\ ˈbeg How to pronounce beg (audio) \
begged; begging

Definition of beg

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to ask for as a charity (see charity sense 1a) begging food from strangers begged him for some change
2a : to ask earnestly for : entreat beg forgiveness I beg your pardon.
b : to require as necessary or appropriate a scene that begged to be photographed
3 : evade, sidestep begged the real problems

intransitive verb

1 : to ask for alms children begging on the streets
2 : to ask earnestly begged for mercy
beg the question
1 : to elicit a question logically as a reaction or response the quarterback's injury begs the question of who will start in his place
2 : to pass over or ignore a question by assuming it to be established or settled

Definition of beg (Entry 2 of 2)

begin; beginning

Keep scrolling for more

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: Verb Garner's family and activists spent years begging for the officer to be removed. Amy Forliti, Anchorage Daily News, "Minneapolis police and protesters skirmish after death of handcuffed black man," 27 May 2020 Without any physical evidence tying Perry to the scene, Perry and his attorneys had begged for more investigation into what happened that night. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "What to know about the murders of Harold and Thelma Swain," 23 May 2020 Trump visited Ypsilanti, outside Detroit, to tour a Ford Motor Co. factory that had been repurposed to manufacture ventilators, the medical breathing machines that governors had begged for during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Lemire,, "Pandemic politics: Maskless Trump visits Michigan Ford plant," 21 May 2020 Throughout the shutdown, his cell phone and Facebook was lit up with messages from longtime customers begging for haircuts. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "‘Like Christmas in May:’ Salons seeing big business," 20 May 2020 Thankfully, as penance, two of them take the little ones up for their bath. Felicity enters the kitchen and begs for a Negroni. Stanley Tucci, The Atlantic, "Cooking Your Way Through the Pandemic," 15 May 2020 As swine flu ravaged northern India in 2015, a radiologist working at a hospital in a Delhi suburb said people would call begging for a bed. Dhwani Pandya,, "Doctors Say It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Virus Sweeps India," 13 May 2020 With kids becoming increasingly antsy at home, many who are still too young to have their own phones are begging for a way to chat with friends during the coronavirus pandemic. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "Facebook Messenger Kids: How Young Is Too Young for a Chat App?," 12 May 2020 After that call, McNulty-Brown knew the firm, which had 21 employees, was going have to do something more radical than slashing costs or begging the landlord for a breather on rent. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "A luxury leather company is using a post-apocalypse art thesis to survive the pandemic," 8 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beg.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of beg


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

History and Etymology for beg


Middle English beggen

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about beg

Time Traveler for beg

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for beg

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Beg.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for beg


How to pronounce beg (audio)

English Language Learners 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


\ ˈbeg How to pronounce beg (audio) \
begged; begging

Kids Definition of beg

1 : to ask for money, food, or help as charity beg in the streets
2 : to ask as a favor in an earnest or polite way : plead

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on beg

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beg

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beg

Spanish Central: Translation of beg

Nglish: Translation of beg for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beg for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about beg

Comments on beg

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!