Definition of beggar in English:

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beggar

Pronunciation: /ˈbeɡər/

noun

1A person, typically a homeless one, who lives by asking for money or food.
Example sentences
  • How many times have you been asked in the street for some money from a seemingly homeless person or a beggar?
  • ‘One of your beggars asked me for money for a cup of coffee,’ he said.
  • I do voluntary work, am a Christian, invariably give money to beggars and try to spread a little happiness as I go by.
2 [with adjective] informal A person of a specified type, often one to be envied or pitied: poor little beggars
More example sentences
  • The cool million generally goes to some lucky beggar down south.
  • The poor beggar's badly burned body was supposed to be in the coffin awaiting collection.
  • Indeed, the poor beggars attending the meeting in April would have witnessed Lee's wholehearted endorsement of his chief executive's vision.

verb

[with object]
Reduce (someone) to poverty: by being soft to the unfortunate, we beggared ourselves
More example sentences
  • Now if it could be shown that beggaring rich people inevitably enriches poor people there might be something to say for a crusade against inequality.
  • Those of the left claimed that naive women were seduced into becoming avaricious consumers, beggaring their families.
  • That would stop the competition gaining market share by beggaring your own people.

Phrases

1

beggar belief (or description)

Be too extraordinary to be believed or described.
Example sentences
  • It beggars belief that a group of local councillors can really believe there is any merit in this option.
  • ‘Cave-in’ doesn't even begin to describe mismanagement so far off the scale as to beggar belief.
  • Although the inadequate measures to deal with the problem beggar belief, what is even more incredible is the mentality of a farmer or a householder who will dispose of their rubbish by dumping it into the nearest river.
2

beggars can't be choosers

proverb People with no other options must be content with what is offered.
Example sentences
  • But my funds are getting down to the wire and so beggars can't be choosers…
  • I've had more glowing reviews, but beggars can't be choosers.
  • Sadly not a two-seater but beggars can't be choosers.
3

set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the Devil

proverb Someone unaccustomed to power or luxury will abuse or be corrupted by it.
Example sentences
  • Or, as he says:— "When by the advice of that eminent physician, Dr. Lettsom, I purchased a horse, and saved my life by the exercise it afforded me, the old adage, 'Set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil,' was deemed fully verified."

Origin

Middle English: from beg + -ar3.

Words that rhyme with beggar

eggar, Gregor, mega, Megger

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: beg·gar

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