Musical representation of rhythm, a song has a certain bpm, or beats per minute.

Slang term for beatnik, but one actually used by them. Derived from "beat generation," which didn't refer to rhythm or music but actually to fatigue and oppression.

(n) 1. The area in which criminals operate, especially when enjoying eminent domain there, either through police protection or by the right of might. 2. A successfully accomplished theft. 3. An escape from prison or custody. "Phil made a nice beat out of the bughouse (insane asylum)."

(n) 1. To escape; to run away. 2. To win a discharge or acquittal. 3. To rob. "They beat the sucker for a nice pocket-touch (proceeds of his pockets)."

Beat a joint, Beat a mark, Beat a rap, Beat a stir, Beat a stretch

- american underworld dictionary - 1950

“Blows of your blade upon your opponent’s weapon—whether light or heavy—with a view of deflecting his point or opening a way for the thrust, are called Beats. They can be applied, in one way or another, from any position and against almost any position of your opponent, and are of extreme importance in the practise of the assault.”

--From The Art of the Foil, by Luigi Barbasetti

Bollocks. Beats are nearly useless.

Over and over again, one of the most common mistakes I see beginning fencers make is to overuse the beat. Barbasetti’s classical definition above is antiquated, as it is much more applicable to fencing as martial art then to fencing as sport. In reality, a beat does nothing to deflect your opponent’s point, nor does it open a way for the thrust. The only thing a beat is good for is to surprise your opponent.

Modern weapons are so light—even the epee—that unless you wind up and swing as hard as you can, you can’t generate the momentum you need to actually deflect your opponent’s point or blade any meaningful distance. Moreover, even if you did deflect your opponent’s blade, you’ve also deflected your blade from your original line to execute the beat, so you haven’t really gained any ground. (If you really want to get your opponent’s blade out of the way you’re going to do a bind or a prise de fer, which are whole different bags of worms.)

Plus, with the present right-of-way rules, a beat is meaningless—it doesn’t exist. The only thing that grants you right-of-way is the extension of your arm. Taking your opponent’s blade does not give you any material advantage as far as determining the priority of your attack.

Furthermore, when you beat you’ve pretty much just telegraphed your attack. You’ve done something substantial to let you opponent know that an attack is forthcoming—unless you just do nothing after the beat, in which case making the beat was a waste of time in the first place. Advancing without beating, while aggressive, leaves your opponent in a much worse position as far as determining when your final action is going to commence.

Assuming that the beat isn’t used frequently, however, beating can serve as a good way to momentarily “stun” your opponent. Consider: You attack ten times, varying your tempo and lines but never beating. Then, on the eleventh attack, you beat for the first time in the match. Perhaps it will accomplish nothing, but perhaps your opponent will be surprised and confused enough at your change in tactics enough to momentarily drop his guard and allow you to score an easy touch. That is how I employ the beat, and in my opinion the only time to ever do so.

Beat is the robotic blue attack bird with both offensive and defensive capabilities in the Mega Man series of video games. Constructed by Dr. Light and Dr. Cossack following the events of Mega Man 4, Beat was designed to assist Mega Man in his battles against Dr. Wily. First appearing in Mega Man 5, Mega Man had to find the eight letters that spelled out MEGAMANV hidden in robot master stages before Beat would become active. Once summoned, Beat would hover above Mega Man and, when sensing danger, would strike out at the closest enemy. Each attack used up three units of Beat's energy, however he could be recharged like any other robot master weapon in Mega Man's possession. The robobird played the same function in Mega Man 6 and Mega Man IV for the Game Boy provided that Mega Man found the four hidden letters that spell BEAT.

Beginning with Mega Man 7 Beat's function changed. Instead of attacking enemies, he now served to defend Mega Man. Provided that Beat was freed from his cage in Slash Man's stage, he would swoop in and rescue Mega Man from deadly falls down bottomless pits. Each rescue cost one Beat unit, and Mega Man could purchase additional units at Auto's store. In the 1997 arcade game Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters Beat can be summoned to provide a temporary sheild for Proto Man and Duo and he has a cameo in the FMV title Super Adventure Rockman.

Beat has fallen away from recent Mega Man games and it seemed that Capcom had planned to replace his function with Tango the attack cat in Mega Man V for the Game Boy, but even that character has been forgotten after making only a single appearance. Beat's final fate is unknown, although he was an integral part of the series for a while. After all, he is the weapon of choice for bringing down Dr. Wily in Mega Man 5.


"Beat" can also be defined as a given individual or group's assigned territory. It is commonly used in this context to describe various aspects of journalism and police work.

A police officer or a reporter may be assigned a particular area in which he or she perhaps has more knowledge or experience than other areas. For instance, a police officer may be assigned to a certain area of the jurisdiction or a certain topic, such as narcotics. A reporter may be assigned to regularly cover crime, city hall, local sports and so on.

Since I know more about reporting than I do about police work, the rest of this writeup will focus on beat reporting.

When a journalist starts out in the industry, he or she is usually either given a reasonably mundane beat or no beat at all. The state of not having a beat is what is commonly known as "general assignment," where the reporter can be assigned any variety of story within the section of the publication for which he or she works.

Beats are usually assigned when a reporter has demonstrated a great deal of agility and competence in a particular area. Those reporters are usually known by their beats -- crime reporting, court reporting and so on.

It's important not to confuse reporters' beats with the sections that exist in the newspaper. Reporters who work for a newspaper's sports section are not thought of as being on a "sports beat." Beats can exist within a sports section, however; individual sports such as hockey, basketball and baseball often have their own beat reporters. Depending on the size and location of the paper, there may be a minor league and college sports beat reporter as well.

Reporters don't generally change beats on a regular basis. Once you're a court reporter, you're a court reporter for a while. There is often some switching between related beats; a court reporter could easily adjust to life as a crime reporter, a city hall reporter might eventually move on to other political reporting, etc.

The upside to having a beat is that you get to know your subject matter and, quite often, the people you report on very well. This means that the reporter will probably not have to research completely new topics every day, and can at the very least have some idea of what he or she will be writing in the future.

The downside is that it might get to be boring. Some beat reporters, such as political reporters, might also find themselves in an uncomfortable position when they find themselves becoming friendly with the people they cover. Even the most cordial professional relationship can get ugly when a politician divulges information to a reporter with the intention of damaging a co-worker's reputation. It's happened.

Despite potential drawbacks, a beat is usually something journalists aspire to obtain. They have to prove themselves as capable reporters in order to be trusted with a beat, and beats generally ensure that their articles will be read. They also help to generate name recognition among the readership, as readers may come to expect certain bylines to be on certain types of stories.

I go to journalism school. I know about beats.
My grandfather was a police officer, as well. I know about beats.

In stage script speak, a beat is the term used to indicate that the actor should pause while reading a line. This tends to carry more weight than the pause that would be connotated from a comma or a period - while the other two are merely punctuation marks, used to indicate the flow of the line, a beat emphasizes the empty space. When a writer wants the character to express a change in their train of thought or emotion, or if they want to leave space for reactions, they will make use of a beat. A beat lasts for different lengths, depending on the writer, but the general idea is that a beat lasts around the same length as a long breath would.

Other words which, in a script, mean something similar (but not quite the same) as a beat include:

-Pause, which usually signifies a longer and heavier break in the dialogue than a beat.

-Silence, which usually is much longer than a pause.

-Space, which is much rarer and really can't be generalized.

Of course, writers being as finicky as they are, there are no absolutes in these definitions. Some writers use "pause" to mean just a simple, short pause, and others don't use any wording other than normal punctuation.

Perhaps more commonly (even though the term "beat" as described above is nearly universal in stage plays), a beat can be used to refer to an important moment inside of a script. In both writing for the stage and writing for the screen, the writer begins with a list of the beats of their script - the "beat sheet" - and then begins writing their script out from there. In American movies, beats tend to fall at a rate of roughly one beat every five minutes.

Beat (bEt), v. t. [imp. Beat; p. p. Beat, Beaten (&?;); p. pr. & vb. n. Beating.] [OE. beaten, beten, AS. beátan; akin to Icel. bauta, OHG. b&?;zan. Cf. 1st Butt, Button.]


To strike repeatedly; to lay repeated blows upon; as, to beat one's breast; to beat iron so as to shape it; to beat grain, in order to force out the seeds; to beat eggs and sugar; to beat a drum.

Thou shalt beat some of it [spices] very small.
Ex. xxx. 36.

They did beat the gold into thin plates.
Ex. xxxix. 3.


To punish by blows; to thrash.


To scour or range over in hunting, accompanied with the noise made by striking bushes, etc., for the purpose of rousing game.

To beat the woods, and rouse the bounding prey.


To dash against, or strike, as with water or wind.

A frozen continent . . . beat with perpetual storms.


To tread, as a path.

Pass awful gulfs, and beat my painful way.


To overcome in a battle, contest, strife, race, game, etc.; to vanquish or conquer; to surpass.

He beat them in a bloody battle.

For loveliness, it would be hard to beat that.
M. Arnold.


To cheat; to chouse; to swindle; to defraud; -- often with out. [Colloq.]


To exercise severely; to perplex; to trouble.

Why should any one . . . beat his head about the Latin grammar who does not intend to be a critic?

9. (Mil.)

To give the signal for, by beat of drum; to sound by beat of drum; as, to beat an alarm, a charge, a parley, a retreat; to beat the general, the reveille, the tattoo. See Alarm, Charge, Parley, etc.

To beat down, to haggle with (any one) to secure a lower price; to force down. [Colloq.] --
To beat into, to teach or instill, by repetition. --
To beat off, to repel or drive back. --
To beat out, to extend by hammering. --
To beat out of a thing, to cause to relinquish it, or give it up. "Nor can anything beat their posterity out of it to this day." South. --
To beat the dust. (Man.)

(a) To take in too little ground with the fore legs, as a horse.
(b) To perform curvets too precipitately or too low. --
To beat the hoof, to walk; to go on foot. --
To beat the wing, to flutter; to move with fluttering agitation. --
To beat time, to measure or regulate time in music by the motion of the hand or foot. --
To beat up, to attack suddenly; to alarm or disturb; as, to beat up an enemy's quarters.

Syn. -- To strike; pound; bang; buffet; maul; drub; thump; baste; thwack; thrash; pommel; cudgel; belabor; conquer; defeat; vanquish; overcome.


© Webster 1913

Beat, v. i.


To strike repeatedly; to inflict repeated blows; to knock vigorously or loudly.

The men of the city . . . beat at the door.
Judges. xix. 22.


To move with pulsation or throbbing.

A thousand hearts beat happily.


To come or act with violence; to dash or fall with force; to strike anything, as rain, wind, and waves do.

Sees rolling tempests vainly beat below.

They [winds] beat at the crazy casement.

The sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die.
Jonah iv. 8.

Public envy seemeth to beat chiefly upon ministers.


To be in agitation or doubt. [Poetic]

To still my beating mind.

5. (Naut.)

To make progress against the wind, by sailing in a zigzag line or traverse.


To make a sound when struck; as, the drums beat.

7. (Mil.)

To make a succession of strokes on a drum; as, the drummers beat to call soldiers to their quarters.

8. (Acoustics & Mus.)

To sound with more or less rapid alternations of greater and less intensity, so as to produce a pulsating effect; -- said of instruments, tones, or vibrations, not perfectly in unison.

A beating wind (Naut.), a wind which necessitates tacking in order to make progress. --
To beat about, to try to find; to search by various means or ways. Addison. --
To beat about the bush, to approach a subject circuitously. --
To beat up and down (Hunting), to run first one way and then another; -- said of a stag. --
To beat up for recruits, to go diligently about in order to get helpers or participators in an enterprise.


© Webster 1913

Beat (&?;), n.


A stroke; a blow.

He, with a careless beat,
Struck out the mute creation at a heat.


A recurring stroke; a throb; a pulsation; as, a beat of the heart; the beat of the pulse.

3. (Mus.)


The rise or fall of the hand or foot, marking the divisions of time; a division of the measure so marked. In the rhythm of music the beat is the unit.


A transient grace note, struck immediately before the one it is intended to ornament.

4. (Acoustics & Mus.)

A sudden swelling or reënforcement of a sound, recurring at regular intervals, and produced by the interference of sound waves of slightly different periods of vibrations; applied also, by analogy, to other kinds of wave motions; the pulsation or throbbing produced by the vibrating together of two tones not quite in unison. See Beat, v. i., 8.


A round or course which is frequently gone over; as, a watchman's beat.


A place of habitual or frequent resort.


A cheat or swindler of the lowest grade; -- often emphasized by dead; as, a dead beat. [Low]

Beat of drum (Mil.), a succession of strokes varied, in different ways, for particular purposes, as to regulate a march, to call soldiers to their arms or quarters, to direct an attack, or retreat, etc. --
Beat of a watch, or clock, the stroke or sound made by the action of the escapement. A clock is in beat or out of beat, according as the stroke is at equal or unequal intervals.


© Webster 1913

Beat, a.

Weary; tired; fatigued; exhausted. [Colloq.]

Quite beat, and very much vexed and disappointed.


© Webster 1913

Beat, n.


One that beats, or surpasses, another or others; as, the beat of him. [Colloq.]


The act of one that beats a person or thing; as:

(a) (Newspaper Cant)

The act of obtaining and publishing a piece of news by a newspaper before its competitors; also, the news itself; a scoop.

It's a beat on the whole country.
Scribner's Mag.

(b) (Hunting)

The act of scouring, or ranging over, a tract of land to rouse or drive out game; also, those so engaged, collectively. "Driven out in the course of a beat." Encyc. of Sport.

Bears coming out of holes in the rocks at the last moment, when the beat is close to them.
Encyc. of Sport.

(c) (Fencing)

A smart tap on the adversary's blade.


© Webster 1913

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