E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A brotherhood which rose in the Low Countries in the twelfth century, and was so called from Lambert Bègue. The male society were Beghards, the female, Beguins. They took no vows, and were free to leave the society when they liked. In the seventeenth century, those who survived the persecutions of the popes and inquisition joined the Tertiarii of the Franciscans. (See BEGUINS.)