Etymology
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begin (v.)

Old English beginnan "to attempt, undertake," a rare word beside the more usual form onginnan (class III strong verb; past tense ongann, past participle ongunnen); from be- + West Germanic *ginnan, which is of obscure etymology and found only in compounds, perhaps "to open, open up" (compare Old High German in-ginnan "to cut open, open up," also "begin, undertake"), with sense evolution from "open" to "begin." Cognates elsewhere in Germanic include Old Frisian biginna "to begin," Middle Dutch beghinnen, Old High German beginnan, German beginnen, Old Frisian bijenna "to begin," Gothic duginnan.

From late 12c. as "originate, be the originator of;" from c. 1200 as "take the first step in, start to deal with." Intransitive sense "come into existence" is from mid-13c.

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Definitions of begin
1
begin (v.)
take the first step or steps in carrying out an action;
He began early in the day
We began working at dawn
The first tourists began to arrive in Cambodia
Synonyms: get down / get / start out / start / set about / set out / commence
begin (v.)
have a beginning, in a temporal, spatial, or evaluative sense;
The second movement begins after the Allegro
The DMZ begins right over the hill
Synonyms: start
begin (v.)
set in motion, cause to start;
The Iraqis began hostilities
begin a new chapter in your life
Synonyms: lead off / start / commence
begin (v.)
begin to speak or say;
`Now listen, friends', he began
begin (v.)
be the first item or point, constitute the beginning or start, come first in a series;
The convocation ceremony officially begins the semester
A terrible murder begins the novel
The number `one' begins the sequence
begin (v.)
have a beginning, of a temporal event;
The company's Asia tour begins next month
WW II began in 1939 when Hitler marched into Poland
begin (v.)
have a beginning characterized in some specified way;
Her day begins with a workout
My property begins with the three maple trees
The semester begins with a convocation ceremony
The novel begins with a murder
Synonyms: start
begin (v.)
begin an event that is implied and limited by the nature or inherent function of the direct object;
begin a cigar
Synonyms: start
begin (v.)
achieve or accomplish in the least degree, usually used in the negative;
This economic measure doesn't even begin to deal with the problem of inflation
You cannot even begin to understand the problem we had to deal with during the war
begin (v.)
begin to speak, understand, read, and write a language;
She began Russian at an early age
2
Begin (n.)
Israeli statesman (born in Russia) who (as prime minister of Israel) negotiated a peace treaty with Anwar Sadat (then the president of Egypt) (1913-1992);
Synonyms: Menachem Begin
From wordnet.princeton.edu