What does beggars belief mean, in general and in this sentence?

It beggars belief that removing the tag was so urgent that you couldn't wait for a response more than 40 minutes before removing it.

  • 1
    This expression's popularity suddenly rocketed in the UK around 1980. One assumes there was some reason why. See Ngram. – Peter Shor Aug 10 '14 at 13:12

It means that something is as close to unbelievable as it can get. To beggar something is to turn it into a pauper, squash it flat, eradicate it, or unembiggen it.


beggar belief (or description ) be too extraordinary to be believed or described.

Edit: Oh, by the way, beggar is used as a verb here.

Edit: Oh, yeah, so in this sentence it means "I can't believe you couldn't wait for more than 40 minutes for a response."

  • That's probably the reason I didn't understand the meaning: I thought beggars was used as noun. – kiamlaluno Feb 18 '11 at 1:12
  • @kiamlaluno: You could replace beggar with defies in that phrase, indeed I sometimes hear it that way. – Orbling Feb 18 '11 at 2:30
  • What dialect of English is this? I've never heard it in American English. – Brett Allen Feb 18 '11 at 3:52
  • 3
    It is a perfectly cromulent word. – bye Feb 18 '11 at 6:27
  • 2
    @BrettAllen, certainly exists in British and Australian English – drfrogsplat Mar 26 '14 at 23:43

protected by Andrew Leach Aug 10 '14 at 8:35

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