simple past tense of begin.
to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of some action; commence; start:
The story begins with their marriage.
to come into existence; arise; originate:
The custom began during the Civil War.
to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of (some action):
Begin the job tomorrow.
to originate; be the originator of:
civic leaders who began the reform movement.
to succeed to the slightest extent in (followed by an infinitive):
The money won’t even begin to cover expenses.
Contemporary Examples

It was a peculiar moment where viral content came to life; as if Grumpy Cat came onstage and began speaking.
Charlie Rangel Dances On Gideon Resnick June 24, 2014

I began to be afraid; everything outside seemed so—so black and uncomfortable.
Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show Robert W. Chambers February 19, 2014

“First do no harm” was where their practice of medicine began.
The Girl I Will Miss at Commencement Robert Bookman May 21, 2009

New York Times columnist David Brooks, who began his career at NR, just called Governor Palin “a cancer on the Republican Party.”
Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama Christopher Buckley October 9, 2008

The team also began using testosterone patches instead of red eggs.
Lance Armstrong’s Teammate Tells All: ‘The Secret Race’ By Tyler Hamilton The Daily Beast September 7, 2012

Historical Examples

Benedetta began to laugh, while the two young men made merry.
The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete Emile Zola

“You politicians—” she began, when she was interrupted by a call at the door.
Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow

It was not at first that John could attend to him, and when he was able to do so he began to rattle on about his own affairs.
The Christian Hall Caine

You were about to tell me something, child, but you left off before you began.
The Comedies of William Congreve William Congreve

The Russians began retreating from the northern Carpathian front.
The Story of the Great War, Volume VI (of VIII) Various

the past tense of begin
verb -gins, -ginning, -gan, -gun
to start or cause to start (something or to do something)
to bring or come into being for the first time; arise or originate
to start to say or speak
(used with a negative) to have the least capacity (to do something): he couldn’t begin to compete with her
to begin with, in the first place
Menachem (məˈnɑːkɪm). 1913–92, Israeli statesman, born in Poland. In Palestine after 1942, he became a leader of the militant Zionists; prime minister of Israel (1977–83); Nobel peace prize jointly with Sadat 1978. In 1979 he concluded the Camp David treaty with Anwar Sadat of Egypt

past tense of begin.

Old English beginnan “to begin, attempt, undertake,” a rare word beside the more usual form onginnan (class III strong verb; past tense ongann, past participle ongunnen); from bi- (see be-) + West Germanbic *ginnan, of obscure meaning and found only in compounds, perhaps “to open, open up” (cf. Old High German in-ginnan “to cut open, open up,” also “begin, undertake”), with sense evolution from “open” to “begin.” Cognates elsewhere in Germanic include Old Frisian biginna “to begin,” Middle Dutch beghinnen, Old High German beginnan, German beginnen, Old Frisian bijenna “to begin,” Gothic duginnan.

begin to see daylight
begin to see the light
begin with


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