Beggar



a person who begs alms or lives by begging.
a penniless person.
a wretched fellow; rogue:
the surly beggar who collects the rents.
a child or youngster (usually preceded by little):
a sudden urge to hug the little beggar.
to reduce to utter poverty; impoverish:
The family had been beggared by the war.
to cause one’s resources of or ability for (description, comparison, etc.) to seem poor or inadequate:
The costume beggars description.
Contemporary Examples

Better to be a beggar in freedom,” he cried out, “than to be forced into compromises against my conscience.
The Catholic Philosopher Who Took on Hitler John Henry Crosby December 25, 2014

The landays in I Am the beggar of the World are sung only when men are absent.
Beauty and Subversion in the Secret Poems of Afghan Women Daniel Bosch April 5, 2014

I am the beggar of the World is a book of poems, war reportage, and photographs.
Beauty and Subversion in the Secret Poems of Afghan Women Daniel Bosch April 5, 2014

In an interview, Liang said, “Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar.”
The Chinese Can’t Catch Their Breath Brendon Hong May 4, 2014

The title I Am the beggar of the World is drawn from a landay that reads in full: In my dream, I am the president.
Beauty and Subversion in the Secret Poems of Afghan Women Daniel Bosch April 5, 2014

Historical Examples

How can I say, has Selwyn made a will, leaving his wife a beggar?
A Fool’s Paradise Sydney Grundy

In reply he offers me, as if I were a beggar, employment for my sons.
The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage Charles G. D. Roberts

If you sit beside the beggar who perished at your gates, what will you say to him if he should refer to matters such as these?
Drolls From Shadowland J. H. Pearce

Though I thank you heartily all the same; it would be a shame at my age to be a beggar.
Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Wherever he showed his teeth, they must have said to themselves, ‘What a beggar that would be to bite!’
Fitz the Filibuster George Manville Fenn

noun
a person who begs, esp one who lives by begging
a person who has no money or resources; pauper
(ironic, jocular, mainly Brit) fellow: lucky beggar!
verb (transitive)
to be beyond the resources of (esp in the phrase to beggar description)
to impoverish; reduce to begging
n.

c.1200, from Old French begart, originally a member of the Beghards, lay brothers of mendicants in the Low Countries, from Middle Dutch beggaert “mendicant,” of uncertain origin, with pejorative suffix (see -ard). Cf. Beguine. Early folk etymology connected the English word with bag. Form with -ar attested from 14c., but begger was more usual 15c.-17c. The feminine form beggestere is attested as a surname from c.1300. Beggar’s velvet was an old name for “dust bunnies.” “Beggers should be no choosers” is in Heywood (1562).
v.

“reduce to poverty,” mid-15c., from beggar (n.). Related: Beggared; beggaring. Figurative use by 1640s.

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    to happen or occur. Archaic. to come, as by right. to happen to, especially by chance or fate. Contemporary Examples If someone were to ask me what disaster this was that had befallen my life, I might ask if they wanted the story or the truth. If You Read This Book, You Will Not Get […]

  • Beggar’s-lice

    (used with a singular or plural verb) any of several plants, especially of the genera Cynoglossum and Hackelia, having small, prickly fruits that stick to clothing. (used with a plural verb) the fruits or seeds of such a plant. noun (functioning as sing) any of several plants, esp the stickseed, having small prickly fruits that […]



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