1. One who solicits alms for a living.
2. An impoverished person; a pauper.
3. Informal A man or a boy.
tr.v. beg·gared, beg·gar·ing, beg·gars
1. To make a beggar of; impoverish.
2. To exceed the limits, resources, or capabilities of: beauty that beggars description.
[Middle English, from Old French begart, ultimately from Middle Dutch beggaert, one who rattles off prayers.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.