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began

[bih-gan]
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verb
  1. simple past tense of begin.
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begin

[bih-gin]
verb (used without object), be·gan, be·gun, be·gin·ning.
  1. to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of some action; commence; start: The story begins with their marriage.
  2. to come into existence; arise; originate: The custom began during the Civil War.
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verb (used with object), be·gan, be·gun, be·gin·ning.
  1. to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of (some action): Begin the job tomorrow.
  2. to originate; be the originator of: civic leaders who began the reform movement.
  3. to succeed to the slightest extent in (followed by an infinitive): The money won't even begin to cover expenses.
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Origin of begin

before 1000; Middle English beginnen, Old English beginnan, equivalent to be- be- + -ginnan to begin, perhaps orig. to open, akin to yawn

Synonyms

See more synonyms for begin on Thesaurus.com
4. institute, inaugurate, initiate.

Synonym study

3. Begin, commence, initiate, start (when followed by noun or gerund) refer to setting into motion or progress something that continues for some time. Begin is the common term: to begin knitting a sweater. Commence is a more formal word, often suggesting a more prolonged or elaborate beginning: to commence proceedings in court. Initiate implies an active and often ingenious first act in a new field: to initiate a new procedure. Start means to make a first move or to set out on a course of action: to start paving a street.

Antonyms

1. end.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for began

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • You began to look bad as soon as you left off your breakfast.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He began to pace the floor again from one room to the other.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He leaned back, and began to puff leisurely at his pipe, as if this settled the matter.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He went over to the desk and began to scribble a name on the pad of paper.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • At the moment of parting he began to realize that he had undertaken a difficult task.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger


British Dictionary definitions for began

began

verb
  1. the past tense of begin
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Begin

noun
  1. Menachem (məˈnɑːkɪm). 1913–92, Israeli statesman, born in Poland. In Palestine after 1942, he became a leader of the militant Zionists; prime minister of Israel (1977–83); Nobel peace prize jointly with Sadat 1978. In 1979 he concluded the Camp David treaty with Anwar Sadat of Egypt
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begin

verb -gins, -ginning, -gan or -gun
  1. to start or cause to start (something or to do something)
  2. to bring or come into being for the first time; arise or originate
  3. to start to say or speak
  4. (used with a negative) to have the least capacity (to do something)he couldn't begin to compete with her
  5. to begin with in the first place
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Word Origin

Old English beginnan; related to Old High German biginnan, Gothic duginnan
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

Word Origin and History for began

v.

past tense of begin.

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begin

v.

Old English beginnan "to begin, attempt, undertake," a rare word beside the more usual form onginnan (class III strong verb; past tense ongann, past participle ongunnen); from bi- (see be-) + West Germanbic *ginnan, of obscure meaning and found only in compounds, perhaps "to open, open up" (cf. Old High German in-ginnan "to cut open, open up," also "begin, undertake"), with sense evolution from "open" to "begin." Cognates elsewhere in Germanic include Old Frisian biginna "to begin," Middle Dutch beghinnen, Old High German beginnan, German beginnen, Old Frisian bijenna "to begin," Gothic duginnan.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with began

begin

In addition to the idioms beginning with begin

  • beginning of the end, the
  • begin to see daylight
  • begin to see the light
  • begin with

also see:

  • charity begins at home
  • (begin to) see the light
  • to start (begin) with
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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.