E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
To overcome or get the better of. This does not mean to strike, which is the Anglo-Saxon beátan, but to better, to be better, from the Anglo-Saxon verb bétan.
Dead beat. So completely beaten or wersted as to have no leg to stand on. Like a dead man with no fight left in him; quite tired out.
Im dead beat, but I thought Id like to come in and see you all once more.Roe: Without a Home, p. 32.
Dead beat escapement (of a watch). One in which there is no reverse motion of the escape-wheel.
That beats Banagher. Wonderfully inconsistent and absurd exceedingly ridiculous. Banagher is a town in Ireland, on the Shannon, in Kings County. It formerly sent two members to Parliament, and was, of course, a famous pocket borough. When a member spoke of a family borough where every voter was a man employed by the lord, it was not unusual to reply, Well, that beats Banagher.
Well, says he, to gratify them I will. So just a morsel. But, Jack, this beats Bannagher (sic).W. B. Yeats: Fairy Tales of the Irish Peasantry, p. 196.
That beats Termagant. Your ranting, raging pomposity, or exaggeration, surpasses that of Termagant (q.v.).
To beat hollow is to beat wholly, to be wholly the superior.
To beat up against the wind. To tack against an adverse wind; to get the better of the wind.