Level 1, Word 24: BESOTTED (bi-SAHT-id)
July 1, 2011Very drunk, extremely intoxicated; also, infatuated, obsessed.
The prefix be- has several meanings. It may mean to deprive of, as in behead. It may mean all around, on all sides, as in beset and besiege. It may mean all over, as in besmear, besprinkle, and beslobber. And it may mean completely, thoroughly, as in besotted, completely drunk. Other words in which the prefix be- means completely, thoroughly, include becalm, to calm completely; benumb, to numb thoroughly; and befuddle, which means either to make thoroughly drunk or to completely confuse, confound (word 34 of Level 2).
The noun a sot was first used, more than a thousand years ago, to mean a stupid person, a fool. Later sot came to mean a person who habitually drinks to excess, a drunkard, which is how the word is used today. The adjective besotted, which entered English in the 16th century, means rendered stupid or foolish either from drinking or by infatuation. Drunken sailors are besotted sailors, and in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Marc Antony becomes besotted with the exotic Egyptian queen.
Synonyms of besotted in the sense of “very drunk” include befuddled, groggy, addled (AD’ld), inebriated, befuddled, and stupefied. (The verb to stupefy is word 30 of Level 3.) Antonyms of besotted in the sense of “very drunk” include sober, temperate, and abstemious (ab-STEE-mee-us). Synonyms of besotted in the sense of “infatuated, obsessed” include captivated, smitten, enamored, enraptured, enthralled, and beguiled. Antonyms of besotted in the sense of “infatuated, obsessed’ include dispassionate (word 20 of Level 2), unruffled, and imperturbable (IM-pur-TUR-buh-bul).