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Defining Begging

Friday, January 21, 2011

I asked Websters Dictionary for a definition of the word beg. Here's what I came up with:

transitive verb
1: to ask for as a charity
2a : to ask earnestly for : entreat
2b : to require as necessary or appropriate
3: evade, sidestep (see "beg the question" below)

intransitive verb
1: to ask for alms
2: to ask earnestly (begged for mercy)

— beg the question
1: to pass over or ignore a question by assuming it to be established or settled
2: to elicit a question logically as a reaction or response (the quarterback's injury begs the question of who will start in his place)

adjure, appeal (to), beg, besiege, beseech, call on (or upon), conjure, entreat, implore, importune, impetrate, petition, plead (to), pray, solicit, supplicate,

Synonym Discussion:
  • beg suggests earnestness or insistence especially in asking for a favor (children begging to stay up late)
  • entreat implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance (intreated me to change my mind
  • beseech and implore imply a deeply felt anxiety (I beseech you to have mercy) (implored her not to leave him)
  • supplicate suggests a posture of humility (with bowed heads they supplicated their Lord)
  • adjure implies advising as well as pleading (we were adjured to tell the truth)
  • importune suggests an annoying persistence in trying to break down resistance to a request (importuning viewers for contributions)

The companion post from 2006 - The Inner Dad - is interesting. Our parents, both inner and outer, have such a profound effect on how we "do" and "don't do" life.


Cindy H said...

Interesting that "conjure" is one of the words for beg! We know how to conjure, don't we?

karla said...

Cindy, how funny! I was going to say the same thing! I would much rather conjure than beg! Begging seems desperate while conjuring seems like one would be totally in control..making something happen. Interesting! Have a great weekend!

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