Definition of “begin” - English Dictionary

“begin” in British English

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beginverb [ I or T ]

uk /bɪˈɡɪn/ us /bɪˈɡɪn/ present participle beginning, past tense began, past participle begun

begin verb [ I or T ] (START TO HAPPEN)

A1 to start to happen or exist:

What time does the concert begin?
The bridge was begun five years ago and the estimated cost has already doubled.
The film they want to watch begins at seven.
The meeting began promisingly, but then things started to go wrong.

More examples

  • The plane began to make its final descent into the airport.
  • Stir the sauce gently until it begins to boil.

begin verb [ I or T ] (START TO DO)

A2 to start to do something:

I began the book six months ago, but I can't seem to finish it.
[ + -ing verb ] Jane has just begun learning to drive.
If you want to learn to play a musical instrument, it might be a good idea to begin on something simple.
[ + to infinitive ] After waiting for half an hour she was beginning to get angry.
I have so much to tell you, I don't know where to begin.

More examples

  • The audience was becoming restless as they waited for the performance to begin.
  • You will begin to feel sleepy as the drug enters your bloodstream.
  • She cleared her throat nervously before she began to speak.

(Definition of “begin” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“begin” in American English

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beginverb [ I/T ]

us /bɪˈɡɪn/ present participle beginning, past tense began /bɪˈɡæn/ , past participle begun /bɪˈɡʌn/

to do or be the first part of something that continues; start:

[ T ] He begins his new job on Monday.
[ I ] The movie begins at seven.
[ I ] I began by explaining why I had come.


(Definition of “begin” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)