[ 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.

Idioms for beg

    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


half-beg·ging, adjectiveun·begged, adjective

synonym study for beg

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for beg off (1 of 3)

beg off


(intr, adverb) to ask to be released from an engagement, obligation, etc

British Dictionary definitions for beg off (2 of 3)

/ (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

usage for beg

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 off (3 of 3)

/ (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 off (1 of 2)

beg off

Ask to be released from an obligation; turn down an invitation. For example, He's asked me out to dinner three times already, but I have to beg off again, or Mother couldn't take on another committee and so she begged off. [Early 1700s]

Idioms and Phrases with beg off (2 of 2)


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