[ beg ]
/ bɛg /

verb (used with object), begged, beg·ging.

verb (used without object), begged, beg·ging.

Verb Phrases

beg off, to request or obtain release from an obligation, promise, etc.: He had promised to drive us to the recital but begged off at the last minute.


    beg the question, to assume the truth of the very point raised in a question.
    go begging, to remain open or available, as a position that is unfilled or an unsold item: The job went begging for lack of qualified applicants.

Origin of beg

before 900; Middle English beggen, by assimilation from Old English *bedican, syncopated variant of bedecian to beg; compare Gothic bidagwa beggar. See bead

Related forms

half-beg·ging, adjectiveun·begged, adjective

Synonym study

2. Beg and request are used in certain conventional formulas, in the sense of ask. Beg, once a part of many formal expressions used in letter writing, debate, etc., is now used chiefly in such courteous formulas as I beg your pardon; The Committee begs to report, etc. Request, more impersonal and now more formal, is used in giving courteous orders ( You are requested to report ) and in commercial formulas like to request payment.

Definition for beg (2 of 3)


[ beyg, beg ]
/ beɪg, bɛg /


Origin of beg

1680–90;Turkic; see bey

Definition for beg (3 of 3) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beg

British Dictionary definitions for beg (1 of 2)


/ (bɛɡ) /

verb begs, begging or begged

(when intr , often foll by for) to solicit (for money, food, etc), esp in the street
to ask (someone) for (something or leave to do something) formally, humbly, or earnestlyI beg forgiveness; I beg to differ
(intr) (of a dog) to sit up with forepaws raised expectantly
to leave unanswered or unresolvedto beg a point
beg the question
  1. to evade the issue
  2. to assume the thing under examination as proved
  3. to suggest that a question needs to be askedthe firm's success begs the question: why aren't more companies doing the same?
go begging or go a-begging to be unwanted or unused
See also beg off

Word Origin for beg

C13: probably from Old English bedecian; related to Gothic bidagwa beggar


The use of beg the question to mean that a question needs to be asked is considered by some people to be incorrect

British Dictionary definitions for beg (2 of 2)


/ (bɛɡ) /


a variant of bey
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

Idioms and Phrases with beg


In addition to the idioms beginning with beg

  • beginning of the end, the
  • begin to see daylight
  • begin to see the light
  • begin with
  • beg off
  • beg the question
  • beg to differ

also see:

  • go begging
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.