Be beset vs Besiege

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Sherlockat

Senior Member
Castilian (Patagonian)
Hi guys!

Do the verbs besiege and be beset have the same meaning?
For instance: He was beset by doubts and he was besieged by doubts.

Thanks in anticipation for any help
 
  • Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Beset is more personal, beseiged is more communal. 'Beset by doubts' is the only idiomatic phrase for me, though 'beseiged' would not be wrong, just unusual. We talk of towns being beseiged, rather than an individual.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    to beset = to surround with violent intent; to be plagued with; to be extremely troubled by; -> this does not have the meaning of preventing the movement of someone or something.
    To besiege = to surround so as to isolate (often by keeping captive.)

    I am beset by/with evil thoughts - wherever I go, the thoughts are always there and they are troubling me.
    I am besieged by evil thoughts - I can do nothing because of these evil thoughts.

    Compare:
    beset - I will set my dog onto you
    besiege - I will lay siege to your castle.
     
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