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The rhythmic or musical quality of a poem. In metrical verse, this is determined by the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. However, free verse often features a beat e.g. the work of Walt Whitman. Beat is one of the main things distinguishing poetry from prose.

[n] the act of beating to windward; sailing as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
[n] a stroke or blow; "the signal was two beats on the steam pipe"
[n] a regular rate of repetition; "the cox raised the beat"
[n] the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music; "the piece has a fast rhythm"; "the conductor set the beat"
[n] (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
[n] the sound of stroke or blow; "he heard the beat of a drum"
[n] the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart; "he could feel the beat of her heart"
[n] a regular route for a sentry or policeman; "in the old days a policeman walked a beat and knew all his people by name"
[n] a member of the beat generation; a nonconformist in dress and behavior
[n] a single pulsation of an oscillation produced by adding two waves of different frequencies; has a frequency equal to the difference between the two oscillations
[v] be a mystery or bewildering to; "This beats me!"; "Got me--I don't know the answer!"; "a vexing problem"
[v] wear out completely; "This kind of work exhausts me"; "I'm beat"; "He was all washed up after the exam"
[v] come out better in a competition, race, or conflict; "Agassi beat Becker in the tennis championship"; "We beat the competition"; "Harvard defeated Yale in the last football game"
[v] beat through cleverness and wit; "I beat the traffic"; "She outfoxed her competitors"
[v] make by pounding or trampling; "beat a path through the forest"
[v] give a beating to; subject to a beating, either as a punishment or as an act of aggression; "Thugs beat him up when he walked down the street late at night"; "The teacher used to beat the students"
[v] hit repeatedly; "beat on the door"; "beat the table with his shoe"
[v] strike (water or bushes) repeatedly to rouse animals for hunting
[v] strike (a part of one's own body) repeatedly, as in great emotion or in accompaniment to music; "beat one's breast"; "beat one's foot rhythmically"
[v] stir vigorously; "beat the egg whites"; "beat the cream"
[v] shape by beating; "beat swords into ploughshares"
[v] produce a rhythm by striking repeatedly; "beat the drum"
[v] move with or as if with a regular alternating motion; "the city pulsated with music and excitement"
[v] move rhythmically; "Her heart was beating fast"
[v] indicate by beating; as with the fingers or drumsticks; "Beat the rhythm"
[v] sail with much tacking or with difficulty; "The boat beat in the strong wind"
[v] move with a flapping motion; "The bird's wings were flapping"
[v] move with a thrashing motion; "The bird flapped its wings"; "The eagle beat its wings and soared high into the sky"
[v] glare or strike with great intensity; "The sun was beating down on us"
[v] make a rhythmic sound; "Rain drummed against the windshield"; "The drums beat all night"
[v] make a sound like a clock or a timer; "the clocks were ticking"; "the grandfather clock beat midnight"
[v] deprive somebody of something by deceit; "The con-man beat me out of $50"; "This salesman ripped us off!"; "we were cheated by their clever-sounding scheme"; "They chiseled me out of my money"
[v] be superior; "Reading beats watching television"; "This sure beats work!"

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