[ beg ]
See synonyms for beg on
verb (used with object),begged, beg·ging.
  1. to ask for as a gift, as charity, or as a favor: to beg alms;to beg forgiveness.

  2. to ask (someone) to give or do something; implore: He begged me for mercy.Sit down, I beg you.

  1. to take for granted without basis or justification: a statement that begs the very point we're disputing.

  2. to fail or refuse to come to grips with; avoid; evade: a report that consistently begs the whole problem.

verb (used without object),begged, beg·ging.
  1. to ask alms or charity; live by asking alms.

  2. to ask humbly or earnestly: begging for help;begging to differ.

  1. (of a dog) to sit up, as trained, in a posture of entreaty.

Verb Phrases
  1. 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 about beg

  1. beg the question, : See Usage note at the current entry.

    • to assume the truth of the very point raised in a question.

    • to evade the issue or avoid a direct answer.

    • to raise the question; inspire one to ask.

  2. 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

First recorded before 900; Middle English beggen, by assimilation from unattested Old English bedican, variant of bedecian “to beg”; compare Gothic bidagwa “beggar”

synonym study For beg

1, 2, 6. 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 state, 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.

word story For beg

9. The idiom beg the question is a translation of the Latin rhetorical term petitio principii and its original meaning is “to assume the truth of the very point under discussion.” For example, to answer the question “Can we afford another employee?” by stating how convenient it would be to have another employee would be begging the question. This idiom was then taken to mean “to evade the issue or avoid the question,” a natural assumption if one is unfamiliar with the original meaning. The most recent, and now quite common, sense is “to raise the question”: His success begs the question: what will be his next project? However, the original meaning, having to do with a fallacy of reasoning or argument, is useful and in fact many people favor restricting the phrase to this meaning.

Other words for beg

Other words from beg

  • half-begging, adjective
  • un·begged, adjective

Other definitions for beg (2 of 3)

[ beyg, beg ]

  1. bey.

Origin of beg

First recorded in 1680–90; from Ottoman Turkish; see origin at bey

Other definitions for beg. (3 of 3)


  1. begin.

  2. beginning. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use beg in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for beg (1 of 2)


/ (bɛɡ) /

verbbegs, begging or begged
  1. (when intr , often foll by for) to solicit (for money, food, etc), esp in the street

  2. to ask (someone) for (something or leave to do something) formally, humbly, or earnestly: I beg forgiveness; I beg to differ

  1. (intr) (of a dog) to sit up with forepaws raised expectantly

  2. to leave unanswered or unresolved: to beg a point

  3. beg the question

    • to evade the issue

    • to assume the thing under examination as proved

    • to suggest that a question needs to be asked: the firm's success begs the question: why aren't more companies doing the same?

  4. go begging or go a-begging to be unwanted or unused

Origin of 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 (2 of 2)


/ (bɛɡ) /

  1. 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with beg


In addition to the idioms beginning with beg

  • beginning of the end, the
  • begin to see daylight
  • begin to see the light
  • begin with
  • beg off
  • beg the question
  • beg to differ

also see:

  • go begging

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