Language: Old English
Origin: beginnan


beā€§gin S1 W1 past tense began past participle begun present participle beginning

start doing something

[intransitive and transitive] to start doing something:
As everybody's here, let's begin.
In the third year students begin the study of classical Chinese.
The President begins talks with the Prime Minister tonight.
begin to do something
She began to feel a sense of panic.
begin doing something
I began teaching in 1984.

start happening

[intransitive and transitive] if something begins, or you begin something, it starts to happen or exist from a particular time:
It was the coldest winter since records began.
begin at
The meeting begins at 10.30 am.

do first

[intransitive] if you begin with something or begin by doing something, this is the first thing you do
begin with
Shall we begin with a prayer?
begin by doing something
I'll begin by thanking you all for being here tonight.

book/word etc

[intransitive] if a book, film, or word begins with something, it starts with a particular event or letter
begin with
'Psychosis' begins with a P.


[intransitive and transitive] to start speaking:
'Ladies and gentlemen,' he began. ' I am delighted to be here.'

to begin with

a) spoken used to introduce the first and most important point you want to make:
Well, to begin with, he shouldn't even have been driving my car.
b) used to say that something was already in a particular condition before something else happened:
I didn't break it! It was like that to begin with.
c) during the first part of a process or activity:
The kids helped me to begin with, but they soon got bored.

can't begin to understand/imagine etc

spoken used to emphasize how difficult something is to understand etc:
I can't begin to imagine how awful it was.

begin (something) as something

phrasal verb
to be a particular thing at the start of your existence, working life etc:
Roger began his career as an office boy.

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