Forming verbs and adjectives.
[Old English, weak form of bī, by.]
This prefix has been productive in the past, but is rarely used to make new words today. It appears in some adverbs and prepositions that indicate position, as in behind, below, beneath, between, and beyond.
Its main function has been to create transitive verbs, ones able to take a direct object, from nouns or adjectives: befoul, befriend, beguile, belittle, besiege, bewitch. In some cases, it changes an existing verb from being intransitive to transitive: becloud, bemoan, bestride. It can also intensify the action of an existing verb, suggesting that something is happening thoroughly or excessively: bedazzle, belabour, besmear, bewail.
In combination with -ed2 it forms participial adjectives from nouns, often implying that a object or person is furnished with something: bejewelled, beribboned, bespectacled, bewhiskered.