The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Begin \Be*gin"\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Began, Begun; p. pr. &
vb. n. Beginning.] [AS. beginnan (akin to OS. biginnan, D.
& G. beginnen, OHG. biginnan, Goth., du-ginnan, Sw. begynna,
Dan. begynde); pref. be- + an assumed ginnan. [root]31. See
Gin to begin.]
1. To have or commence an independent or first existence; to
take rise; to commence.
Vast chain of being! which from God began. --Pope.
2. To do the first act or the first part of an action; to
enter upon or commence something new, as a new form or
state of being, or course of action; to take the first
step; to start. "Tears began to flow." --Dryden.
When I begin, I will also make an end. --1 Sam. iii.