Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb \ˈbeg\

Simple Definition of beg

  • : to ask people for money or food

  • : to ask (someone) in a very serious and emotional way for something needed or wanted very much

  • : to ask for (something needed or wanted very much) in a very serious and emotional way

Full Definition of beg


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to ask for as a charity

  3. 2 a :  to ask earnestly for :  entreat b :  to require as necessary or appropriate

  4. 3 :  evade, sidestep <begged the real problems>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to ask for alms

  7. 2 :  to ask earnestly <begged for mercy>

beg the question
  1. 1 :  to pass over or ignore a question by assuming it to be established or settled

  2. 2 :  to elicit a question logically as a reaction or response <the quarterback's injury begs the question of who will start in his place>

Examples of beg

  1. A homeless man begs on that corner every day.

  2. children begging strangers for food

  3. children begging food from strangers

  4. He begged the doctor for medicine.

  5. She begged him to read the story again.

  6. He begged that she would forgive him.

  7. begging a favor of someone

  8. He's too proud to beg.

  9. Does your dog know any tricks? She knows how to beg.

Origin of beg

Middle English beggen

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of beg

beg, entreat, beseech, implore, supplicate, adjure, importune mean to ask urgently. beg suggests earnestness or insistence in the asking <they begged for help>. entreat implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance <entreated me to join them>. beseech and implore imply a deeply felt anxiety <I beseech you to have mercy> <implored her not to leave>. supplicate suggests a posture of humility <with bowed heads they supplicated their Lord>. adjure implies advising as well as pleading <we were adjured to tell the truth>. importune suggests an annoying persistence in trying to break down resistance <importuning viewers for donations>.

Rhymes with beg




Definition of beg

  1. begin; beginning

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up beg? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders spindrift pince-nez duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.