beg to differ

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From beg (to plead with someone for help) + to + differ.



beg to differ (third-person singular simple present begs to differ, present participle begging to differ, simple past and past participle begged to differ)

  1. (idiomatic) To offer an opposing opinion humbly.
    Synonym: disagree
    • 1819, Thomas Broughton, The Cure for Pauperism; or, The Ancient Standards of Value Compared with the Artificial Standards Created by the Paper Currency; with a Plan of an Effectual Measure of Finance, London: Printed for T[homas] Cadell & W[illiam] Davies, [], and J. M. Richardson, [], by Charles Wood, [], OCLC 885007590, page 27:
      Thus Lord King asserted, February 28, 1818, "That the whole of what the noble Secretary of State, Lord Liverpool, had said, amounted to this, that the Sinking Fund was only nominal, and had not paid one shilling of the debt." To which Lord Liverpool replied, "He begged to differ with his Lordship, and was of opinion, that the Sinking Fund was real."
    • 1912, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, “Crisis”, in Marriage, London: Macmillan and Co., Limited [], OCLC 803861581, book the first (Marjorie Marries), § 8, page 183:
      "Look here, sir, this is all very well," he began, "but why can't I fall in love with your daughter? I'm a Doctor of Science and all that sort of thing. I've a perfectly decent outlook. My father was rather a swell in his science. I'm an entirely decent and respectable person." / "I beg to differ," said Mr. Pope. / "But I am." / "Again," said Mr. Pope, with great patience, and a slight forward bowing of the head, "I beg to differ."
    • 2015, Catherine Mayer, quoting Michael John Elliott, “Introduction”, in Charles: The Heart of a King, London: W. H. Allen, →ISBN; republished London: W. H. Allen, 2016, →ISBN, page 45:
      Most of the conversation was taken up with an agonised appraisal of the Prince's [i.e., Charles, Prince of Wales's] proper role, together with much royal muttering (conventional wisdom in 1985) that Britain had lost its dynamism for which it was once famous. I begged to differ, and implored the Prince to consider the new, entrepreneurial, street-cred economy being created at that very moment in the clubs and streets, the fashion houses and TV studios and advertising agencies of Soho and Covent Garden.
  2. (idiomatic) To differ (strongly) in interpretation or opinion.
    Synonym: disagree


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