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See also: béggar


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A female beggar in Mexico

Alternative forms[edit]


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

Alternative etymology derives Middle English beggere, beggare, 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”).



beggar (plural beggars)

  1. A person who begs.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, in 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.
  3. (colloquial, sometimes endearing) A mean or wretched person; a scoundrel.
    What does that silly beggar think he's doing?
  4. (Britain) A minced oath for bugger.


Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from beggar (noun)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


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.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[1]:
      `Now,' answered Ayesha, with proud humility - `now when my lord doth speak thus royally and give with so free a hand, it cannot become me to lag behind in words, and be beggared of my generosity.'


Derived terms[edit]