1. a man, a person, used both negatively, e.g. a nasty-looking beggar, and positively or affectionately, e.g. you’re a funny beggar.
|Peter Simple (1911) 365: Well, I’m d---d glad we’ve got hold of the beggar at last.|
|Punch 24 July I 15: Kick that beggar out!|
|Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 81: Why the beggar’s asleep already!|
|Golden Age (Queenbeyan, NSW) 7 Aug. 3/3: ‘[T]hem Parliament chaps [...] I’d give the beggars a whip and set them bullock driving, and see how high they’d hold their heads then’.|
|Wild Boys of London I 261/1: A pretty silly beggarbo you are [...] Why yer sneaking Pug of a Waddling beggarbo, I’ll make yer look nine ways to Sunday.|
|Broad Arrow Jack 4: You are the most confoundly cowardly beggar that ever lived.|
|Slaver’s Adventures 348: We is free American citizens, and ain’t used to being run over by every beggar that floats on the sea.|
|Lays of Ind (1905) 50: [We’ll keep him there fast / As long as the beggar will stay.|
|Five Years’ Penal Servitude 199: Greedy beggar, I shall look sharp after him next time.|
|Dundee Courier (Scot.) 14 July 7/3: He’s a nasty beggar.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 7/3: His love for experimenting, however, was too strong to allow him to confine his abilities to writing up Police Court pars. And slangwhanging the ‘beggar opposite’.|
|Fire Trumpet I 163: Lucky that greedy beggar Jack didn’t know I had any more provender.|
|Truth (Sydney) 17 June 1/4: Though ‘owning’ several pubs in town, / I never lambed a beggar down.|
|No. 5 John Street 181: He is always like that. Rum beggar!|
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 2 Mar. 2/3: He’s a droll beggar and makes you laugh.|
|Wind in the Willows (1995) 28: Otter hauled himself out [...] ‘Greedy beggars!’ he observed, making for the provender. ‘Why didn’t you invite me, Ratty?’.|
|Jim of the Ranges 5: He’s an easy-going beggar, but he has [...] a great derry on skyte.|
|Gem 28 Oct. 20: He was a queer beggar.|
|Ulysses 360: There he goes. Funny little beggar.|
|Down and Out in Complete Works I (1986) 164: The trouble is, the beggars scatter as soon as you turn round with the hat.|
|Battlers 215: Oh look! the baby! Jeeze, he’s a fat little beggar!|
|Alcoholics (1993) 14: The beggar managed to stay stiff enough as it was.|
|Ruling Class I xvi: We’ll call the little beggar Bussay d’Ambois.|
|Service of all the Dead (1980) 240: There was Philip, a clever little beggar, with all the natural gifts any boy could ask for.|
|Vinnie Got Blown Away 166: Get the little beggars treated eh?|
|Indep. Rev. 27 Mar. 3: Put the little beggars in, let them out one by one, and pow!|
|Beyond Black 174: You daft old beggar.|
2. a thing, an object, a creature.
|Peter Simple (1911) 10: You must larn to chaw baccy, drink grog, and call the cat a beggar.|
|Coventry Herald 11 Oct. 2/3: Them there long beggars stand for pots [...] and these here short uns is for pints.|
|Upper Ten Thousand 31: G’lang, you beggar!|
|Harry Coverdale’s Courtship 39: Have you seen the rabbit warren [...] there are such a lot of the beggars jumping about!|
|Post to Finish II 187: [of a racehorse] ‘Riddleton ought to take the Leger again this year.’ ‘All depends upon whether that beggar thinks so.’.|
|‘The Drover’s Wife’ in Roderick (1972) 47: [of a snake] Stand back! I’ll have the beggar.|
|Boy’s Own Paper 15 Oct. 37: Hit the beggar hard right in the middle of the eye. A crocodile is very tender about the eye.|
|Mr Trunnell Mate of the Ship ‘Pirate’ Ch. i: Well, you infernal beggar, do you mean to say that you’ve passed yourself off as a seaman?|
|Nights in Town 223: I can feel the little beggars dropping on my helmet.|
|On the Anzac Trail 22: [T]he beggars kept dropping on us below. We didn’t like it; there are nicer things than fishing for lively cockroaches inside your shirt.|
|Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I viii: [of a safe] Type K-four-two-eight-Colby [...] A nasty little beggar—and it’s eleven o’clock now!|
|Sudden Takes the Trail 208: Hell! [...] The beggars must be damn’ near all teeth.|
|I saw Strange Land 142: Don’t you camella be cranky beggar.|
SE in slang uses
in card-playing, the lower cards, marked two–ten.
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
|DSUE (1984) 66/2: C.19–20 ob.|
an enthusiast, one who is keen on, e.g. a beggar for work, a beggar to argue.
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor II 178/2: Father vos allus a rum ’un; – sich a beggar for lush.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 5 July 18/3: There was once the son of a Gunn, / A beggar to slog and to run; / He hit ’em so fast / That our boys looked aghast / A groaned ‘He has collared the bun.’.|
|Sporting Times 10 Feb. 1/3: ‘How much are the grapes?’ ‘Half-a-guinea a pound, sir,’ answered the maiden. ‘Ah, I’m a beggar for fruit. How much are the peaches?’ ‘A guinea a-piece, sir.’ ‘Ah, I’m a beggar for fruit. Have you got any carrots?’.|
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 13 Feb. 1/3: Like the sailor’s cockatoo, they must be ‘beggars to think’.|
|Bushman All 164: He’s a beggar to graft, an’ strong as a horse.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Dec. 13/2: Anyhow, he never smiled again – and he had been a beggar to smile.|
|Boy’s Own Paper XL 5 281: Jack’s a beggar for grub.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
a popular toast, i.e. ‘may your prick and purse never fail you’ (Grose, 1785).
|Humphrey Clinker (1925) II 65: Mr. Fraser proposed the following toasts, which I don’t attempt to explain: – ‘The best in Christendom’ [...] ‘The beggar’s benison’.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: The beggar’s benison: May your ***** and purse never fail you.|
|Honest Fellow 218: Sentiments [...] The beggar’s benison — [A thatched cabin, clean straw, and a sound wench; or, That P— and C— may never fail you].|
|Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 9: Benison — is derived from the French Benir, to bless, bennissez — bless him (or her), and came over with the first Norman. ‘The Beggar’s Benison’ is a jocose toast or sentiment:— ‘May our p—s or purses never fail us.’ ‘The Devil’s Benison,’ is shocking to relate: ’tis damnatory.|
|Judith in Sylvester Du Bartas (1608) 698: A pack of country clowns that them to battail bownes With beggers bolts and levers [OED].|
|Caledonian Mercury 13 Mar. 3/1: A numerous Mob of Females, armed with Clubs and Bdeggar-bullets [...] attaked the Revenue-men.|
|Derby Mercury 8 June 1/3: Large Stones and smaller Pebbles were flung up [and] the House was thus battered with Beggars Bullets.|
|Hiberian Jrnl 3 Jan. 1/4: But sahould we chance to meet / A tough or stubborn Foe, / Where Crutches can’t assail, / We’ll Beggar’s Bullets throw.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Dublin Eve. Post 7 June 3/3: His Grace and suite were assaulted with a shower of beggars bullets.|
|Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 8: Beggars’ bullets — stones, thrown by a mob, who then get fired upon, as a matter of course.|
|Londres et les Anglais 313/1: beggard’s [sic] bullets, [...] pierres.|
used in phrs. such as go home by beggar’s bush to imply that one is ruined.
|Dialogue 78: In the ende thei go home [...] by weepyng cross, by beggers barne, and by knaues acre.|
|Quip for an Upstart Courtier B: They themselves walking home by Beggar’s Bush for a penance.|
|Two Angry Women of Abington G4: They haue daunst a galliard at Beggars bush for it.|
|Worthies (1840) II 398: ‘This is the way to Beggar’s-bush.’ It is spoken of such who use dissolute and improvident courses, which tend to poverty; Beggar’s-bush being a tree notoriously known, on the left hand of London road from Huntingdon to Caxton.|
|Saunders’s News-Letter 26 Dec. 1/4: The Coronation of King Clause (the King of the Beggars) at Beggar’s Bush.|
|Provincial Gloss. (1811) [as cit. 1662].|
(UK prison) a sentence of 90 days’ imprisonment, commonly that meted out for vagrancy.
|Lag’s Lex. 15: beggar’s lagging A three months’ sentence of imprisonment.|
corduroy, cotton velvet.
|London Gazette 2370 4: A person [...] in a dark grey Cloth Coat [...] Breeches of beggar’s plush [F&H].|
(US) chicken fat.
|Don’t Tread on Me (1987) 29: 32 m. chicken fat (also called ‘beggar’s schmaltz’).letter 26 Apr. in Crowther|
particles of lint and similar household dirt that gather behind or beneath sofas, tables or beds (often following the shaking of an eiderdown).
|Dict. Archaic and Provincial Words I 159/1: beggars-velvet. The light particles of down shaken from a feather-bed, and left by a sluttish housemaid to collect under it.|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
|Dict. of Rhy. Sl. 38/1: beggar boy’s ass, (1) Brass, money; hence the term is associative. It dates from late 19C.|
2. Bass ale.
|Dict. of Rhy. Sl.|
|Maledicta II:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 117: Beggar boy’s [ass] is not sexual: it means Bass (ale).|
see devil-on-the-coals under devil n.
(US) a Native American.
‘a jocular reproach to a proud man’ (Grose, 1785).
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Eat, like a beggar man, and wag his under jaw, a jocular reproach to a proud man.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
to drink beer after spirits.
|DSUE (8th edn) 66/2: mid-19C–20.|
to be impoverished.
|Kansas Irish 263: He was staggering down toward the haystacks, shouting back an occasional defiance, and a threat to go back to Ireland and scratch a beggar’s arse in peace.|