Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who solicits alms for a living.
  • n. An impoverished person; a pauper.
  • n. Informal A man or a boy.
  • transitive v. To make a beggar of; impoverish.
  • transitive v. To exceed the limits, resources, or capabilities of: beauty that beggars description.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who begs.
  • n. A person suffering from extreme poverty.
  • v. To make a beggar of someone; impoverish.
  • v. To exhaust the resources of; to outdo.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who begs; one who asks or entreats earnestly, or with humility; a petitioner.
  • n. One who makes it his business to ask alms.
  • n. One who is dependent upon others for support; -- a contemptuous or sarcastic use.
  • n. One who assumes in argument what he does not prove.
  • transitive v. To reduce to beggary; to impoverish.
  • transitive v. To cause to seem very poor and inadequate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a beggar of; reduce to beggary; impoverish.
  • To exhaust the resources of; exceed the means or capacity of; outdo.
  • n. One who begs or asks alms; especially, one who lives by asking alms or makes it his business to beg.
  • n. One who is in indigent circumstances; one who has been beggared.
  • n. One who asks a favor; one who entreats; a petitioner.
  • n. One who assumes in argument what he does not prove.
  • n. A fellow; a rogue: used in contempt for a low fellow;
  • n. as a term of playful familiarity: as, he is a good-hearted little beggar.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be beyond the resources of
  • v. reduce to beggary
  • n. a pauper who lives by begging

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French begart, ultimately from Middle Dutch beggaert, one who rattles off prayers.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French begart, originally a member of the Beghards, a lay brotherhood of mendicants in the Low Countries, from Middle Dutch beggaert ("mendicant"), with pejorative suffix; the order is said to be named after the priest Lambert le Bègue of Liège (French for “Lambert the Stammerer”). Others claim it is from Middle English beggere or beggare, from beggen ("to beg") + -are ("-er") (Modern English beg). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Scott, while I agree that fixing the underlying problem that produces the beggar is a noble idea, please consider two things:

    Begging-Mazatlan

  • What does it mean when the beggar is more powerful than the one that extends the coin?

    AIG WTF | clusterflock

  • A beggar is a man who is forced, by fate, to remind us of Christ; he is Christ's brother; he is the bell of the Lord, and rings in life for the purpose of awakening our conscience, of stirring up the satiety of man's flesh.

    Fomá Gordyéeff

  • Zoellick said: "History shows there is no future in 'beggar thy neighbour' policies, and in an increasingly inter-connected world, we need not just to be conscious of the negative effects policies can have on others, but we need to act accordingly."

    World Bank calls for co-operation to halt full-scale currency war

  • So when Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF managing director, acknowledged that the language of a recent IMF summit communique was "ineffective", that the time for "real action" had come and that he feared "a race to the bottom" as the major countries began to outdo each other in beggar-my-neighbour currency wars, you should sit up and listen.

    History will see these cuts as one of the great acts of political folly

  • Oddly enough, the train beggar managed to control his gnawing hunger for long enough to keep begging.

    It *is* heroin, right?

  • Can't Post | but keep in mind that the more you give the less likely the beggar is to buscar otro remedio (look for another solution), and the more likely others are to emulate his success.

    Begging-Mazatlan

  • The citizen who fears the ill-smelling drunk, the rowdy teenager, or the importuning beggar is not merely expressing his distaste for unseemly behavior; he is also giving voice to a bit of folk wisdom that happens to be a correct generalization — namely, that serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked.

    Broken Windows

  • The millionaire as well as the beggar is content with just so much air as he can breathe.

    As I Please

  • This friend whom I have in mind was a Scotchman, named McArthur, and he said, I say, McArthur, last night 1 saw a fellow with the ordinary 'flu, and I gave him the usual dope, and this morning the beggar is pink.

    The Art of Listening

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Heehee.

    November 16, 2007

  • I am unable, yonder beggar cries,
    To stand, or move; if he say true, hee lies.

    John Donne (Epigrams)

    November 16, 2007