Definition of beg in English:

beg

verb

  • 1reporting verb Ask someone earnestly or humbly for something.

    with object ‘he begged his fellow passengers for help’
    with object and infinitive ‘she begged me to say nothing to her father’
    no object ‘I must beg of you not to act impulsively’
    • ‘When he had left the house, he had pleaded and begged his grandmother to come with him, but she had refused.’
    • ‘I pleaded for him and begged them to take me instead, but they forced me away.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, farmers are begging their banks for the funds to survive.’
    • ‘So, I beg of you, when you see a cyclist on the road, give plenty of space.’
    • ‘I beg of you, do not distress yourself over this.’
    • ‘That night Paul and John begged their father to play.’
    • ‘Save me from any more embarrassment, please I beg of you - whoever is in charge of embarrassing people!’
    • ‘I'm begging anyone with any information to contact the police.’
    • ‘I beg of you, mother, to walk me down the aisle for no other person would be suited to do so in my eyes.’
    • ‘Michelle smiled at her other two friends, begging them to forgive him as she had.’
    • ‘So I beg of you, please, do not carry on this tradition.’
    • ‘God please, please, please, I beg of you, make my feelings for Jalil disappear.’
    • ‘‘Please I beg of you, think of what your doing’ Eve said, pleading for her life.’
    • ‘If I have done anything to screw it up, I beg of you to push it aside and forgive me.’
    • ‘I beg of you please revive the life of this young boy, Hardy.’
    • ‘She bows down at his feet (no Pharisee in Galilee did that!) and presents herself humbly as she begs for his help.’
    • ‘Children cried and clung to their fathers, begging them not to go.’
    • ‘I could hear her begging my father for my forgiveness, but I could also tell that she was failing as my father's voice dissipated completely.’
    • ‘If I speak to you less often and seem less cordial than before, do not be offended, I beg of you.’
    beseech, entreat, implore, adjure, plead with, appeal to, pray to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Ask for (something) earnestly or humbly.
      ‘he begged their forgiveness’
      • ‘His eyes begged a silent plea of forgiveness, but she only shook her head.’
      • ‘She was right to go to the women, express her sincere regret and ask their forgiveness, but she was wrong to continue begging it once it was clear they would not give it.’
      • ‘There are many others, in scouting, involved and I beg their forgiveness for not mentioning them by name.’
      • ‘I most humbly beg leave to trouble your grace with these few lines.’
      • ‘Then the exhausted Shackleton begs ships from numerous navies until he finally returns for his crew in an almost unparalleled saga of the bravery we all want to be able to show and only a handful ever manage.’
      • ‘‘Humbly do I beg your forgiveness, Lord,’ she said clearly, bowing her head.’
      • ‘Just as I was about to beg their forgiveness, I saw the energy between them changing.’
      • ‘The two delegates approached the supreme leader on several occasions trying to beg mercy for their fellow reformers.’
      • ‘In every other aspect of daily life there's usually something that stands out and begs the attention of the eye or the ear - typestyles fall out of favor, and hence define an era.’
      • ‘Do I find a Master and beg of him to solve this riddle?’
      • ‘Luckily he is very polite and begs forgiveness.’
      • ‘Then, embarrassed by his own behavior, Orlando begged their forgiveness and hurried to retrieve Adam.’
      ask for, request, plead for, appeal for, call for, sue for, solicit, seek, look for, press for
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object Ask formally for (permission to do something)
      ‘I will now beg leave to make some observations’
      no object, with infinitive ‘I beg to second the motion’
  • 2no object Ask for food or money as charity.

    ‘a young woman was begging in the street’
    ‘they had to beg for food’
    • ‘Egypt must not remain poor and must not beg for food from the international community.’
    • ‘They have gone to streets in town where they beg for money to survive.’
    • ‘At times we are forced to go and beg for food from nearby homesteads.’
    • ‘You might see two parents working hard for a living, and yet their children would beg for food in the streets.’
    • ‘A man begging cornered me and asked me for some spare change.’
    • ‘A friend told me that it was better living on the street, because there you could beg for money and food.’
    • ‘So the crippled beg for food but are shown little compassion.’
    • ‘The poor were also allowed to beg for money in these buildings.’
    • ‘He assumed that she was a wandering beggar who had come to beg for food and shelter.’
    • ‘He had to beg for money in order to eat, but received very little.’
    • ‘Every day poor people came to her house to beg for food and every day she sent them away with nothing.’
    • ‘Their decision to beg seems to be paying handsome dividends.’
    • ‘What is even worse is when people actively beg for money, in that they come up to you in the street and ask you for money.’
    • ‘He recounts the incident of a man who came to beg for food for his starving child.’
    • ‘They were poor having no stock save a cow and a few hens, and often had to beg for food around the parish.’
    • ‘Maybe she could find the train station and beg for some money to catch a train out or town.’
    • ‘They beg for money, often using bits of broken English they pick up from the occasional soldier they encounter.’
    • ‘She was so low on money these days that she felt the need to beg for money.’
    • ‘Her husband, William Good, was a simple laborer and his inadequate income forced the Goods to accept charity and to beg for goods from their neighbors.’
    • ‘I'm going to go beg for money and we might end up with enough to rent a room to stay for tonight.’
    ask for money, solicit money, seek charity, seek alms
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object Acquire (food or money) from someone by begging.
      ‘a piece of bread which I begged from a farmer’
      • ‘The journey took three days; he begged food and money along the way.’
      • ‘She begged money from parishioners going to and from St Anne's Cathedral.’
      • ‘They slept in the open and begged food from farmers.’
      take as a loan, ask for the loan of, receive as a loan, use temporarily, have temporarily
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 (of a dog) sit up with the front paws raised expectantly in the hope of a reward.
      • ‘Mom's eyes were like a puppy's begging for a scrap from the dinner table.’
      • ‘A laugh escaped, she looked like a small puppy begging for attention again.’
      • ‘My tongue stops midway to going back into my mouth, with the ice cream still on the tip, I must look like a dog begging for a bone or something.’
      • ‘His eyes were glinting with pleading; he looked like a dog begging for food.’
      • ‘The smartly dressed man shooed the boy away, as if it was an annoying dog begging for a piece of meat.’
      • ‘He would sit up and beg for food every few moments, at which point Kayty would take something off of her plate and hold it out for him.’
      • ‘It took him five minutes to walk to the backyard shed, inside would be the cute little puppy Shadow, whom would lick and beg for food from Chad.’
      • ‘Her party trick is to stand on her back legs and beg for food very much like a dog begs.’

Usage

The original meaning of the phrase beg the question belongs to the field of logic and is a translation of Latin petitio principii, literally meaning ‘laying claim to a principle’, i.e. assuming something that ought to be proved first, as in the following sentence: by devoting such a large part of the budget for the fight against drug addiction to education, we are begging the question of its significance in the battle against drugs. To some traditionalists this is still the only correct meaning. However, over the last 100 years or so another, more general use has arisen: ‘invite an obvious question’, as in some definitions of mental illness beg the question of what constitutes normal behaviour. This is by far the commonest use today and is the usual one in modern standard English

Phrases

  • beg one's bread

    • archaic Live by begging.

      • ‘By this unlucky accident, he that had seen so much of the world for such a length of time was reduced to the most indigent state, and at length forced to beg his bread.’
      • ‘Better were it for us to beg our bread and clothe ourselves in rags, than to part with Christian simplicity and frankness.’
      • ‘She had even to beg her bread on the streets; for who wanted to help the woman who wasted wheat?’
      • ‘Face flushing a deep red with anger, Lisette was of a mind to box Bess’ ears soundly then send her away to beg her bread as a vagrant along the roads.’
      • ‘He was a boy of nine years old when he buried first his father and then his mother, and he had no other resource than to beg his bread from door to door.’
  • beg the question

    • 1(of a fact or action) raise a point that has not been dealt with; invite an obvious question.

      ‘some definitions of mental illness beg the question of what constitutes normal behaviour’
      • ‘It does beg the question about whether its findings proved embarrassing.’
      • ‘Which begs a question: Who, then, is tougher than an opponent?’
      • ‘In fact, it only begs the question of whether they have evolved at all.’
      • ‘It begs the burning question - are they engagement rings?’
      • ‘But the idea of biking around in cold weather, or bombing down a snowy mountainside, begs some obvious questions: isn't it kind of dangerous?’
      • ‘While the new questions do not seem provocative, they do beg the question: What is the point of it all?’
      • ‘They are out there being a problem well past midnight which begs the questions, do their parents know where they are and what they are doing?’
      • ‘She obviously didn't have a clue - which begged the question about why she was even here and how she'd even got the job.’
      • ‘But that begs the question of why that deal happened now as opposed to two years ago and what we had to give up to get it.’
      • ‘But we don't really believe that, and the topic begs other questions, like: How many younger women are rocking the establishment?’
      • ‘These facts beg the question: Are these AIDS awareness initiatives ineffective?’
      • ‘Saying that the consideration is what moves the transfer begs the question, really, because the question here is, what does move it?’
      • ‘No real surprises here but it begs the question of why such obvious flaws were never caught in advance.’
      • ‘It also begs the questions as to who benefits from these matches, because Clare can have learned little about themselves from what was little more than a training exercise.’
      • ‘It has proved difficult to argue for one choice over another without simply begging the question against competing positions.’
      • ‘Which begs the question: do you think they were raised by bears?’
      • ‘Which begs the big question: What is the right thing?’
      • ‘In fact, it begs the question whether preserving today's national boundaries is a worthwhile goal.’
      • ‘It seems that every political question ultimately begs the question, ‘how do we proceed?’’
      • ‘But this obviously begs the question: who gets control of the remote?’
    • 2Assume the truth of an argument or proposition to be proved, without arguing it.

      • ‘But this begs the question, for it assumes that the state and religion arose from two independent sources.’
      • ‘It therefore begs the question and doesn't prove a thing about real-life biological evolution.’
      • ‘These arguments are indeed plausible, but beg the question.’
      • ‘It seems to me that this begs the question as well as implicitly assuming a kind of universal agreement about human rights that I don't think is historically supported.’
      • ‘It may be objected that this argument begs the question.’
      • ‘The argument has been criticized for begging the question: it assumes the universe is designed in order to prove that it is the work of a designer.’
      • ‘The problem with many of the criteria is that they either assume what they seek to prove or simply beg the question.’
      • ‘And an argument that begs the question clearly does not work.’
      • ‘This argument assumes the conclusion, and so begs the question.’
      • ‘Hasn't Hume just begged the question against them - not so much proved that they are wrong as simply assumed it?’
      • ‘There are two people internal to her investigative staff that have recommended an independent counsel on the basis of what we know today, and to say she wouldn't do it, begs the question.’
      • ‘It might be argued that it begs the question to assume that exploitation can be mutually advantageous and consensual.’
  • beg yours

    • I beg your pardon.

      • ‘I was stunned. “I beg yours? Did you say …?”’
  • go begging

    • 1(of an article) be available because unwanted by others.

      ‘there was a spare aircraft going begging’
      • ‘‘We are a country of the last minute,’ said Cesare Vaciago, director general of the Turin organising committee, in response to reports in the last fortnight that 370,000 of the one million available tickets were still going begging.’
      surplus, surplus to requirements, superfluous, too many, too much, supernumerary, excessive, in excess, going begging
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of an opportunity) fail to be taken.
        ‘the home side had themselves to blame as chances went begging’
        • ‘This was a wake up call for the brothers and they started to convert the opportunities that had earlier gone begging.’
        • ‘He wasn't so foolish to talk about all the opportunities that went begging.’
        • ‘They missed the chance to go ahead after seven minutes when a penalty opportunity went begging.’
        • ‘Chance after chance went begging in the second half.’
        • ‘Although they scored four tries, at least five other golden scoring opportunities went begging.’
        unutilized, not made use of, unemployed, unexploited, not in service, non-functioning
        View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • beg off

    • Withdraw from an undertaking.

      ‘I'd planned to take Christy to dinner, but I was in a mood, and I begged off’
      • ‘So if you allow me, I'll beg off of a guess on that one.’
      • ‘People who forward too much volume or too little of interest find people begging off their lists.’
      • ‘The Duke of Osaka has begged off from the evening activities; I understand that he was sorely traumatized that the people behind the attacks were members of his daughter's staff.’
      • ‘She has even had to beg off a meeting in Asia to make the round trip.’
      • ‘You can't know what types of arguments a future case might present, but you do know the arguments presented in past cases so there is no reason to allow a nominee to beg off on answering such a question.’
      • ‘I finally begged off on some excuse and put down the controller.’
      • ‘That being the case I'm betting I can legitimately beg off spending Christmas with anyone and stick to my original plan of cleaning the kitchen, watching some dvd's and going online - after a very long lie in.’
      • ‘Could you picture someone like Kathy Griffin begging off a celebrity show because of mosquitoes?’
      • ‘With no evidence of any of these matters, I had to beg off.’
      • ‘Granted, I begged off being a bridesmaid, so it could be worse.’
      • ‘You know, when the weather's so rotten you can beg off school or work and no one thinks you're just being a bum?’
      • ‘Only Casper - who insisted we were moving too slow, since by this time we'd climbed only one peak in 26 hours of travel - begged off.’
      • ‘I've spent the last three nights working until 1am and I'm rather tired of it, so I'm going to beg off tonight.’
      • ‘Karl begs off when first invited into her home, but returns when he finds she left her gloves in the cab.’
      • ‘Then Dailey begged off because he had just finished directing something.’
      • ‘His first term as mayor began in 1352, he was re-elected the following year, and then for an unprecedented third consecutive term - on that occasion he begged off, but again served in 1359/60 and 1366 / 67.’
      • ‘Having posted a list of ‘Perfect Albums’ a while back, I'm half tempted to just beg off.’
      • ‘You know, and Dean begs off the question, wisely, I thought.’
      • ‘I had to constantly beg off invitations to the local ‘tittie bar’ from co-workers, but our section of the warehouse stocked all forms of luggage and back packs, and to this day, I am fully stocked with all forms of luggage and backpacks.’
      • ‘Weak with laughter, I finally begged off… but only when he announced he had to go to the toilet and be funny in there.’
      • ‘But if you're going to use the ‘it's not my specialty’ excuse to beg off answering one question, why doesn't that stop you from making claims in all those other non-specialties?’
      • ‘Through a spokesman, she begged off with a claim that she was ‘on a long-planned trip with her husband and two children.’’
      • ‘Mr. Thomas suggested a walk on deck after dinner, but Caroline begged off and hurried back to her cabin, leaving him to adjourn to the smoking room to mingle with the other male passengers in second class for a while before retiring to bed.’
      • ‘Something about his urgency penetrated Tennyson's chord-sotted brain: after a brief confused pause, he begged off the dance and went to look for Clara by the citrus and bubblegum punch fountain.’
      • ‘One thing I know… this one I won't be begging off of when the kids want to go see it.’
      • ‘We were going to rehearse, but Drew's begging off,’ Cash, the drummer, remarked with a smirk.’

Origin

Middle English: probably from Old English bedecian, of Germanic origin; related to bid.

Pronunciation

beg

/bɛɡ/