Definition of beggar in English:

beggar

Line breaks: beg¦gar
Pronunciation: /ˈbɛgə
 
/

noun

  • 2 [with adjective] informal A person of a specified type, especially 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.
    Synonyms
    fellow, thing, individual, soul, character, creature, wretch; person, man, woman, boy, girl
    informal guy, fella, devil, bunny, bastard
    British informal chap, bloke, bugger, sod, bod
    North American informal dude, hombre
    informal , • dated body, dog
    British informal , • dated cove
    archaic wight

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • Reduce (someone) to poverty: why should I beggar myself for you?
    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.
    Synonyms
    impoverish, make poor, reduce to poverty, reduce to penury, reduce to destitution, bankrupt, make bankrupt, make destitute, ruin, wipe out, break, cripple; bring someone to their knees
    rare pauperize

Phrases

beggar belief (or description)

Be too extraordinary to be believed or described: a disregard for common sense which beggars belief
More 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.

beggars can't be choosers

proverb People with no other options must be content with what is offered.
More 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.

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.
More 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.

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