beating (n.)
c. 1200, beatunge "action of inflicting blows," verbal noun from beat (v.). Meaning "pulsation" is recorded from c. 1600. Nautical sense of "sailing against the wind" is by 1883.
beatitude (n.)
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 Beatrice). Attested from 1520s as "a declaration of blessedness" (usually plural, beatitudes, especially in reference to the Sermon on the Mount).
Beatlemania (n.)
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.)
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.)
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 (adj.) "worn out, exhausted," and Century Dictionary (1902) has slang beat (n.) "a worthless, dishonest, shiftless fellow." 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]
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," which is possibly from PIE *dweye-, suffixed form of root *deu- (2) "to do, perform; show favor, revere." De Vaan finds the connection "semantically attractive, but the morphology is unclear."
beau (n.)
"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" (see belle). Meaning "man who attends excessively to dress, etiquette, etc.; a fop; a dandy" is from 1680s, short for French beau garçon "pretty boy" (1660s). Plural is beaus or beaux. Beau Brummel, arbiter of men's fashion in Regency London, was George B. Brummel, gentleman (1778-1840).
beau-ideal (n.)
"beautifulness or excellence as an abstract ideal," 1801, from French beau idéal "the ideal beauty, ideal excellence," in which beau is the subject, but as English word-order usually has the adjective first, the sense has shifted in English toward "perfect type or model."
beau-monde (n.)
also beau monde, "the fashionable world," 1714, French, from beau (see beau) + monde, from Latin mundus "world" (see mundane).
French, literally "a great heap" (13c.), from beau "fine, great" (see beau (n.)) + coup "a stroke," also "a throw," hence, "a heap" (see coup (n.)). Compare Spanish golpe "multitude," from the same Latin source.
Beaufort scale
to measure wind velocity, developed 1806 by Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), surveyor and hydrologist.
Beaujolais (n.)
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.)
1866, abbreviated form of beauty in the sense of "a beautiful thing or person."
beauteous (adj.)
"having beauty, pleasing to the senses," mid-15c., from beauty + -ous. In modern times mostly limited in use to poetry and displaced elsewhere by beautiful. Related: Beauteously; beauteousness.
beautician (n.)
first recorded 1924, American English (Mencken found it in the Cleveland, Ohio, telephone directory), from beauty + ending as in technician. Beauty salon is from 1912, a substitution for prosaic beauty shop (1898). 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]
beautification (n.)
"act of making beautiful," 1630s, from beauty + -fication "a making or causing."
beautiful (adj.)
mid-15c., "pleasing to the eye (or ear) or mind or soul," from beauty + -ful. The beautiful people "the fashionable set" first attested 1964 in "Vogue" magazine (it also was the title of a 1941 play by U.S. dramatist William Saroyan). As a noun, "that which possesses beauty," from 1756. House Beautiful is from "Pilgrim's Progress," where it is a proper name of a place. Related: Beautifully.
beautify (v.)
mid-15c., "to make beautiful," from beauty + -fy. Intransitive sense, "to become beautiful," is recorded from 1590s but is rare. Related: Beautified; beautifying.
beauty (n.)
early 14c., bealte, "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 pleasing to the senses" (source also of Spanish beldad, Italian belta), 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." 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" in English is first recorded late 14c. Beauty-sleep "sleep before midnight" (popularly regarded as the most refreshing) is attested by 1850. Beauty-spot "dark spot placed on the face formerly by women to heighten beauty" is from 1650s. Beauty-contest is from 1885; beauty-queen is from 1922 (earlier it was a show-name of cattle and hogs). Beauté du diable (literally "devil's beauty") is used as a French phrase in English from 1825.
But as it is hardly possible to define all the properties which constitute beauty, we may observe in general, that beauty consists in whatever pleases the eye of the beholder, whether in the human body, in a tree, in a landscape or in any other object. [from definition of BEAUTY in Noah Webster's "Dictionary of the English Language," 1828]
beaux arts (n.)
"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.2)
"lower face-guard of a helmet," early 15c., from Old French baviere, originally "child's bib," from bave "saliva."
beaver (n.1)
"large amphibious quadruped rodent of the genus Castor," 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- (2) "bright; brown" (source also of Lithuanian bebrus, Czech bobr, Welsh befer; see bear (n.) for the likely reason for this).

Formerly valued and hunted for its fur, which was used in the manufacture of hats, so much so that beaver could mean "hat" from 1520s and continued so into 19c. even after they began to be made of silk or other material. The 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.)
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.)
1550s in nautical use, "deprive a ship of wind," from be- + calm. Meaning "make calm or still" is from 1610s. Related: Becalmed; becalming.
past tense of become (q.v.).
because (conj.)
late 14c., from phrase bi cause, introducing a subordinate clause or phrase, "by cause, for the reason that," from by (prep.) + cause (n.). Modeled on French par cause. Originally often followed by that or why. As an adverb, "by reason, on account" (with of), from late 14c. Clipped form cause (sometimes 'cause) is attested in writing by mid-15c.
bechamel (n.)
white sauce used in cookery, 1769, 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.)
"to happen, chance," 1520s, from be- + chance (v.). Related: Bechanced; bechancing.
beche-de-mer (n.)
"sea-slug eaten as a delicacy in the Western Pacific," 1814, from French bêche-de-mer, literally "spade of the sea," a folk-etymology alteration of Portuguese bicho do mar "sea-slug," literally "worm of the sea."
beck (n.)
late 14c., "nod or other mute signal intended to express desire or command," a noun use from Middle English bekken (v.), variant of becnan "to beckon" (see beckon). Transferred sense of "slightest indication of will" is from late 15c.
beck (v.)
"to signal by a nod or gesture," c. 1300, shortening of beckon. (v.).
beckon (v.)
Old English gebecnian (West Saxon beacnian) "to make a mute sign, signal by a nod or gesture," from Proto-Germanic *bauknjan (source also of Old Saxon boknian, Old High German bouhnen), from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine" (compare beacon). Related: Beckoned; beckoning. The noun is attested from 1718, from the verb.
becloud (v.)
1590s, "cover with clouds," from be- + cloud. Figurative sense of "to obscure" is recorded from 1610s. Related: Beclouded; beclouding.
become (v.)
Old English becuman "happen, come about, befall," also "meet with, fall in with; arrive, approach, enter," from Proto-Germanic *bikweman (source also of Dutch bekomen, Old High German biqueman "obtain," German bekommen, Gothic biquiman). A compound of the sources of be- and come.

Meaning "change from one state of existence to another" is from 12c. Older sense preserved in what has become of it? It drove out Old English weorðan "to befall." Meaning "to look well, suit or be suitable to" is early 14c., from earlier sense of "to agree with, be fitting or proper" (early 13c.).
becoming (adj.)
"looking well, aesthetically befitting," 1560s, from earlier sense of "fitting, proper" (early 13c.), present-participle adjective from become. Related: Becomingly; becomingness.
bed (v.)
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 (n.)
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 the sleeping and gardening senses are found in Old English; the specific application to planting is found also in Middle High German and is the only sense of Danish bed. Meaning "bottom of a lake, sea, or watercourse" is from 1580s. Geological sense of "a thick layer, stratum" is from 1680s. Bed and board "in bed and at the table" (early 13c.) was a term in old law applied to conjugal duties of man and wife; it also could mean "meals and lodging, room and board" (mid-15c.). Bed-and-breakfast in reference to overnight accommodations is from 1838; as a noun, in reference to a place offering such, by 1967.
bed-board (n.)
also bedboard, "head- or foot-board of a bed," early 15c., from bed (n.) + board (n.1).
bed-clothes (n.)
also bedclothes, "coverings used on beds, such as sheets, blankets, quilts, etc.," late 14c., from bed (n.) + clothes. Old English had beddclað.
bed-rest (n.)
by 1836 as "device for sitting up in bed;" by 1896 as "a resting in bed for recovery from injury or illness;" from bed (n.) + rest (n.).
bed-roll (n.)
"bedding rolled up in a bundle," 1905, from bed (n.) + roll (n.). There is a citation of an identical word from 1650s in the sense "a list of women for sleeping with."
bed-sore (n.)
"gangrene caused by anemia due to continued pressure," 1833, from bed (n.) + sore (n.). A kind of ulcer liable to afflict persons long confined in bed and unable to change position.
bed-swerver (n.)
"one false or unfaithful to a marriage bed," 1610s, from bed (n.) + agent noun from swerve (v.).
bed-wetting (n.)
"involuntary urination while sleeping," 1844, from bed (n.) + present participle of wet (v.). Related: Bed-wetter.
bedaub (v.)
"besmear, soil," 1550s, from be- + daub (v.). Related: Bedaubed; bedaubing.
bedazzle (v.)
"to blind by excess of light," 1590s, from be- + dazzle (v.). Also figurative. Related: Bedazzled; bedazzling.
bedbug (n.)
also bed-bug, "blood-sucking insect that infests beds and bedding," 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.)
also bed-chamber, "a room for sleep or repose," mid-14c., from bed (n.) + chamber (n.). Now mostly archaic and replaced by bedroom.
beddable (adj.)
"sexually attractive," 1941, from bed + -able.
bedding (n.)
late Old English beddinge "materials of a bed, bed covering," from bed (n.). Meaning "bottom layer of anything" is from c. 1400.