beggar

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See also: béggar

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English beggere, beggare, beggar (beggar), from beggen (to beg), equivalent to beg +‎ -er.

Alternative etymology derives beggar from Old French begart, originally a member of the Beghards, a lay brotherhood of mendicants in the Low Countries, from Middle Dutch beggaert (mendicant), with pejorative suffix (see -ard); the order is said to be named after the priest Lambert le Bègue of Liège (French for “Lambert the Stammerer”).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

beggar (plural beggars)

  1. A person who begs.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “[…] They talk of you as if you were Croesus—and I expect the beggars sponge on you unconscionably.” And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes.
    • 1983, Stanley Rosen, Plato’s Sophist: The Drama of Original & Image, St. Augustine’s Press, p. 62:
      Odysseus has returned to his home disguised as a beggar.
  2. A person suffering from extreme poverty.

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Verb[edit]

beggar (third-person singular simple present beggars, present participle beggaring, simple past and past participle beggared)

  1. (transitive) To make a beggar of someone; impoverish.
  2. (transitive) To exhaust the resources of; to outdo.

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