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beg to differ

Disagree with someone, as in John told me Max was sure to win, but I beg to differ—I don't think he has a chance. This courteous formula for expressing disagreement echoes similar uses of beg in the sense of “ask,” such as I beg your pardon, so used since about 1600. Also see excuse me.

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