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Etymology 1[edit]

From be- +‎ stead (to support, help).

Alternative forms[edit]


bestead (third-person singular simple present besteads, present participle besteading, simple past besteaded, past participle bestead)

  1. (transitive) To help, assist.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 40, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes [], book I, London: [] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      even errours and dreames, doe profitably bestead her, as a loyall matter, to bring us unto safetie and contentment.
    • And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
    • 1839, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coleridge's Literary Remains, Volume 4:
      I received also the blessed Sacrament with many tears; though yet, in my opinion, they were not shed with that sense and grief, for only my having offended God, which might have served to save my soul; if the error into which I was brought by them who told me that some things were not mortal sins, (which afterward I saw plainly that they were) might not somewhat bestead me.
    • 1956, Haïm Hazaz, Mori Sa'id:
      "No, but you must tell me, no matter what; perhaps I may give you good counsel and bestead you in your trouble."
  2. (transitive) To profit; benefit; serve; avail.
    • 1859, Southern literary messenger: Volume 28:
      With forty sous which remained, he went to a low gambling house, where fortune, or something surer to the skilful practitioner, so well besteaded him that he was able to clothe himself decently preparatory to entering Frascati's, the fashionable hell of Paris—a den of abomination early suppressed on the accession of Louis Philippe to the French throne.
    • 2007, Miguel De Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life:
      Abstract thought besteads immortality only in order that it may kill me as an individual being with an individual existence, and so make me immortal, pretty much in the same way as that famous physician in one of Holberg's plays, [].


Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English bisteden; equivalent to be- +‎ stead (place).


bestead (third-person singular simple present besteads, present participle besteading, simple past and past participle besteaded)

  1. (transitive) To take the place of; replace.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English bistad; equivalent to be- + Old Norse staddr (placed), later assimilated to Etymology 1, above.

Alternative forms[edit]


bestead (not comparable)

  1. (archaic) Placed (in a given situation); beset.
    • 1897, Jeanie Gould Lincoln, An Unwilling Maid[1]:
      "I was indeed hard bestead, sir," burst in Oliver.
  2. (obsolete) Disposed mentally; affected.
    sorrowfully bested
  3. (obsolete) Provided; furnished.