: Bedazzled; bedazzling.
bedbug (n.) Look up bedbug at Dictionary.com
also bed-bug, 1772, from bed (n.) + bug (n.).
[The bed bug] is supposed to have been first introduced to this country in the fir timber that was brought over to rebuild London after it had suffered by the great fire; for it is generally said that Bugs were not known in England before that time, and many of them were found almost immediately afterwards in the new-built houses. [the Rev. W. Bingley, "Animal Biography; or Anecdotes of the Lives, Manners, and Economy of the Animal Creation," London, 1803]
bedchamber (n.) Look up bedchamber at Dictionary.com
also bed-chamber, mid-14c., from bed (n.) + chamber.
bedding (n.) Look up bedding at Dictionary.com
later Old English beddinge "bedding, bed covering," from bed. Meaning "bottom layer of anything" is from c. 1400.