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From Middle English besingen, from Old English besingan (to sing of, bewail, sing charms, enchant), from Proto-Germanic *bisingwaną (to sing about), equivalent to be- (of, about) +‎ sing. Cognate with Dutch bezingen (to sing of, chant), German besingen (to sing of, sing the praises of), Swedish besjunga (to sing of).


besing (third-person singular simple present besings, present participle besinging, simple past besang, past participle besung)

  1. (transitive) To sing of or sing about; celebrate in song or poetry; sing the praises of; praise; laud.
    • 1728, William Shakespeare, Mr. Theobald (Lewis), John Fletcher, Double falshood:
      I have read Stories, (I fear, too true ones;) how young Lords, like you, Have thus besung mean Windows, rhymed their Sufferings Ev'n to th' Abuse of Things Divine, set up Plain Girls, like me, the Idols of their Worship, Then left them []
    • 1854, Thomas Carlyle, Burns:
      Let him dwindle into a modish balladmonger; let him worship and besing the idols of the time, and the time will not fail to reward him.
    • 1972, Isobel Armstrong, Victorian scrutinies:
      And in the meanwhile, how can a poet better employ himself (provided he does not confine his subject-matter to the Greeks, who have already besung themselves far better than we can sing them, and to the Romans, who were besung by our Elizabethan poets better than they ever will be sung again), [...]
    • 2001, Jørgen Bruhn, Jan Lundquist, The novelness of Bakhtin: perspectives and possibilities:
      [] Blanckenburg pointed out that one of the differences between the epic and the novel was that the classic epic was a "heroic poem" besinging the "public acts and events", the "actions of the citizen"; []
  2. (transitive) To sing to.

Derived terms[edit]