begin

verb
be·​gin | \ bi-ˈgin How to pronounce begin (audio) , bē-\
began\ bi-​ˈgan How to pronounce began (audio) , bē-​ \; begun\ bi-​ˈgən How to pronounce begun (audio) , bē-​ \; beginning

Definition of begin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to do the first part of an action : go into the first part of a process : start began by introducing herself will have to begin again
2a : to come into existence : arise Their problems were just beginning.
b : to have a starting point Her career began in Chicago. Prices begin at $110 per night.
3 : to do or succeed in the least degree I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am.

transitive verb

1 : to set about the activity of : start The lecture begins at 10:00. have all ready begun construction
2a : to bring into being : found credited with beginning the movement In 1819, he married the daughter of a … chief and began a dynasty that would last for nearly 200 years.— Robert F. Oaks
b : originate, invent began their tradition
to begin with
: as the first thing to be considered

Begin

biographical name
Be·​gin | \ ˈbā-gin How to pronounce Begin (audio) \

Definition of Begin (Entry 2 of 2)

Me*na*chem \ mə-​ˈnä-​ḵəm How to pronounce mə-ˈnä-ḵəm (audio)\ 1913–1992 prime minister of Israel (1977–83)

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for begin

Verb

begin, commence, start, initiate, inaugurate, usher in mean to take the first step in a course, process, or operation. begin, start, and commence are often interchangeable. begin, opposed to end, is the most general. begin a trip began dancing start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages. the work started slowly commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start. commence firing commenced a conversation initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue. initiated diplomatic contacts inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance. the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate. ushered in a period of economic decline

Examples of begin in a Sentence

Verb

They will begin construction on the new school soon. I got the job and I begin work on Monday! She'll begin the lecture at 10. He plans to begin the project later this week. They both began their careers at the local newspaper. The university began accepting applications in November. I had just begun eating when the phone rang. She interrupted as soon as I began to speak. Now that I've begun, I'll go on till I finish. I began the quilt last month.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the diamonds were displayed when trial of the couple’s lawsuit against Vihad Moradi and CJ Charles jewelers began Thursday, June 6, 2019. Washington Post, "Drew Brees, wife suing jeweler over value of diamonds," 9 June 2019 Minerals in the zircon show a time when Earth’s oceans, atmosphere and plate tectonics began. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Here Are 12 Things You Might Miss in the Smithsonian’s New Fossil Hall," 7 June 2019 Now 81, Brathwaite was virtually unknown outside of Harlem’s Black Nationalist community until 2014, when his family began working to make his photo archive public. Tanisha C. Ford, The Atlantic, "The Radical Fashion Roots of Rihanna’s Fenty Line," 7 June 2019 The company said its board expects to finalize a new location in the coming months and the company will begin relocating sales and remaining back office functions to the new headquarters. Stephen Singer, courant.com, "Gunmaker Stag Arms announces New Britain exit, though new site not identified," 7 June 2019 The construction crews will be on the site through Aug. 9, when the 2019-2020 school year officially begins. al.com, "Portables gone, construction underway as Gulf Shores eyes Aug. 9 school start," 6 June 2019 That's when Twitter began to rumble with excitement. Samantha Sasso, refinery29.com, "Ariana Grande Changed Up Her Hair — & Fans Are Freaking Out," 6 June 2019 Tests will begin in November, meaning the rest of us won’t see Stadia until sometime in 2020 presumably. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Google's play-anywhere Stadia game service gets a Founder's Edition bundle, pricing, and more," 6 June 2019 Homelessness first emerged as a crisis in Los Angeles in the 1980s, when encampments began to appear under downtown freeway overpasses. Gale Holland, latimes.com, "Why L.A. County’s homelessness crisis has been decades in the making," 5 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'begin.' 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 begin

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for begin

Verb

Middle English beginnen, going back to Old English beginnan, from be- be- + -ginnan, going back to Germanic *genn-a-, verbal base of uncertain meaning and origin occurring only with prefixes, found also in Old English onginnan "to be at a starting point, start," Old High German beginnan, Gothic duginnan

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about begin

Dictionary Entries near begin

beggingly

Beghard

begild

begin

Begin

beginner

beginner's luck

Statistics for begin

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for begin

The first known use of begin was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for begin

begin

verb

English Language Learners Definition of begin

: to do the first part of an action : to start doing something
: to start to work on, produce, or give attention to (something)
: to cause (something) to start

begin

verb
be·​gin | \ bi-ˈgin How to pronounce begin (audio) \
began\ -​ˈgan \; begun\ -​ˈgən \; beginning

Kids Definition of begin

1 : to do the first part of an action Please begin writing.
2 : to come into existence Our problems were just beginning.
3 : to start to have a feeling or thought I began to feel sick.
4 : to have a starting point The alphabet begins with the letter A.
5 : to do or succeed in the least degree I can't begin to explain.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on begin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with begin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for begin

Spanish Central: Translation of begin

Nglish: Translation of begin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of begin for Arabic Speakers

Comments on begin

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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