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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.
    Synonym: straddle
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur Book XXI, Chapter xiii, leaf 430v:
      & thou were the truest frende to thy louar that euer bestrade hors
      "And thou were the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrad horse"
    • 1816, William Wordsworth, Composed in Recollection of the Expedition of the French into Russia, February 1816[1], lines 27–31:
      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.
    • 1852, The Crystal Palace and Its Contents, page 139:
      The knightly Crusader bestrides a war-horse of heavy proportions , which he has suddenly reined in , as he waves on high a flag as a rallying sign for his followers.
    • 1885, Richard Burton, transl., The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night[2], published by private subscription, Vol. I edition, page 172:
      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 []
    • 1962 August, G. Freeman Allen, “Traffic control on the Great Northern Line”, in Modern Railways, page 128:
      Apart from the traffic that is originated within its own district, Doncaster is the hub of many important Eastern Region flows. [...] It bestrides busy routes to and from the Midlands and, of course, is a landmark on the East Coast trunk route between north and south.
    • 1967, Joseph Singer, Elaine Gottlieb, “Chapter 2”, in Farrar, Straus and Giroux, editor, The Manor, New York, translation of original by Isaac Bashevis Singer, part II, page 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[3], New York: Delacorte:
      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 June 8, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 6, in Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel, London: Secker & Warburg, →OCLC; republished [Australia]: Project Gutenberg of Australia, August 2001:
      He looked up again at the portrait of Big Brother. The colossus that bestrode the world!
    • 1962, Ezekiel Mphahlele, “Chapter 5”, in Frederick A. Praeger, editor, The African Image[4], New York, page 86:
      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, Theo D'haen, editors, Something Understood: Studies in Anglo-Dutch Literary Translation[5], Amsterdam: Rodopi, page 65:
      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]