begin


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a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

A daunting task can usually be started by doing a simple thing. I'm feeling really overwhelmed about my research project, but I have to start somewhere, since a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

an all-out effort

An attempt made with one's full attention and/or fortitude; one's best effort. To beat the best team in the league, we need to make an all-out effort tonight, boys. As soon as I got an academic warning, I started an all-out effort to improve my grades.
See also: effort

begin by (doing something)

To start by taking a particular action (which is named after "by"). We will begin by stretching. I began by checking out all the library books I would need for my research.
See also: begin

begin to see daylight

To realize that one is approaching the end of a project or task. When I scheduled my thesis defense, I began to see daylight after two years of hard work.
See also: begin, daylight, see

begin to see the light

To start to understand something, especially something that one was previously confused about or skeptical of. Tutoring helped me begin to see the light about these physics equations. I used to wonder why people disliked Lydia, but I began to see the light after I caught her making fun of me.
See also: begin, light, see

begin with (someone or something)

To start with someone or something; to have someone or something be the first in a series. Let's begin with stretching and then we'll move on to cardio. You'll all have time to share about your summer vacations, but Caroline, we'll begin with you.
See also: begin

charity begins at home

One should help family and close friends before helping others. When are you going to get your dear sister a job at your company? Remember, charity begins at home! She seems to have forgotten that charity begins at home—she has no problem volunteering at the church but rarely visits her own mother.
See also: begin, charity, home

*an all-out effort

a very good and thorough effort. (*Typically: begin ~; have ~; make ~; start ~.) We need to make an all-out effort to get this job done on time. The government began an all-out effort to reduce the federal budget.
See also: effort

begin by doing something

to start out by doing something first. We will begin by painting the house. She began by opening the door.
See also: begin

begin to see daylight

Fig. to begin to see the end of a long task. I've been working on my thesis for two years, and at last I'm beginning to see daylight. I've been so busy. Only in the last week have I begun to see daylight.
See also: begin, daylight, see

begin to see the light

Fig. to begin to understand something. (See also see the light (at the end of the tunnel).) My algebra class has been hard for me, but I'm beginning to see the light. I was totally confused, but I began to see the light after your explanation.
See also: begin, light, see

begin with someone or something

to start off a sequence with someone or something. Let's have dinner begin with a nice clear soup. I will begin with Liz and take Frank next.
See also: begin

Charity begins at home.

Prov. You should take care of family and people close to you before you worry about helping others. I don't think our church should worry so much about a foreign relief fund when there are people in need right here in our city. Charity begins at home. If you really want to make the world a better place, start by being polite to your sister. Charity begins at home.
See also: begin, charity, home

He that would the daughter win, must with the mother first begin.

Prov. If you want to marry a woman, you should find a way to impress her mother, so that the mother will favor her marrying you. Harry: I think I want to marry Gina. Bill: Don't propose to her until you're sure her mother is on your side. He that would the daughter win, must with the mother first begin.

He who begins many things, finishes but few.

Prov. If you start a lot of projects, you will not have time and energy to complete them all. (Can be used to warn someone against starting too many projects.) Sarah's room is littered with sweaters and mittens she started to knit but never finished, a testament to the fact that she who begins many things, finishes but few.
See also: begin, but, few, finish, he, many, who

He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom.

Prov. If you want to gain high status, you must start with low status and slowly work upwards. Although Thomas hoped to become a famous journalist, he didn't mind working for a small-town newspaper at first. "He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom," he said.
See also: begin, bottom, climb, he, ladder, must, who

jumping-off point

 and jumping-off place
a point or place from which to begin something. The local library is a good jumping-off point for your research. The office job in that company would be a good jumping-off place for a career in advertising.
See also: point

Life begins at forty.

Prov. By the time you are forty years old, you have enough experience and skill to do what you want to do with your life. (Often said as an encouragement to those reaching middle age.) Alan: Why are you so depressed? Jane: Tomorrow's my fortieth birthday. Alan: Cheer up! Life begins at forty. For Pete, life began at forty, because by that time he had enough financial security to enjoy himself now and then, rather than having to work all the time.
See also: begin, forty, life

see the light

Fig. to understand something clearly at last. After a lot of studying and asking many questions, I finally saw the light. I know that geometry is difficult. Keep working at it. You'll see the light pretty soon.
See also: light, see

see the light (at the end of the tunnel)

Fig. to foresee an end to one's problems after a long period of time. (See also begin to see the light.) I had been horribly ill for two months before I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I began to see the light one day in early spring. At that moment, I knew I'd get well.
See also: light, see

see the light (of day)

Fig. to come to the end of a very busy time. Finally, when the holiday season was over, we could see the light of day. We had been so busy! When business lets up for a while, we'll be able to see the light.
See also: light, see

begin to see daylight

Realize that a task is finally nearing completion, that success or the right solution is near at hand. For example, I've been working on this experiment for two years and I'm finally beginning to see daylight . The noun daylight has been a metaphor for knowledge and solution since the late 1600s. Also see light at the end of the tunnel; see the light.
See also: begin, daylight, see

charity begins at home

Be generous to your family before helping others. For example, She spends hours and hours on volunteer work and neglects the children, forgetting that charity begins at home . This proverb was first recorded in English, in slightly different form, in John Wycliffe's Of Prelates (c. 1380); "Charity should begin at himself."
See also: begin, charity, home

see the light

Also, begin to see the light. Understand or begin to understand something; also, see the merit of another's explanation or decision. For example, Dean had been trying to explain that tax deduction for fifteen minutes when I finally saw the light , or Pat was furious she and her friends were not allowed to go hiking on their own in the mountains, but she began to see the light when a group got lost up there . This term, dating from the late 1600s, originally referred to religious conversion, the light meaning "true religion." By the early 1800s it was used more broadly for any kind of understanding. Also see light at the end of a tunnel; see the light of day.
See also: light, see

to start with

Also, to begin with. In the first place, initially, as in We'll notify him by e-mail to start with, or To begin with, they haven't paid their taxes in years. The first term dates from the second half of the 1800s, the variant from the mid-1500s. Also see for openers.
See also: start

charity begins at home

or

charity starts at home

If you say charity begins at home or charity starts at home, you mean that you should deal with the needs of people close to you before you start to help others who are far away. Charity begins at home. There are many tasks right on campus that need volunteers as well. There are other cases in other countries but I think that charity should start at home.
See also: begin, charity, home

see the light

COMMON
1. If someone sees the light, they realize or understand something, often something that makes them change wrong or unpleasant behaviour or opinions. Eventually he had seen the light and broken off the relationship.
2. If someone sees the light, they start believing in a religion. Pray for them that they may see the light.
See also: light, see

to start with

1. At the beginning; initially.
2. In any case.
See also: start
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Although rock salt remains bone dry until the surrounding air reaches a relative humidity of 75 percent, the mix of polluting salts, such as ammonium nitrate, begins building a thin film of water on its surface at a relative humidity as low as 20 percent.
From their observations of their clinical supervisor as well as other teachers in the buildings where they are assigned, they begin to define themselves as teachers.
Deliveries of the purchased aircraft begin in late 2005 and will run through 2006.
Once the environment was seen as a system big things begin to happen.
As the throwing action begins, the arm starts forward and the hand turns the ball over.
The airline will begin daily nonstop service between Indianapolis and Orlando June 7 2005.
Wal-Mart will begin phasing in the EPC system in its north Texas stores in January 2005, "Probably by the end of 2006 we will have all of our stores outfitted with RF readers," said Ron Moser, strategy manager in Wal-Mart's logistics information systems department.
Chapter 31 begins one of the most powerful expressions of the prophet's visions of the power and compassionate love of God.
Once your student is accustomed to the idea that music, like words, occurs in meaningful groups, it is time to begin to compare those groups.
Then that story fades out and another story emerges, and you begin to wonder how the system could have broken down so many times.
This process begins as the first staff members arrive at camp and begin moving in.
There they would begin the London to Sydney Air Race 2001, the course of which stretched from Europe to Australia--with 26 stops in between.
The breviary itself as a form didn't begin until the 11th century, when one of the popes could no longer juggle all the books required to keep the Hours and asked his librarian to put together what were essentially Cliff Notes, just the opening six or eight words of each part of each service, so he would have a road map himself.
Here Anderson begins to lose his deft touch as he tries to enliven the political debates of the late 1760s, but brings the curtain down on his story just as those debates begin to point toward the American Revolution.