Beg the question

to ask for as a gift, as charity, or as a favor:
to beg alms; to beg forgiveness.
to ask (someone) to give or do something; implore:
He begged me for mercy. Sit down, I beg you.
to take for granted without basis or justification:
a statement that begs the very point we’re disputing.
to fail or refuse to come to grips with; avoid; evade:
a report that consistently begs the whole problem.
to ask alms or charity; live by asking alms.
to ask humbly or earnestly:
begging for help; begging to differ.
(of a dog) to sit up, as trained, in a posture of entreaty.
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.
beg the question, to assume the truth of the very point raised in a question.
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.
verb begs, begging, begged
when intr, often foll by for. to solicit (for money, food, etc), esp in the street
to ask (someone) for (something or leave to do something) formally, humbly, or earnestly: I beg forgiveness, I beg to differ
(intransitive) (of a dog) to sit up with forepaws raised expectantly
to leave unanswered or unresolved: to beg a point
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?

go begging, go a-begging, to be unwanted or unused
a variant of bey

to assume an answer to an unstated question or premise

c.1200, perhaps from Old English bedecian “to beg,” from Proto-Germanic *beth-; or possibly from Anglo-French begger, from Old French begart (see beggar). The Old English word for “beg” was wædlian, from wædl “poverty.” Of trained dogs, 1816.

As a courteous mode of asking (beg pardon, etc.), first attested c.1600. To beg the question translates Latin petitio principii, and means “to assume something that hasn’t been proven as a basis of one’s argument,” thus “asking” one’s opponent to give something unearned, though more of the nature of taking it for granted without warrant.

To assume what has still to be proved: “To say that we should help the region’s democratic movement begs the question of whether it really is democratic.”
big evil grin

That the poor existed among the Hebrews we have abundant evidence (Ex. 23:11; Deut. 15:11), but there is no mention of beggars properly so called in the Old Testament. The poor were provided for by the law of Moses (Lev. 19:10; Deut. 12:12; 14:29). It is predicted of the seed of the wicked that they shall be beggars (Ps. 37:25; 109:10). In the New Testament we find not seldom mention made of beggars (Mark 10:46; Luke 16:20, 21; Acts 3:2), yet there is no mention of such a class as vagrant beggars, so numerous in the East. “Beggarly,” in Gal. 4:9, means worthless.

Take for granted or assume the truth of the very thing being questioned. For example, Shopping now for a dress to wear to the ceremony is really begging the question—she hasn’t been invited yet. This phrase, whose roots are in Aristotle’s writings on logic, came into English in the late 1500s. In the 1990s, however, people sometimes used the phrase as a synonym of “ask the question” (as in The article begs the question: “What are we afraid of?”).

beg off
beg the question
beg to differ


Read Also:

  • Beg to differ

    Disagree with someone, as in John told me Max was sure to win, but I beg to differ—I don’t think he has a chance . This courteous formula for expressing disagreement echoes similar uses of beg in the sense of “ask,” such as I beg your pardon , so used since about 1600. Also see […]

  • Beg, borrow, or steal

    Obtain by any possible means, as in You couldn’t beg, borrow, or steal tickets to the Olympics. This term is often used in the negative, to describe something that cannot be obtained; Chaucer used it in The Tale of the Man of Law. [ Late 1300s ]

  • Begorra

    (used as a euphemism for by God): It’s a fine day, begorra. Historical Examples Thin, begorra, yez may as well get off the car an’ fire away at wanst. Sporting Society, Vol. I (of 2) Various begorra, you’re wilcome to no more watermillons, ye’ll find! The Universal Reciter Various The man for whose benefit the […]

  • Begad

    interjection (archaic, slang) an emphatic exclamation Historical Examples I pathrolled for tin minutes, an’ begad, before ’twas over, I blushed. Soldier Stories Rudyard Kipling I’ve had thirty years of it and, begad, I’d like to go back again. The Works of Rudyard Kipling: One Volume Edition Rudyard Kipling Your London girls would give many a […]

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