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From Middle English begirden, from Old English begyrdan (to gird, clothe, surround, fortify), from Proto-Germanic *bi- + *gurdijaną (to gird), equivalent to be- +‎ gird. Cognate with Old High German begurtjan (to begird), Gothic 𐌱𐌹𐌲𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌳𐌰𐌽 (bigairdan, to begird). More at be-, gird.



begird (third-person singular simple present begirds, present participle begirding, simple past and past participle begirt or begirded)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To bind with a band or girdle; to gird.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To encircle, surround, as with a gird; enclose; encompass.
    • c. 1620s, John Webster, Appius and Virginia, London, 1654, Act II, Scene 1, pp. 16-17,[3]
      [] I will stand my self
      for the whole Regiment, and safer far
      in mine owne single valour, then begirt
      with cowards and with traitors.
    • 1717, Arthur Maynwaring (translator), Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Fifteen Books, London: Jacob Tonson, Book 5, “The Story of Perseus continu’d,” p. 148,[4]
      Perseus begirt, from all around they pour
      Their Lances on him, a tempestuous Show’r,
      Aim’d all at him []
    • 1755, Philip Doddridge, Hymns Founded on Various Texts in the Holy Scriptures, Salop, p. 1,[5]
      O lead me to that happy Path,
      Where I my GOD may meet;
      Tho’ Hosts of Foes begird it round,
      Tho’ Briars wound my Feet.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, Book 2, Chapter 23,[6]
      The chateau burned; the nearest trees, laid hold of by the fire, scorched and shrivelled; trees at a distance, fired by the four fierce figures, begirt the blazing edifice with a new forest of smoke.

Usage notes[edit]

Rare in forms other than the past participle/simple past begirt.