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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English beheten, behoten (preterite behighte), from Old English behātan (to promise, vow, pledge oneself, threaten) (preterite behēhte), corresponding to be- +‎ hight. Cognate with Scots beheit, behecht (to promise, vow), Middle High German beheizen (to promise).


behight (third-person singular simple present behights, present participle behighting, simple past and past participle behight or behighted)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To vow, promise (someone).
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book II:
      Thenne I behote yow sayd Balyn parte of his blood to hele youre sone with alle.
  2. (dialectal, Northern England) To be designated.
    Wheea behight thee? = What is your name/to whom do you belong?
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To give in trust; to commit; to entrust.
    • Spenser
      The keys are to thy hand behight.
  4. (obsolete) To mean, or intend.
    • Mirror for Magistrates
      More than heart behighteth.
  5. (obsolete) To consider or esteem to be; to declare to be.
    • Spenser
      All the lookers-on him dead behight.
  6. (obsolete) To call; to name; to address.
    • Spenser
      Whom [] he knew and thus behight.
  7. To command; to order.
    • Spenser
      He behight those gates to be unbarred.