a prefix of western Germanic origin, meaning `about',`around', `all over', and hence having an intensive and often disparaging force, much used as an English formative of verbs (and their derivatives), as in besiege, becloud, bedaub, beplaster, bepraise, and often serving to form transitive verbs from intransitives or from nouns or adjectives, as in begrudge, belabour, befriend, belittle.

{Middle English, Old English, unstressed form of by}

Australian English dictionary. 2014.

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