beggar

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a beggar on horseback

One who has become unscrupulous or irresponsible due to the sudden acquisition of wealth. The phrase alludes to several related proverbs, such as "give a beggar a horse and he'll ride it to death" and "set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil," which suggest that an unexpected windfall is often misused or squandered. I'm not surprised to hear that he's broke again—he always seemed like a beggar on horseback.
See also: beggar, horseback, on

beggar (all) description

proverb To defy attempts at description; to be difficult or impossible to describe or explain. My mother loves decorating for Christmas, so during the holidays, her house is fit for Santa himself. It truly beggars description. My boss's incompetence is astounding. It truly beggars all description.
See also: beggar, description

beggar belief

To defy attempts at description; to be difficult or impossible to describe or explain. The spectacular vista at the Grand Canyon beggars belief. My boss's incompetence is astounding. It truly beggars all belief.
See also: beggar, belief

beggar thy neighbor

Referring to an economic policy that seeks to improve domestic economic conditions at the expense of other countries. Hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. Yes, but putting these high tariffs on imports would only address our country's economic depression in a beggar-thy-neighbor sort of way.
See also: beggar, neighbor, thy

beggar's bush

Ruin or devastation. Unless you want to end up at beggar's bush, you better watch how much money you're spending.
See also: bush

beggars can't be choosers

You must accept that which is given to you, especially if you don't have the means to acquire it yourself. That dress wasn't exactly what I would have picked for myself, but, hey, it was free, and I'm broke right now. Beggars can't be choosers.
See also: beggar

Give a beggar a horse, and he'll ride it to death.

proverb If a poor person suddenly comes into wealth, they will inevitably use it in unscrupulous or irresponsible ways. It was a heartwarming story to hear about the homeless man who found a winning lottery ticket for nearly $2 million. But just a year later, he's back in the headlines for being back on the streets, having squandered all that money on drugs, alcohol, and expensive super cars. Truly, you give a beggar a horse, and he'll ride to the devil.
See also: and, beggar, give, ride

if wishes were horses

proverb Wishing for something won't make it happen. You have to work for the things you want, not merely wish for them to come true. A shortening of the proverb "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." A: "I just wish I earned a little bit more money than I do now." B: "Well, if wishes were horses."" The president said he wishes the country would be more united on this issue, but if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.
See also: horse, if, wish

if wishes were horses, (then) beggars might ride

One must work for the things one wants, not merely wish for them to come true; wishing for something won't make it happen. A: "I just wish I was earning a little bit more money than I do now." B: "Well, if wishes were horses, beggars might ride." The president said he wishes the country would be more united on this issue, but if wishes were horses, then beggars might ride.
See also: beggar, if, might, ride, wish

if wishes were horses, (then) beggars would ride

proverb One must work for the things one wants, not merely wish for them to come true; wishing for something won't make it happen. A: "I just wish I was earning a little bit more money than I do now." B: "Well, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride." The president said he wishes the country would be more united on this issue, but if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.
See also: beggar, if, ride, wish

Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.

proverb If a poor person suddenly comes into wealth, they will inevitably use it in unscrupulous or irresponsible ways. It was a heartwarming story to hear about the homeless man who found a winning lottery ticket for nearly $2 million. But just a year later, he's back in the headlines for being back on the streets, having squandered all that money on drugs, alcohol, and expensive super cars. Truly, you set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.
See also: and, beggar, on, ride, set
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

beggar (all) description

to defy description; to be unable to be described. The house was a horrible mess. The place beggared description. Our reaction to the proposal beggars description. We were deeply disturbed for days.
See also: beggar, description

Beggars can't be choosers.

Prov. If someone gives you something you asked for, you should not complain about what you get. I asked Joe to lend me his bicycle, and he sent me this old, rusty one. But beggars can't be choosers. Jill: Let me wear your green dress; I don't like the blue one you lent me. Jane: Beggars can't be choosers.
See also: Beggar

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

Prov. People make a lot of wishes, but wishing is useless. Jill: If I were Queen of the World, I would make sure that everyone had enough to eat. Jane: And if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. Alan: I sure wish I had one of those expensive cameras. Jane: If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.
See also: beggar, if, ride, wish

Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.

Prov. If a poor person becomes wealthy, he or she will quickly become corrupt. Jill: Since Phil inherited all that money, all he does is go to parties and take drugs. Jane: Yep. Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.
See also: and, beggar, devil, on, ride, set
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

beggar description

Defy or outdo any possible description, as in The stage set was so elaborate, it beggared description. This term, alluding to the idea that words are insufficient to do something justice, was already used by Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra (2:2), "For her own person It beggared all description."
See also: beggar, description

beggars can't be choosers

Those in dire need must be content with what they get. For example, The cheapest model will have to do-beggars can't be choosers. This expression was familiar enough to be included in John Heywood's 1546 collection of proverbs.
See also: beggar

if wishes were horses

If one could readily have what one wanted, life would be easy. For example, Wendy would love a brand-new car for her sixteenth birthday but-if wishes were horses. This expression is a shortening of If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, first recorded about 1628 in a collection of Scottish proverbs.
See also: horse, if, wish
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

beggars can't be choosers

You say beggars can't be choosers to mean that you should not reject an option if it is the only one which is available to you. Initially I'd take any job that was offered me — beggars can't be choosers. There are some apartments available, and beggars can't be choosers, but they're not very nice.
See also: beggar
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

beggar belief (or description)

be too extraordinary to be believed (or described).
See also: beggar, belief

beggar on horseback

a formerly poor person made arrogant or corrupt through achieving wealth and luxury.
Compare with the mid 17th-century proverb set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil , meaning that a person not used to power will use it unwisely.
See also: beggar, horseback, on

beggars can't be choosers

people with no other options must be content with what is offered. proverb
See also: beggar

if wishes were horses, beggars would ride

if you could achieve your aims simply by wishing for them, life would be very easy. proverb
This expression was first recorded in the early 17th century as a Scottish proverb.
See also: beggar, if, ride, wish
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

beggar beˈlief/deˈscription

be too strange and unusual to be believed/described: It beggars belief that no one knew she was stealing money for so long.The sight of him completely covered with mud and oil beggared description.

ˌbeggars can’t be ˈchoosers

(saying) when there is no choice, you have to be satisfied with whatever you can get: I would have preferred a bed, but beggars can’t be choosers so I slept on the sofa in the living room.
See also: beggar

if wishes were ˌhorses, beggars would/might ˈride

(saying) wishing for something does not make it happen
See also: beggar, if, might, ride, wish
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

beggar description, to

Impossible to describe accurately because mere words are not enough. The phrase is Shakespeare’s, who used it in referring to Cleopatra’s beauty: “For her own person, it beggar’d all description” (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.2). It not only entered the language but was, by the late eighteenth century (according to Eric Partridge), a cliché.
See also: beggar

beggars can't be choosers

Those in need must take whatever they can get. A proverb in John Heywood’s 1546 collection, this expression has been repeated ever since, with very little variation. A minor exception was Thomas Fuller’s version (Gnomologia, 1732), “Beggars and Borrowers must be no Chusers.”
See also: beggar
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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