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verb Archaic.
  1. simple past tense of beget.
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plural noun Informal.
  1. genealogical lists, especially those in the Old Testament.
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Origin of begats

noun plural use of begat


verb (used with object), be·got or (Archaic) be·gat; be·got·ten or be·got; be·get·ting.
  1. (especially of a male parent) to procreate or generate (offspring).
  2. to cause; produce as an effect: a belief that power begets power.
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Origin of beget

before 1000; Middle English begeten (see be-, get); replacing Middle English biyeten, Old English begetan; cognate with Gothic bigitan, Old High German bigezzan
Related formsbe·get·ter, noun


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

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Examples from the Web for begat

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Here he begat a family consisting of five pairs of twin male children.



  • Why betray them when they were doomed to be stifled in the breast that begat them?

    The Suitors of Yvonne

    Raphael Sabatini

  • But I am utterly wretched, for I begat the best of sons in Troy, and none of them is left.

  • This, I trow, was done by those evil spirits that begat them, for the injury of the Goths.


    Frank Fox

  • Sailors married queens and begat princesses and all the rest of it.

British Dictionary definitions for begat


  1. archaic a past tense of beget
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verb -gets, -getting, -got, -gat, -gotten or -got (tr)
  1. to father
  2. to cause or create
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Derived Formsbegetter, noun

Word Origin

Old English begietan; related to Old Saxon bigetan, Old High German pigezzan, Gothic bigitan to find; see be-, get
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 begat


archaic past tense of beget.

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Old English begietan "to get by effort, find, acquire, attain, seize" (class V strong verb, past tense begeat, past participle begeaton), from be- + get (v.). Sense of "to procreate" is from c.1200. Related to Old High German pigezzan, Gothic bigitan "to get, obtain." Related: Begot; begotten.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper