The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Beat \Beat\, n.
1. A stroke; a blow.
He, with a careless beat,
Struck out the mute creation at a heat. --Dryden.
2. A recurring stroke; a throb; a pulsation; as, a beat of
the heart; the beat of the pulse.
(a) The rise or fall of the hand or foot, marking the
divisions of time; a division of the measure so
marked. In the rhythm of music the beat is the unit.
(b) A transient grace note, struck immediately before the
one it is intended to ornament.
4. (Acoustics & Mus.) A sudden swelling or re["e]nforcement
of a sound, recurring at regular intervals, and produced
by the interference of sound waves of slightly different
periods of vibrations; applied also, by analogy, to other
kinds of wave motions; the pulsation or throbbing produced
by the vibrating together of two tones not quite in
unison. See Beat, v. i., 8.
5. A round or course which is frequently gone over; as, a
watchman's beat; analogously, for newspaper reporters, the
subject or territory that they are assigned to cover; as,
the Washington beat.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
6. A place of habitual or frequent resort.
7. A cheat or swindler of the lowest grade; -- often
emphasized by dead; as, a dead beat; also, deadbeat.
Beat of drum (Mil.), a succession of strokes varied, in
different ways, for particular purposes, as to regulate a
march, to call soldiers to their arms or quarters, to
direct an attack, or retreat, etc.
Beat of a watch, or Beat of a clock, the stroke or sound
made by the action of the escapement. A clock is in beat
or out of beat, according as the stroke is at equal or