beggar


beggar
   This is unlikely to have its literal meaning of one who begs when used vocatively. ‘Lucky beggar!’ said to a friend simply means lucky person. ‘You little beggar’ addressed to a child is similar to ‘you little horror’ or ‘you little terror’. ‘Beggar’ in this context could be equated with ‘rogue’, ‘rascal’, etc. Some speakers may consciously use it as a euphemism for ‘bugger’, though there is no evidence to suggest that this was the original reason for its use. ‘Beggar’ is occasionally used with real disparagement. Shakespeare, for instance, who uses the word only once vocatively, equates it with dog in Richard the Third (l:ii): Unmanner’d dog! Stand thou, when I command, Advance thy halberd higher than my breast, Or, by St Paul, I’ll strike thee to my foot And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.’
   An American Dream, by Norman Mailer, has: “‘You damned beggar!” I shouted at him. “You shitface!”’

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • beggar — ► NOUN 1) a person who lives by begging for food or money. 2) informal a person of a specified type: lucky beggar! ► VERB ▪ reduce to poverty. ● beggar belief (or description) Cf. ↑beggar description ● …   English terms dictionary

  • beggar — [n1] person asking for charity asker, borrower, bum, deadbeat, hobo, mendicant, panhandler, rustler, scrounger, supplicant, supplicator, tramp, vagabond; concepts 412,423 beggar [n2] person in financial trouble alms person, bankrupt, dependent,… …   New thesaurus

  • beggar — [beg′ər] n. [ME beggere < OFr begard: see BEG] 1. a person who begs, or asks for charity, esp. one who lives by begging; mendicant 2. a person who is very poor; pauper 3. Chiefly Brit. a person; fellow: often used jokingly or affectionately vt …   English World dictionary

  • Beggar — Beg gar, n. [OE. beggere, fr. beg.] 1. One who begs; one who asks or entreats earnestly, or with humility; a petitioner. [1913 Webster] 2. One who makes it his business to ask alms. [1913 Webster] 3. One who is dependent upon others for support;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Beggar — Beg gar, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Beggared}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Beggaring}.] 1. To reduce to beggary; to impoverish; as, he had beggared himself. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. To cause to seem very poor and inadequate. [1913 Webster] It beggared all… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • beggar — index deplete, parasite Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • beggar — I UK [ˈbeɡə(r)] / US [ˈbeɡər] noun [countable] Word forms beggar : singular beggar plural beggars someone who is very poor and lives by asking people for money or food • lucky/lazy/cheeky etc beggar British spoken used in a friendly way for… …   English dictionary

  • beggar — beg|gar1 [ˈbegə US ər] n 1.) someone who lives by asking people for food and money ▪ the beggars on the streets 2.) lucky/lazy/cheeky etc beggar BrE spoken used when speaking to or about someone you like ▪ How s Dave? The lucky beggar s in the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • beggar — {{11}}beggar (n.) c.1200, from O.Fr. begart, originally a member of the Beghards, lay brothers of mendicants in the Low Countries, from M.Du. beggaert mendicant, of uncertain origin, with pejorative suffix (see ARD (Cf. ard)). Cf. BEGUINE (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • beggar — 1 noun (C) 1 someone who lives by asking people for food and money: There s been a huge increase in the number of beggars on London s streets. 2 lucky/lazy/cheeky etc beggar BrE spoken used to describe someone who you think is lucky, lazy etc, in …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English


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