1 of 2


begged; begging

transitive verb

: to ask for as a charity (see charity sense 1a)
begging food from strangers
begged him for some change
: to ask earnestly for : entreat
beg forgiveness
I beg your pardon.
: to require as necessary or appropriate
a scene that begged to be photographed
: evade, sidestep
begged the real problems

intransitive verb

: to ask for alms
children begging on the streets
: to ask earnestly
begged for mercy


2 of 2


begin; beginning
beg the question
: to elicit a question logically as a reaction or response
the quarterback's injury begs the question of who will start in his place
: to pass over or ignore a question by assuming it to be established or settled
Choose the Right Synonym for 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 him

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 to a request.

importuning viewers for contributions

Examples of beg in a Sentence

Verb A homeless man begs on that corner every day. children begging strangers for food children begging food from strangers He begged the doctor for medicine. She begged him to read the story again. He begged that she would forgive him. begging a favor of someone He's too proud to beg. “Does your dog know any tricks?” “She knows how to beg.” See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The last round created hundreds of amputees, often seen begging at Gazan intersections. Hazem Balousha, Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2023 Gaetz has repeatedly threatened to introduce a motion to vacate, even begging Democrats to side with him. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 19 Sep. 2023 But Deezer’s plan to upload its own functional music begs some questions, says Pelly. WIRED, 19 Sep. 2023 His hair is wavy and golden brown, whipping every which way, begging to be boyishly brushed aside. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 This trend begs the question: What other ancient civilizations are men thinking about? Time, 15 Sep. 2023 They were forced to beg, sell candy and borrow to push north. Andrew Silverstein, New York Times, 15 Sep. 2023 That alone prompted renowned Dallas business leader Stanley Marcus to call up his friend JFK and beg him not to come to Dallas, sage advice that Kennedy ignored. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, 14 Sep. 2023 After begging for forgiveness and promising his transgression was just a one-time thing, Will gives Liv the honeymoon of a lifetime, a road trip through the West Coast. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 14 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beg.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English beggen

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of beg was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near beg

Cite this Entry

“Beg.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


begged; begging
: to ask for money, food, or help as charity
beg in the streets
: to ask earnestly or politely
beg a favor
beg pardon

More from Merriam-Webster on beg

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