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90s Slang You Should Know


[beg-er] /ˈbɛg ər/
a person who begs alms or lives by begging.
a penniless person.
a wretched fellow; rogue:
the surly beggar who collects the rents.
a child or youngster (usually preceded by little):
a sudden urge to hug the little beggar.
verb (used with object)
to reduce to utter poverty; impoverish:
The family had been beggared by the war.
to cause one's resources of or ability for (description, comparison, etc.) to seem poor or inadequate:
The costume beggars description.
Origin of beggar
First recorded in 1175-1225, beggar is from the Middle English word beggare, beggere. See beg1, -er1, -ar3
Related forms
beggarhood, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for beggar
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How can I say, has Selwyn made a will, leaving his wife a beggar?

    A Fool's Paradise Sydney Grundy
  • This beggar claims to be of good blood, and his arm is sinewy.

  • If you sit beside the beggar who perished at your gates, what will you say to him if he should refer to matters such as these?

    Drolls From Shadowland J. H. Pearce
  • Ignatius answered that it was true that he had given them to a beggar.

    The Autobiography of St. Ignatius Saint Ignatius Loyola
  • Wherever he showed his teeth, they must have said to themselves, ‘What a beggar that would be to bite!’

    Fitz the Filibuster George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for beggar


a person who begs, esp one who lives by begging
a person who has no money or resources; pauper
(ironic, jocular, mainly Brit) fellow: lucky beggar!
verb (transitive)
to be beyond the resources of (esp in the phrase to beggar description)
to impoverish; reduce to begging
Derived Forms
beggarhood, beggardom, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beggar

c.1200, from Old French begart, originally a member of the Beghards, lay brothers of mendicants in the Low Countries, from Middle Dutch beggaert "mendicant," of uncertain origin, with pejorative suffix (see -ard). Cf. Beguine. Early folk etymology connected the English word with bag. Form with -ar attested from 14c., but begger was more usual 15c.-17c. The feminine form beggestere is attested as a surname from c.1300. Beggar's velvet was an old name for "dust bunnies." "Beggers should be no choosers" is in Heywood (1562).


"reduce to poverty," mid-15c., from beggar (n.). Related: Beggared; beggaring. Figurative use by 1640s.


"reduce to poverty," mid-15c., from beggar (n.). Related: Beggared; beggaring. Figurative use by 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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