The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Beg \Beg\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Begged; p. pr. & vb. n.
Begging.] [OE. beggen, perh. fr. AS. bedecian (akin to
Goth. bedagwa beggar), biddan to ask. (Cf. Bid, v. t.); or
cf. beghard, beguin.]
1. To ask earnestly for; to entreat or supplicate for; to
I do beg your good will in this case. --Shak.
[Joseph] begged the body of Jesus. --Matt. xxvii.
Note: Sometimes implying deferential and respectful, rather
than earnest, asking; as, I beg your pardon; I beg
leave to disagree with you.
2. To ask for as a charity, esp. to ask for habitually or
from house to house.
Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his
seed begging bread. --Ps. xxxvii.
3. To make petition to; to entreat; as, to beg a person to
grant a favor.
4. To take for granted; to assume without proof.
5. (Old Law) To ask to be appointed guardiln for, or to aso
to havo a guardian appointed for.
Else some will beg thee, in the court of wards.
[1913 Webster] Hence:
To beg (one) for a fool, to take him for a fool.
I beg to, is an elliptical expression for I beg leave to;
as, I beg to inform you.
To beg the question, to assume that which was to be proved
in a discussion, instead of adducing the proof or
sustaining the point by argument.
To go a-begging, a figurative phrase to express the absence
of demand for something which elsewhere brings a price;
as, grapes are so plentiful there that they go a-begging.
Syn: To Beg, Ask, Request.
Usage: To ask (not in the sense of inquiring) is the generic
term which embraces all these words. To request is
only a polite mode of asking. To beg, in its original
sense, was to ask with earnestness, and implied
submission, or at least deference. At present,
however, in polite life, beg has dropped its original
meaning, and has taken the place of both ask and
request, on the ground of its expressing more of
deference and respect. Thus, we beg a person's
acceptance of a present; we beg him to favor us with
his company; a tradesman begs to announce the arrival
of new goods, etc. Crabb remarks that, according to
present usage, "we can never talk of asking a person's
acceptance of a thing, or of asking him to do us a
favor." This can be more truly said of usage in
England than in America.