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From beggar +‎ -y.



beggary (countable and uncountable, plural beggaries)

  1. The state of a beggar; indigence, extreme poverty.
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, King John, Act II, Scene 1,[1]
      Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
      And say there is no sin but to be rich;
      And being rich, my virtue then shall be
      To say there is no vice but beggary.
    • 1782, Frances Burney, Cecilia, London: T. Payne & Son and T. Cadell, Volume I, Book I, Chapter 9, p. 128,[2]
      [] she does not come hither as a beggar, however well the state of beggary may accord with her poverty: she only sollicits the payment of a bill []
    • 1835, William Gilmore Simms, The Partisan, Harper, Chapter XII, page 150:
      The matter to be decided involved, in addition to the personal risks of life and liberty, the probable forfeiture of an immense estate, and the beggary, in consequence, of an only and beloved daughter.
    • 1933, George Orwell, chapter XXX, in Down and Out in Paris and London[3]:
      There was, clearly, no future for him but beggary and a death in the workhouse.
  2. The fact or action of begging.
    • 1848, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton, Chapter 38,[4]
      [] the landlady [] ushered them into a large garret where twenty or thirty people of all ages and both sexes lay and dozed away the day, choosing the evening and night for their trades of beggary, thieving, or prostitution.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: Appleton, Chapter 8, p. 126,[5]
      [] perhaps he would abandon beggary when there was no poor fool about to beg from.
  3. Beggarly appearance.
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 2,[6]
      [] she looked back to the freedom and the beggary of the old studio in Soho with so much regret, that everybody, herself included, fancied she was consumed with grief for her father.



beggary (comparative more beggary, superlative most beggary)

  1. (obsolete) beggarly