beg·​gar | \ ˈbe-gər How to pronounce beggar (audio) \

Definition of beggar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that begs (see beg entry 1 sense 1) especially : a person who lives by asking for gifts
2 : pauper … this system only created beggars, completely dependent on outside help …— Darcy Ribeiro
3 : fellow sense 4c an unlucky beggar


beggared; beggaring\ ˈbe-​gə-​riŋ How to pronounce beggaring (audio) \

Definition of beggar (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to reduce to poverty or the practice of asking for charity : to reduce to beggary
2 : to exceed the resources or abilities of : defy beggars description so outrageous as to beggar belief

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Synonyms for beggar

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of beggar in a Sentence

Noun I heard you won the contest! You lucky beggar! the pitiful beggars that are such a common sight in underdeveloped countries Verb Years of civil war had beggared the country.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lakshmi did not come to San Antonio, so Torres brought a taste of the city to the show, cooking a popular dish from Mixtli’s wide-ranging Mexican repertoire: green chile pork in a corn-flour beggar’s purse. Mike Sutter,, "San Antonio Mixtli chef to be featured on ‘Top Chef’ judge Padma Lakshmi’s new streaming series ‘Taste the Nation’ on Hulu," 15 June 2020 But their games last night devolved into dissertations on solo play while the other starters hung around the 3-point line like beggars hoping to cadge quarters from the stars. Michael Powell, New York Times, "That Warriors vs. Rockets Epic May Well Be Over," 15 May 2018 The next sticky seed source that will show up is beggar’s lice. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: Geraniums and petunias are putting on a show in San Antonio gardens," 26 Mar. 2020 In 1924, David-Néel disguised herself as a beggar and made her way to the holy city of Lhasa, which at the time, was forbidden to foreigners. Born in 1868, David-Néel’s adventurous spirit was unheard of for a woman. Mélissa Godin, Time, "7 Female Trekkers Who Helped Reclaim Nature, One Step at a Time," 28 Feb. 2020 In 1768, in the Parisian suburb of Arcueil, Sade induced a beggar, Rose Keller, to accompany him home, promising her a job as a housekeeper. Mitchell Abidor, The New York Review of Books, "Reading Sade in the Age of Epstein," 12 Feb. 2020 Paintings on view also depict people, from merchants to courtiers and beggars, gathering at markets or participating in rituals. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "London Exhibit Celebrates Indian Artists Who Captured Natural History for the East India Company," 4 Dec. 2019 In three acts, Porgy and Bess tells the doomed love story of beggar who is disabled and an unmarried mother who are plagued by Bess’ violent former boyfriend, Crown, and a cynical drug dealer named Sportin’ Life. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "After a 30 Year Absence, the Controversial ‘Porgy and Bess’ Is Returning to the Met Opera," 23 Sep. 2019 The 80-year-old — tall, with broad shoulders and a long white beard — receives all of them the same, minister or beggar. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "In a Quiet Corner, an Old Afghan Poet Polishes ‘the Heart’s Mirror’," 25 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Iraq entered a long, grueling period of international sanctions that beggared its once robust middle class. New York Times, "Mourning Iraq’s Destruction, a Native Son Creates," 31 Dec. 2019 This, given the popularity of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, beggars belief. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Stacey Abrams Is Smarter Than Tom Steyer," 15 Aug. 2019 His cat like reflex saves often beggared belief, and he was voted Player of the Year at the conclusion of the 2001/02 season., "Claudio Ranieri: The Tinkerman's All Time Best XI," 12 June 2019 Summer is made of stories: fiction that seems true, and true stories that beggar belief. John Timpane,, "A summer made of stories: Great books for warmer days," 2 June 2018 To imagine that a country with an economy smaller than Canada’s or Italy’s could leverage a superpower ten times wealthier beggared the imagination. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Russian Leverage Over Trump Is Not Just a Theory. It’s Now Fact.," 8 May 2018 And both seek a way out, though nothing could be less virtual, or more beggared of thrills, than the path that Charley chooses. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "“Ready Player One” and “Lean on Pete”," 24 Mar. 2018 The prescience of this story, intended as satire in the mid-’70s and all too real in 2018 America, beggars belief. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "From Buckingham Palace to the National Theatre, Hamish Bowles Takes London by Storm," 23 Feb. 2018 Cousins was having his best season as a pro, putting up stat lines that beggared belief, fusing brilliantly with fellow All-Star big man Anthony Davis, and likely leading the Pelicans to a playoff berth. Nathaniel Friedman, GQ, "Boogie Makes the NBA Better," 30 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of beggar


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beggar


Middle English beggere, beggare, from beggen "to beg entry 1" + -ere, -are -er entry 2


Middle English beggeren, verbal derivative of beggere beggar entry 1

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Time Traveler for beggar

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for beggar

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Beggar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for beggar


beg·​gar | \ ˈbe-gər How to pronounce beggar (audio) \

Kids Definition of beggar

: a person who lives by begging

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More from Merriam-Webster on beggar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beggar

Spanish Central: Translation of beggar

Nglish: Translation of beggar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beggar for Arabic Speakers

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