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From Middle English bestriden, from Old English bestrīdan; equivalent to be- +‎ stride. Compare Dutch bestrijden, German bestreiten.



bestride (third-person singular simple present bestrides, present participle bestriding, simple past bestrode, past participle bestrode or bestridden or bestrid)

  1. (transitive) To be astride something, to stand over or sit on with legs on either side, especially to sit on a horse.
    • 1816, William Wordsworth, "Composed in Recollection of the Expedition of the French into Russia, February 1816" lines 27-31, [1]
      But fleeter far the pinions of the Wind, / Which from Siberian caves the monarch freed, / And sent him forth, with squadrons of his kind, / And bade the Snow their ample backs bestride, / And to the battle ride.
    • 1885, Richard Burton (translator), The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, published by private subscription, Vol. I, p. 172, [2]
      He threw in my way a piece of timber which I bestrided, and the waves tossed me to and fro till they cast me upon an island coast []
    • 1967, Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Manor, translated by Joseph Singer and Elaine Gottlieb, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Chapter 2, part II, p. 29,
      [] she would take the betrothal document from her father's chest of drawers and pore over the signature: Ezriel Babad. [] His signature seemed to bestride her own.
    • 1998, Christopher Reich, Numbered Account, New York: Delacorte, [3]
      He made out a stubby automobile bestriding the narrow road.
  2. (transitive) To stride over, or across.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To dominate.
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Act I Scene II:
      Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus [] .
    • 1949, George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Chapter 6, [4]
      He looked up again at the portrait of Big Brother. The colossus that bestrode the world!
    • 1962, Ezekiel Mphahlele, The African Image, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Chapter 5, p. 86, [5]
      You see, Jim Crow does it differently in Africa. His is a slow but tight and deadly squeeze. [] He bestrides this continent from Algiers to Cape Town, and the guns around his belt face east, west, south and north.
    • 1990, Anthony Paul, "Dutch Literature and the Translation Barrier" in Bart Westerweel and Theo D'haen (eds.), Something Understood: Studies in Anglo-Dutch Literary Translation, Amsterdam: Rodopi, p. 65, [6]
      Over the past two hundred years the English language has risen, seemingly irresistably, to its present position of world-bestriding supremacy.



Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle Low German bestriden


bestride (imperative bestrid, present tense bestrider, simple past bestred or bestrei or bestridde, past participle bestridd or bestridt, present participle bestridende)

  1. to contest or dispute (something)

Derived terms[edit]