verb (used without object), began, begun, beginning.
to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of some action; commence; start: The story begins with their marriage.
to come into existence; arise; originate: The custom began during the Civil War.
verb (used with object), began, begun, beginning.
to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of (some action): Begin the job tomorrow.
to originate; be the originator of: civic leaders who began the reform movement.
to succeed to the slightest extent in (followed by an infinitive): The money won't even begin to cover expenses.

before 1000; Middle English beginnen, Old English beginnan, equivalent to be- be- + -ginnan to begin, perhaps orig. to open, akin to yawn

3. Begin, commence, initiate, start (when followed by noun or gerund) refer to setting into motion or progress something that continues for some time. Begin is the common term: to begin knitting a sweater. Commence is a more formal word, often suggesting a more prolonged or elaborate beginning: to commence proceedings in court. Initiate implies an active and often ingenious first act in a new field: to initiate a new procedure. Start means to make a first move or to set out on a course of action: to start paving a street. 4. institute, inaugurate, initiate.

1. end. Unabridged


Menachem [muh-nah-khuhm] , 1913–92, Israeli political leader, born in Poland: prime minister 1977–83; Nobel peace Prize 1978. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
begin (bɪˈɡɪn)
vb , -gins, -ginning, -gan, -gun
1.  to start or cause to start (something or to do something)
2.  to bring or come into being for the first time; arise or originate
3.  to start to say or speak
4.  (used with a negative) to have the least capacity (to do something): he couldn't begin to compete with her
5.  to begin with in the first place
[Old English beginnan; related to Old High German biginnan, Gothic duginnan]

Begin (ˈbɛɡɪn)
Menachem (məˈnɑːkɪm). 1913--92, Israeli statesman, born in Poland. In Palestine after 1942, he became a leader of the militant Zionists; prime minister of Israel (1977--83); Nobel peace prize jointly with Sadat 1978. In 1979 he concluded the Camp David treaty with Anwar Sadat of Egypt

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. beginnan "to begin, attempt, undertake," a rare word beside the more usual form onginnan (class III strong verb; past tense ongann, pp. ongunnen); from bi- "be" + W.Gmc. *ginnan, of obscure meaning and found only in compounds, perhaps "to open, open up" (cf. O.H.G. in-ginnan "to cut open, open up,"
also "begin, undertake"). Cognates elsewhere in Germanic include O.H.G. beginnan, M.Du. beghinnen, Ger. beginnen, O.Fris. bijenna, Goth. duginnan.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with begin, also see charity begins at home; (begin to) see the light; to start (begin) with.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Start grilling the cap with the gill side down until the juices begin to seep.
Tests of the vaccine in monkeys are slated to begin next month, and human
  trials could start before the year is out.
When pineapple leaves start to grow, begin fertilizing.
Before discussing these resources in more detail, let's make sure that you
  begin the negotiating process with the right mindset.
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