begin - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlebeginning
past tensebegan
past participlebegun
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to start happening or existing

    She felt her life was just beginning.

    The ceremony is due to begin at noon.

    My troubles began the night I met Roger.

    begin as:

    It began as a practical joke.

    1. a.
      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.

    2. b.
      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.

    3. c.
      if a place begins somewhere, that is the first point where you consider it to be

      The Lake District begins just north of Kendal.

    4. d.
  2. 2
    [transitive] to start doing something
    begin doing something:

    He began shouting abuse 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.

    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!

    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] to make an activity or process start or exist

      The police have already begun their investigation.

      Their truck began the steep descent to the village.

      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.

      begin (something) as something:

      He began his working life as a waiter.

    3. c.
      [transitive] to give your attention to something for the first time

      I began the book with high hopes.