verb (begins, beginning; past began /bɪˈgan/; past participle begun /bɪˈgʌn/)
- 1 [with object] Perform or undergo the first part of (an action or activity): Peter had just begun a life sentence for murder [with infinitive or present participle]: it was beginning to snow [no object]: she began by rewriting the syllabusMore example sentences
- Back in Oxford, he sat on the City Council, and began his lifelong activity of prison visiting.
- He was inspired to begin work on a book about it from an African point of view.
- Diversification of the group's activities had also begun by then.
- 1.1 [no object] Come into being or have its starting point at a certain time or place: a new era had begun the cycleway begins at Livingston villageMore example sentences
- Whether by accident or design, McKinven could be about to find that life begins at 40-or at least begins again.
- What began as an industrial campaign turned into a campaign for land rights.
- Their marker is brought back to the starting point and they begin once again.
- 1.2 [no object] (Of a person) hold a specified role before holding any other: he began as a drummerMore example sentences
- Russ began as a DJ playing soul in clubs like the Sandpiper, in Fallowfield, and touring the country.
- Well, fate had decided for him that he provide cheers to people for he had begun as a villain in his early days.
- Like Warhol, he began as a commercial artist and his art has its roots in advertising.
- 1.3 [no object] (begin with) Have as a first element: words beginning with a vowelMore example sentences
- There's an ancient rule of life, which is that in Korea life begins with the spring.
- This four-step process begins with removal of lacquer and paint using a chemical stripper.
- They've lost the record for everyone whose surname begins with an M.
- 1.4 [no object] (begin on/upon) Set to work at: Picasso began on a great canvasMore example sentences
- But for now he is happy to explore the surprises that the house provides as work cautiously begins on stripping away the paint.
- Local councillors are particularly keen to get a handle on the youth problems before work begins on the railings around the war memorial.
- Work begins on setting the festive scene a month before Christmas, ensuring her display is in place in good time.
- 1.5 [with direct speech] Start speaking by saying: ‘Mr Smith,’ he began
- 1.6 [no object] (begin at) (Of an article) cost at least (a specified amount): rooms begin at £139More example sentences
- In terms of cost, Clements assesses each job separately, with prices beginning at €200.
- These accumulate large amounts of protein and oil bodies throughout development, beginning at about 10 dpa.
- Prices begin at £664 per person, with flights departing on March 1.
- 2 [no object, with infinitive, with negative] • informal Not have any chance or likelihood of doing a specified thing: I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate that commercialMore example sentences
- Clearly this too is an honour that most of you have little chance of even beginning to aspire to.
- Indeed, even to-day, one cannot begin to comprehend the appalling fate suffered by these two young girls.
- He concluded by saying that we couldn't even begin to comprehend what one day in his shoes would be like.
to begin with
- At first.More example sentences
- To begin with I always rested.
- I had no roadmaps, and I had a bad sense of direction to begin with.
- There were a few teething problems to begin with (I thought keyboards were standard, for instance), but Im really beginning to love it.
- Used to introduce the first of several points: such a fate is unlikely to befall him: to begin with, his is a genuine talentMore example sentences
- Well, any discussion of this would have to begin with how stupid and dumb they are.
- I really want to ask the press why the law and government policy is necessary to begin with if we do not observe or apply it.
- He was in the wrong for trying to push me out of the way to begin with.
Old English beginnan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German beginnen.