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[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 beggared
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In 1802, beggared by lawsuits and losses, he became landless.

  • After I have beggared myself with his troublesome lawsuit, with a plague to him!

    The History of John Bull John Arbuthnot
  • The few of his followers who have returned have straggled hither like this Wilfred of Ivanhoe, beggared and broken men.

    Ivanhoe Walter Scott
  • Dead men could not be beggared, deprived of their independence.

    Five Tales John Galsworthy
  • But let the man be beggared and the woman rich, and convention steps in and says, "It shall not be!"

    The Heart of a Woman Emmuska Orczy, Baroness Orczy
  • If I have squandered his fortune, he has beggared me in reputation.

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • beggared by the former, our widow took a small shop in Wardour Street to support the latter.

    The Disowned, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • "If I gave you that, it would leave me beggared," he said gravely.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills Charles Garvice
  • Her hospitality is notorious and would long since have beggared anyone with an income less absurd.

    The Book of Susan Lee Wilson Dodd
British Dictionary definitions for beggared


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 beggared



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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