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 Nishaa Johnson’s beggar woman also doesn’t carry enough darkness with her. Matthew J. Palm,, "In CFCArts’ ‘Sweeney Todd,’ David Lowe winningly serves up vengeance | Review," 20 Oct. 2019 The people were mere beggars to this glamorous royal. Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times, "France reconsiders Marie Antoinette: The cake-eating tyrant is now an ‘emancipated woman’," 15 Oct. 2019 Forget panhandlers, an Alabama park is having issues with a different species of beggar. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Cats begging for food inundate east Alabama park," 18 Sep. 2019 There aren’t a lot of games to pick from this weekend, but beggars can’t be choosers since college football is BACK! Max Meyer,, "College Football Week 0 Best Bet: Defenses Have the Edge in Season Opener," 22 Aug. 2019 This week in the garden Apply a pre-emergent herbicide such as Dimension or Amaze to your lawn to prevent the germination of winter weeds such as bedstraw, henbit, thistle, beggar’s lice, annual bluegrass and rescue grass. Calvin Finch,, "Now is the time to spread wildflower seed in your San Antonio garden," 6 Sep. 2019 The quartet and Dinnerstein largely reflected or illustrated Penelope’s emotional state and surroundings: gritty turmoil when Odysseus departed for war, fluttering, hopeful pizzicato when Penelope recognized her husband in his guise as a beggar. Zoë Madonna,, "Putting the pieces together in posthumous premiere of André Previn’s ‘Penelope’," 25 July 2019 Beware of Greeks bearing a gift horse on which beggars might ride. Paul Muldoon, The New Yorker, "Position Paper," 2 Sep. 2019 This week in the garden To reduce or prevent the germination of winter weeds such as bedstraw, thistle, dandelion, beggar’s lice, rescue grass, henbit, and annual bluegrass apply a pre-emergent herbicide such as Dimension, Amaze, or XL now. Calvin Finch,, "Yeah, it feels wrong, but it’s time to plant your winter vegetables," 30 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 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

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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Statistics for beggar

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for beggar

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beggar

Spanish Central: Translation of beggar

Nglish: Translation of beggar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beggar for Arabic Speakers

Comments on beggar

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to speed up the process or progress of

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