beset /bɪˈsɛt/


I. verb [with obj.]

1. (of a problem or difficulty) trouble (someone or something) persistently

the social problems that beset the UK
she was beset with self-doubt.
2. surround and harass

I was beset by clouds of flies.
3. hem in

the ship was beset by ice and finally sank.
4. ( be beset with)
‹archaic› be covered or studded with

springy grass all beset with tiny jewel-like flowers.
II. phrases

besetting sin
a fault to which a person or institution is especially prone.

there was a danger of the country reverting to its besetting sin of complacency.
– origin Old English besettan, from be- ‘about’ + settan (see set1).

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