From Middle English beginnen, from Old English beginnan (“to begin”), from Proto-Germanic *biginnaną (“to begin”), from be- + base verb *ginnaną also found in Old English onginnan.
begin (third-person singular simple present begins, present participle beginning, simple past began, past participle begun)
- (transitive, intransitive) To start, to initiate or take the first step into something.
- I began playing the piano at the age of five. Now that everyone is here, we should begin the presentation.
- a. 1705, John Locke, “An Examination of P[ère] Malebranche’s Opinion of Seeing All Things in God”, in Posthumous Works of Mr. John Locke: […], London: […] A[wnsham] and J[ohn] Churchill, […], published 1706, →OCLC, paragraph 41, page 175:
- The Apoſtle begins our Knowledge in the Creatures, which lead us to the Knowledge of God, if we will make uſe of our Reaſon: [...]
- 1712 (date written), Alexander Pope, “Messiah. A Sacred Eclogue, in Imitation of Virgil’s Pollio.”, in The Works of Alexander Pope Esq. […], London: […] J[ohn] and P[aul] Knapton, H. Lintot, J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, and S. Draper, published 1751, →OCLC, lines 1–2, page 37:
- Ye Nymphs of Solyma! begin the ſong: / To heav'nly themes ſublimer ſtrains belong.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC, page 48:
- Mr. Cooke at once began a tirade against the residents of Asquith for permitting a sandy and generally disgraceful condition of the roads. So roundly did he vituperate the inn management in particular, and with such a loud flow of words, that I trembled lest he should be heard on the veranda.
- 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 5, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
- Of all the queer collections of humans outside of a crazy asylum, it seemed to me this sanitarium was the cup winner. […] When you're well enough off so's you don't have to fret about anything but your heft or your diseases you begin to get queer, I suppose.
- 2013 June 29, “Unspontaneous combustion”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 29:
- Since the mid-1980s, when Indonesia first began to clear its bountiful forests on an industrial scale in favour of lucrative palm-oil plantations, “haze” has become an almost annual occurrence in South-East Asia.
- (intransitive) To be in the first stage of some situation
- The program begins at 9 o'clock on the dot. I rushed to get to class on time, but the lesson had already begun.
- (intransitive) To come into existence.
- 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. […], (please specify |epistle=I to IV), London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, […], →OCLC:
- Vast chain of being! which from God began.
begin (plural begins)
- “begin”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “begin”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
From Middle Dutch begin, from Old Dutch *bigin, *bigen, from Proto-Germanic *biginnaz (“beginning”), from Proto-Germanic *biginniną (“to begin”). Compare Old Dutch anagen, anagenni (“beginning”).
begin n (uncountable, diminutive beginnetje n)
- Negerhollands: begin
See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.
(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)
This noun needs an inflection-table template.
- “beghin (I)”, in Vroegmiddelnederlands Woordenboek, 2000
- Verwijs, E.; Verdam, J. (1885–1929), “begin”, in Middelnederlandsch Woordenboek, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, →ISBN
begin (nominative plural begins)