See also: béggar

English edit

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A female beggar in Mexico

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Etymology edit

From Middle English beggere, beggare, beggar (beggar), from Middle English beggen (to beg), equivalent to beg +‎ -ar.

Alternative etymology derives Middle English beggere, beggare, beggar 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 (see -ard); the order is said to be named after the priest Lambert le Bègue of Liège (French for “Lambert the Stammerer”).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

beggar (plural beggars)

  1. A person who begs.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XIII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      [] They talk of you as if you were Croesus—and I expect the beggars sponge on you unconscionably.” And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes.
    • 1983, Stanley Rosen, Plato’s Sophist: The Drama of Original & Image, St. Augustine’s Press, p. 62:
      Odysseus has returned to his home disguised as a beggar.
  2. A person suffering from extreme poverty.
  3. (colloquial, sometimes endearing) A mean or wretched person; a scoundrel.
    What does that silly beggar think he's doing?
  4. (UK) A minced oath for bugger.

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Terms derived from beggar (noun)

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Verb edit

beggar (third-person singular simple present beggars, present participle beggaring, simple past and past participle beggared)

  1. (transitive) To make a beggar of someone; impoverish.
  2. (transitive, figurative) To exhaust the resources of; to outdo or go beyond.
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      `Now,' answered Ayesha, with proud humility - `now when my lord doth speak thus royally and give with so free a hand, it cannot become me to lag behind in words, and be beggared of my generosity.'
    • 1965, Frank Herbert, Dune, 1st edition, page 109:
      It was a scene of such beauty it caught all his attention. / Some things beggar likeness, he thought.
    • 1996 July 7, Angeline Goreau, “Speed”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      Taking the ontological temperature of today and of the pre-revolutionary 18th century, Mr. Kundera finds that the speed we love has beggared us of pleasure.

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Derived terms edit

Terms derived from beggar (verb)

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Middle English edit

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of beggere