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From Middle English umbesetten (to surround), from Old English ymbsettan (to set around, surround, beset, encompass), from Proto-Germanic *umbi (around) + *satjaną (to set); equivalent to um- +‎ beset or umbe- +‎ set. Compare also Old English ymbsittan (to sit around, surround), Dutch omzetten (to convert, transpose), German umsetzen (to move to another place, convert, transform, transplant, adjust, rearrange). More at umbe, set.


umbeset (third-person singular simple present umbesets, present participle umbesetting, simple past umbeset, past participle umbeset or umbesetten)

  1. (obsolete or dialectal, chiefly Scotland) To block, obstruct; act detrimentally toward.
    • 1828, John Spalding, The history of the troubles and memorable transactions in Scotland:
      The Lord Gordon ships with some friends. Monro umbesets his way; yet he escapes, ignorant of Monro's devyse.
    • 1891, William Robertson, Historic Ayrshire[1], volume 1, page 9:
      [] to underly the law at the lext Justice-aire of Renfrew, for umbesetting the high-way, by way of Murder;
    • 1922, J. Maitland Thomson, The Public Records of Scotland, Maclehose, Jackson and co., page 48:
      [] , and pressing to have bereft them of their lives by umbesetting of the high gates to that effect at divers times of before, []
    • 1972 (originally 1901), William Baird, General Wauchope, Books for Libraries Press, page 16:
      [] that king on one occasion, April 1535, having to grant a letter of protection in favour of him ‘and his wife and bairns’ against Sir Patrick Hepburn of Wauchtonne and thirty-four others for ‘umbesetting the highway for his slaughter.’
  2. (obsolete or dialectal, chiefly Scotland) To overwhelm; cover completely.
    • 1885, John Humberger, The Conquest and Triumph of Divine Wisdom and Love in Predestination, J. L. Traiger, unmarked page:
      The Opponents Umbeset with Trickery.
    • 1952, Walter Milton, The Goad of Love, Faber & Faber, page 201:
      But soothly, of sithes the more I am umbeset with anguish of heart, and destitute of all men’s comfort, the more favourable and godly I find her to me.
    • 1971, Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love, CCEL, page 164:
      Certainly a good soul umbeset with many diseases, and noyed with the heat of temptation, can not feel the sweetness of God’s love as it is in itself;

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