I'm currently doing some research for my thesis and one of the books I read lists the following entity as the author. "NIST Tech Beat"

Now I know NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The citation refers to a website and I'm guessing it refers to their web masters or tech crew?

What would be a suitable synonym or definition for this word?

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's asking us to explain the (funky?! :) choice of a particular word in the context of an "online magazine" title. Apr 17, 2015 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


If you check the definition of beat when used as a noun, you will see the following entry:

2.3 A person’s area of interest:

his beat is construction, property, and hotels

That is most likely the context applicable to "NIST Tech Beat".

"Beat", however, is a very flexible word. There are other meanings that can lend more interesting, figurative connotations to the word as used in the name. For example, "beat" can be used to mean "regular, rhythmic sound or movement" (same source as above), and if "Tech Beat" is taken to carry this connotation, it could simply refer to the regularity with which the publication is issued by NIST.

Another fun possibility is if the word "beat" is taken to carry the connotation of "an area allocated to a police officer to patrol". Taking "beat" to carry this context could lend a semblance of authority to the publication.

This is the beauty of language! One word can be interpreted to mean several different things, and, in some cases (like this one), all interpretations might still convey all the necessary information!

  • Seems odd truth be told. I don't doubt you, but the citation is for a definition for Cloud computing, a rather broad entity. Seems weird to owe the citation to some nameless, titleless people who are interested in technology.
    – GillesDV
    Apr 17, 2015 at 18:10
  • 1
    NIST Tech Beat is the title of a regular publication. See their archives here: nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/archive.htm
    – R Mac
    Apr 17, 2015 at 18:14
  • No worries. This is ELL after all. :)
    – R Mac
    Apr 17, 2015 at 18:21
  • 4
    I think the sense of beat used here is one that's common in journalism: a topic allocated to a journalist to cover. Much like a police officer patrols his beat (geographical area) watching for crime, a reporter covers his beat (topic) watching for news. "Tech beat" here would then refer to technology as a news topic. Indeed, the periodical in question gathers news on technology and related topics. Apr 17, 2015 at 19:55
  • Could be. That's a definition that's not strictly relevant to journalism, and I haven't encountered it especially in a journalistic context. It derives from the two connotations of "beat" as a reference to a policeman's patrol area and as a reference to an individual's area of interest, referring instead to the area of focus of a business (or the area which is worked by a particular individual within a profession (most commonly used applicable to prostitution). This should be the main lesson to take away here: that language is exceptionally malleable.
    – R Mac
    Apr 17, 2015 at 20:04

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