- to reduce to utter poverty; impoverish:
- to cause one's resources of or ability for (description, comparison, etc.) to seem poor or inadequate
early 13c., from O.Fr. begart, originally a member of the Beghards, lay brothers of mendicants in the Low Countries, from M.Du. beggaert "mendicant," of uncertain origin, with pejorative suffix (see -ard). Cf. Beguine. Early folk etymology connected the English word with bag. The feminine form beggestere is attested as a surname from c.1300. The verb meaning "to reduce to poverty" is from 1520s. Beggar's velvet was an old name for "dust bunnies."
"I played the game to an end with Estella, and she beggared me. She threw the cards down on the table when she had won them all, as if she despised them for having been won of me."
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations