• WordNet 3.6
    • n beggary a solicitation for money or food (especially in the street by an apparently penniless person)
    • n beggary the state of being a beggar or mendicant "they were reduced to mendicancy"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Beggary Beggarly appearance. "The freedom and the beggary of the old studio."
    • a Beggary Beggarly.
    • Beggary The act of begging; the state of being a beggar; mendicancy; extreme poverty.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n beggary The state of a beggar; a condition of extreme indigence.
    • n beggary The act or practice of begging; the occupation of a beggar; begging.
    • n beggary Beggars collectively; beggardom; beggarhood.
    • n beggary A state of bareness or deficiency.
    • beggary Beggarly; poor; mean.
    • beggary Full of weeds.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Beggary extreme poverty
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. beggerie,. See Beggar (n.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
The ety. is very obscure; the words beg and beggar first appear in the 13th century, and Dr Murray thinks the most likely derivation is from the O. Fr. begart, begard, and begar (L. beghardus = beghard), or its synonym beguine and derivative verb beguigner, beguiner, to act the beguin. The Beghards or Beguines were a lay mendicant order, and in the 13th century mendicants calling themselves by these names swarmed over Western Europe.


In literature:

So must we all, each in his job, if life isn't to turn to beggary.
"Erdgeist (Earth-Spirit)" by Frank Wedekind
He was minded at times to mention this degrading beggary, but always refrained.
"The Man Who Wins" by Robert Herrick
He had none of the habits which bring men to beggary.
"Bunyan" by James Anthony Froude
They had escaped from beggary on shore only to perish at sea and to be consigned to a watery grave.
"The Red River Colony" by Louis Aubrey Wood
Thousands of families will be reduced to beggary.
"The Great Events by Famous Historians, v. 13" by Various
Reduced almost to beggary, Franklin felt compelled to furnish him with money to save him from starvation.
"Benjamin Franklin, A Picture of the Struggles of Our Infant Nation One Hundred Years Ago" by John S. C. Abbott
He won L20,000, kept the stock too long and was reduced to beggary.
"The Age of Pope" by John Dennis
I do not wonder that we are fast coming to beggary and ruin.
"Hope Mills" by Amanda M. Douglas
He actually banished beggary from the principality.
"A History of Science, Volume 5(of 5)" by Henry Smith Williams
There vegetated in the most sordid uncleanliness the subjects of the kingdom of beggary.
"Paris from the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Volume 1" by William Walton

In poetry:

The pleasures, the debauch'd and lewd enjoy,
To beggary and want directly lead,
And, like an overwhelming flame, destroy
The wealth of those, that stain the marriage-bed.
"Advice And Warning To The Adulterer" by Rees Prichard
I see my life behind me: bad enough--
Drink, duels, madness, beggary, and pride,
The life of the unfit: yet ere I drop
On Nature's rubbish heap, I weigh it all,
And give you all a toast--
"The Wild Knight" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (petulantly)
"Out on your Gregory! Visions of beggary
Haunt us whenever we bear of his name.
Labor or Liberal, Jimmy or Gregory.
Wade or McGowen, they're both much the same.
"A Dirge of the Morning After" by C J Dennis
The servingman the plowman would invite
To leave his calling and to take delight;
But he to that by no means will agree,
Lest he thereby should come to beggary.
He makes it plain appear a country life
Doth far excel: and so they end the strife.
"God Speed The Plow, And Bless The Corn-Mow. A Dialogue Between The Husbandman And Servingman" by Anonymous British