beggar

noun
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

beggar

verb
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

mendicant, panhandler

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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

For example, the notion that Manson was a law enforcement or intelligence collaborator beggars belief and remains entirely conjectural. Stephen Phillips, latimes.com, "What really happened in the Manson murders? ‘Chaos’ casts doubt on Helter Skelter theory," 12 July 2019 In a negative one, the next round of U.S. tariffs on $300 billion of so far unaffected Chinese imports will kick in next week, the recriminations continue, and the urge to conduct beggar-thy-neighbor policies spirals out of control. Geoffrey Smith, Fortune, "A Fear at the G20 Summit: That the U.S.-China Trade War Turns Into a Currency Conflict," 28 June 2019 Tariff wars led to currency wars, beggar-thy-neighbor devaluations spawning inflation and perpetual financial crises. Roger Lowenstein, Washington Post, "Americans don’t want endless trade wars, threats and tariffs. What we need is a bold alternative.," 21 June 2019 There are a few stories behind its name, one of the most common that a hungry beggar stole a chicken, buried it in mud to hide it and later cooked the encased bird, thus inventing a legendary dish. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "'Chicken feet? Why?' And your other questions about Chinese food answered," 22 Feb. 2018 Ultimately the more artistic beggars began copying portraits of the Madonna, in particular those by the popular early 16th-century liturgical artist Raphael. Sarah Todd, Quartzy, "Sidewalk chalk drawings have a colorful 500-year history," 22 June 2019 As Tom Friedman observed on a recent visit, in China even the beggars use QR codes. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Why Cash Is Quickly Disappearing From China's Economy—Data Sheet," 5 June 2019 But now—as President Trump’s aggressive trade tactics underscore—the old beggar-thy-neighbor path is fraught with geopolitical danger. Diana Choyleva, WSJ, "Why China’s New Year Wasn’t Very Festive," 13 Feb. 2019 The messages said hundreds of people, sometimes disguised as beggars, were stalking the towns and villages of India’s Assam state, slipping into houses at night. Washington Post, "Rumors spread on social media fuel deadly India mob attacks," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His cat like reflex saves often beggared belief, and he was voted Player of the Year at the conclusion of the 2001/02 season. SI.com, "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, Philly.com, "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 Through it all, the obscenely wealthy Rauner squats amid his piles of money and blames everyone but himself for beggaring his state. Noah Berlatsky, Chicago Reader, "Unless Illinois is very, very unlucky, Governor Bruce Rauner will be out on his ass in 2018," 20 Dec. 2017 Despite its oil wealth, years of economic mismanagement have beggared Venezuela. Fabiola Zerpa, Bloomberg.com, "Venezuelan Arrests Show Maduro Moving Fast to Snatch Power," 1 Aug. 2017

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beggar

Noun

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

Verb

Middle English beggeren, verbal derivative of beggere beggar entry 1

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Statistics for beggar

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for beggar

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

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More Definitions for beggar

beggar

noun
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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