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n. 1 A boast, threat, boastful speech 2 boastfulness


A bēot is Old English for a ritualized boast, vow, threat, or promise. The principle of a bēot is to proclaim one's acceptance of a seemingly impossible challenge in order to gain tremendous glory for actually accomplishing it.

Anglo-Saxon warriors would usually deliver bēots in the mead hall the night before a military engagement or during the battle itself. For example, a typical warrior may boast that he will be the first to strike a blow in a battle, that he would claim a renowned sword from enemy warrior as spoils of battle, that he will slay a particular monster that has been wreaking havoc on a town or village, and so on. Bēots were usually accompanied by grand stories of one's past glorious deeds. Although other cultures and times might disdain boasting as a sign of arrogance, or sinful pride, the pagan Anglo-Saxons highly regarded such behavior as a positive sign of one's determination, bravery, and character.

Examples of the bēot can be seen throughout the epic poem Beowulf, such as when Beowulf vows to fight Grendel without using any weapons or armor.