Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

begin - definition and synonyms

 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb begin pronunciation in American English /bɪˈɡɪn/
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theybegin
he/she/itbegins
present participlebeginning
past tensebegan
past participlebegun
  1. 1
    [transitive] to start doing something
    begin doing something: He began shouting at them.
    begin to do something: Suddenly the rain began to fall.
    be just beginning to do something (=to be at the earliest stage of doing something): The buds were just beginning to open.
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [transitive] to start feeling or thinking something
      begin to do something: Now we were beginning to feel excited.
      I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever find you!
      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] to make an activity or process start or exist
      Their truck began the steep descent to the village.
      The police have already begun their investigation.
      begin (something) as something: He began his working life as a waiter.
      begin (something) by doing something: I’d like to begin by thanking you all for coming.
      begin (something) with something: We began the meeting with a discussion about the budget.
    3. c.
      [transitive] to give your attention to something for the first time
      I began the book with high hopes.
  2. 2
    [intransitive] to start happening or existing
    My troubles began the night I met Roger.
    The ceremony is due to begin at noon.
    She felt her life was just beginning.
    begin as: It began as a practical joke.
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      if a sentence, book, etc. begins with a particular letter, word, etc., that is the first one in it
      begin with: We usually use “an” before a word beginning with a vowel.
      Synonyms and related words
    2. c.
      if an activity or process begins with something, that is the first thing that happens in it
      begin with: All meals begin with a short prayer.
      The competition began with one of the teams being disqualified.
      Synonyms and related words
    3. d.
      to start speaking
      “It isn’t like that”, he began, but Ben interrupted him.

phrases

JOMO

… a feeling of pleasure you get from spending time doing what you want and not worrying about what other people are doing or saying

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

brain fade

a temporary inability to think clearly or remember information

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog