1. An act of repeated hitting or striking.
a. A thorough defeat, as in an athletic contest.
b. A sharp reversal; a setback: Stocks took a beating from panicky investors.
3. An instance of rough or injurious treatment: The car took a beating on that rough road.
4. A throbbing or pulsation, as of the heart.
5. Physics The periodic variation in amplitude of a wave, especially that produced by the superposition of two waves of different frequencies, resulting in segments of more intense and then less intense wave phenomena, such as louder and then quieter sound.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.