Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



From Middle English besemen, bisemen, equivalent to be- +‎ seem.



beseem (third-person singular simple present beseems, present participle beseeming, simple past and past participle beseemed)

  1. (archaic, transitive and intransitive) To appear, seem, look (with some qualifying word).
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene:
      With that, her Angel's Face (unseen afore) Like to the ruddy Morn appear'd in sight, Dewed with silver Drops, thro sweating sore; But somewhat redder than beseem'd aright, Thro toilsom Heat, and Labour of her weary Fight.
    • 1843, Henry Barkley Henderson, The Bengalle, Or Sketches of Society in the East - Volume 1, page 330-331:
      His sword fell from his grasp -- his eye, late glaring with the ire of a sticken tiger, -- his brow, late speaking but death, and dark defiance, suddenly sank into the soft beseeming of gratefulness, and of betokened kindness and feeling.
    • 1915, Ruth Waterbury, Photoplay: The Aristocrat of Motion Picture Magazines:
      The mouth, artfully carmined to allure, beseems the red door of a white sepulchre.
    This inn beseems well for a weary traveller.
  2. (archaic, transitive and intransitive) To be appropriate or creditable (without qualifying word).
    • c. 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1, Act IV, Scene 7,[1]
      Give me their bodies, that I may bear them hence
      And give them burial as beseems their worth.
    • 1594, Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, London: William Jones,[2]
      Beseemes it thee to contradict thy king?
    • 1597, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, Book 5, in The Works of Mr. Richard Hooker, London: Andrew Crook, 1666, pp. 180-181,[3]
      Should we hereupon frame a Rule, that what form of speech or behaviour soever is fit for Suiters in a Prince’s Court, the same and no other beseemeth us in our Prayers to Almighty God.
    • 1643, Petition of the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly to the Kings Majesty, Edinburgh,[4]
      The Nationall Assembly of this Kirk, from which we have our Commission, did promise in their thanksgiving for the many favours expressed in Your Majesties Letter, their best endeavours to keep the people under their charge, in unity and peace, and in loyalty and obedience to Your Majestie and Your Laws, which we confesse is a duty well beseeming the preachers of the Gospel []
    • 1717, Samuel Croxall (translator), Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Fifteen Books. Translated by the most Eminent Hands, London: Jacob Tonson, Book 6, The Story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela, p. 202,[5]
      Her Vest, with Flow’rs of Gold embroider’d o’er,
      With Grief distress’d, the mournful Matron tore,
      And a beseeming Suit of gloomy Sable wore.
    • 1819,Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, Chapter 5,[6]
      “Lady,” said Cedric, “this beseems not; were further pledge necessary, I myself, offended, and justly offended, as I am, would yet gage my honour for the honour of Ivanhoe.”