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[beg] /bɛg/
verb (used with object), begged, begging.
to ask for as a gift, as charity, or as a favor:
to beg alms; to beg forgiveness.
to ask (someone) to give or do something; implore:
He begged me for mercy. Sit down, I beg you.
to take for granted without basis or justification:
a statement that begs the very point we're disputing.
to fail or refuse to come to grips with; avoid; evade:
a report that consistently begs the whole problem.
verb (used without object), begged, begging.
to ask alms or charity; live by asking alms.
to ask humbly or earnestly:
begging for help; begging to differ.
(of a dog) to sit up, as trained, in a posture of entreaty.
Verb phrases
beg off, to request or obtain release from an obligation, promise, etc.:
He had promised to drive us to the recital but begged off at the last minute.
beg the question, to assume the truth of the very point raised in a question.
go begging, to remain open or available, as a position that is unfilled or an unsold item:
The job went begging for lack of qualified applicants.
Origin of beg1
before 900; Middle English beggen, by assimilation from Old English *bedican, syncopated variant of bedecian to beg; compare Gothic bidagwa beggar. See bead
Related forms
half-begging, adjective
unbegged, adjective
2. entreat, pray, beseech, petition. Beg and request are used in certain conventional formulas, in the sense of ask. Beg, once a part of many formal expressions used in letter writing, debate, etc., is now used chiefly in such courteous formulas as I beg your pardon; The Committee begs to report, etc. Request, more impersonal and now more formal, is used in giving courteous orders (You are requested to report ) and in commercial formulas like to request payment.


[beyg, beg] /beɪg, bɛg/
1680-90;Turkic; see bey


2. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for beg


verb begs, begging, begged
when intr, often foll by for. to solicit (for money, food, etc), esp in the street
to ask (someone) for (something or leave to do something) formally, humbly, or earnestly: I beg forgiveness, I beg to differ
(intransitive) (of a dog) to sit up with forepaws raised expectantly
to leave unanswered or unresolved: to beg a point
beg the question
  1. to evade the issue
  2. to assume the thing under examination as proved
  3. to suggest that a question needs to be asked: the firm's success begs the question: why aren't more companies doing the same?
go begging, go a-begging, to be unwanted or unused
See also beg off
Usage note
The use of beg the question to mean that a question needs to be asked is considered by some people to be incorrect
Word Origin
C13: probably from Old English bedecian; related to Gothic bidagwabeggar


a variant of bey
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beg

c.1200, perhaps from Old English bedecian "to beg," from Proto-Germanic *beth-; or possibly from Anglo-French begger, from Old French begart (see beggar). The Old English word for "beg" was wædlian, from wædl "poverty." Of trained dogs, 1816.

As a courteous mode of asking (beg pardon, etc.), first attested c.1600. To beg the question translates Latin petitio principii, and means "to assume something that hasn't been proven as a basis of one's argument," thus "asking" one's opponent to give something unearned, though more of the nature of taking it for granted without warrant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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beg in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for beg


big evil grin


The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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beg in the Bible

That the poor existed among the Hebrews we have abundant evidence (Ex. 23:11; Deut. 15:11), but there is no mention of beggars properly so called in the Old Testament. The poor were provided for by the law of Moses (Lev. 19:10; Deut. 12:12; 14:29). It is predicted of the seed of the wicked that they shall be beggars (Ps. 37:25; 109:10). In the New Testament we find not seldom mention made of beggars (Mark 10:46; Luke 16:20, 21; Acts 3:2), yet there is no mention of such a class as vagrant beggars, so numerous in the East. "Beggarly," in Gal. 4:9, means worthless.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with beg
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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