Definition of beggar-my-neighbor in US English:



  • A card game for two players in which the object is to acquire one's opponent's cards. Players alternately turn cards up and if an honor is revealed, the other player must find an honor within a specified number of turns or else forfeit the cards already played.

    • ‘A very interesting question about beggar my neighbor is whether there is an infinite game.’
    • ‘So Ellie said we could play and he and I went and sat at another table and played Beggar my Neighbour.’
    • ‘We played Beggar-My-Neighbour and Donkey, two simple card games.’


  • attributive (especially of national policy) self-aggrandizing at the expense of competitors.

    ‘failure would create a growing risk of trade wars as countries retreated into beggar-thy-neighbor policies’
    • ‘This is not the time to return to the beggar-my-neighbour policies of the past.’
    • ‘They say it is wrong and sad that six towns should have been set against each other, under the review, each engaged in a beggar-my-neighbour strategy to keep its hospital.’
    • ‘In other words, monetary expansion is a beggar-thy-neighbour policy.’
    • ‘In a recent study, we focused on this beggar-thy-neighbor element of advertising, which is implicit when a substantial part of the benefits to the producers authorizing a promotion program come at the expense of producers of competing commodities.’
    • ‘This contraction in demand was no maverick policy, undertaken in a beggar-my-neighbor spirit.’