verb (used with object), be·got or (Archaic) be·gat; be·got·ten or be·got; be·get·ting.

(especially of a male parent) to procreate or generate (offspring).
to cause; produce as an effect: a belief that power begets power.

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

Synonyms for beget Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for begetting

Contemporary Examples of begetting

  • But it takes a special kind of ease and openness for all this begetting to take place.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Chicago Is Now America's Hottest City

    Raymond Sokolov

    February 28, 2011

  • Which raises the chilling question: Are the arsons in Coatesville begetting more arsons?

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Town That Won't Stop Burning

    Gregory Gilderman, Jeff Deeney

    May 14, 2009

  • They changed American music forever, begetting more kings: Benny Goodman, the “King of Swing” and Nat “King” Cole.

    The Daily Beast logo

    Don Rose

    November 6, 2008

Historical Examples of begetting

  • It is only in the begetting of men that breeding from the worst stocks may be said to be the rule.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • Is it positively certain that he is incapable of begetting a child?

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • Mars himself, for reasons of his own, seems to have presided over my begetting.

    Little Novels of Italy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • The glory of it is in being,—not in begetting; and in the spirit and substance,—not the change.

  • But the begetting of a child is less than the begetting of the man and the woman.

British Dictionary definitions for begetting


verb -gets, -getting, -got, -gat, -gotten or -got (tr)

to father
to cause or create
Derived Formsbegetter, noun

Word Origin for beget

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 begetting



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper