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be

[bee; unstressed bee, bi]
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verb (used without object), present singular 1st person am, 2nd are or (Archaic) art, 3rd is, present plural are; past singular 1st person was, 2nd were or (Archaic) wast or wert, 3rd was, past plural were; present subjunctive be; past subjunctive singular 1st person were, 2nd were or (Archaic) wert, 3rd were; past subjunctive plural were; past participle been; present participle be·ing.
  1. to exist or live: Shakespeare's “To be or not to be” is the ultimate question.
  2. to take place; happen; occur: The wedding was last week.
  3. to occupy a place or position: The book is on the table.
  4. to continue or remain as before: Let things be.
  5. to belong; attend; befall: May good fortune be with you.
  6. (used as a copula to connect the subject with its predicate adjective, or predicate nominative, in order to describe, identify, or amplify the subject): Martha is tall. John is president. This is she.
  7. (used as a copula to introduce or form interrogative or imperative sentences): Is that right? Be quiet! Don't be facetious.
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auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person am, 2nd are or (Archaic) art, 3rd is, present plural are; past singular 1st person was, 2nd were or (Archaic) wast or wert, 3rd was, past plural were; present subjunctive be; past subjunctive singular 1st person were, 2nd were or (Archaic) wert, 3rd were; past subjunctive plural were; past participle been; present participle be·ing.
  1. (used with the present participle of another verb to form the progressive tense): I am waiting.
  2. (used with the present participle or infinitive of the principal verb to indicate future action): She is visiting there next week. He is to see me today.
  3. (used with the past participle of another verb to form the passive voice): The date was fixed. It must be done.
  4. (used in archaic or literary constructions with some intransitive verbs to form the perfect tense): He is come. Agamemnon to the wars is gone.
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Origin of be

before 900; Middle English been, Old English bēon (bēo- (akin to Old Frisian, Old High German bim, German bin, Old Saxon bium, biom (I) am, Old English, Old High German, Old Saxon būan, Old Norse būa reside, Latin fuī (I) have been, Greek phy- grow, become, Old Irish boí (he) was, Sanskrit bhávati (he) becomes, is, Lithuanian búti to be, OCS byti, Persian būd was)) + -n infinitive suffix. See am, is, are1, was, were
Can be confusedbe bee

Usage note

See me.

Be

Symbol, Chemistry.
  1. beryllium.
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B and E

or B&E

noun
  1. Law. the crime of breaking and entering: two of the elements of the crime of burglary.
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Origin of B and E

First recorded in 1960–65

Bé.

  1. Baumé.
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be-

  1. a native English prefix formerly used in the formation of verbs: become, besiege, bedaub, befriend.
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Origin of be-

Middle English, Old English, unstressed form of by1

B.E.

  1. Bachelor of Education.
  2. Bachelor of Engineering.
  3. Bank of England.
  4. bill of exchange.
  5. Board of Education.
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B/E

or b.e.

  1. bill of exchange.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for be

be1

verb present singular 1st person am; 2nd person are; 3rd person is; present plural are; past singular 1st person was; 2nd person were; 3rd person was; past plural were; present participle being or past participle been (intr)
  1. to have presence in the realm of perceived reality; exist; liveI think, therefore I am; not all that is can be understood
  2. (used in the perfect or past perfect tenses only) to pay a visit; gohave you been to Spain?
  3. to take place; occurmy birthday was last Thursday
  4. (copula) used as a linking verb between the subject of a sentence and its noun or adjective complement or complementing phrase. In this case be expresses the relationship of either essential or incidental equivalence or identity (John is a man; John is a musician) or specifies an essential or incidental attribute (honey is sweet; Susan is angry). It is also used with an adverbial complement to indicate a relationship of location in space or time (Bill is at the office; the dance is on Saturday)
  5. (takes a present participle) forms the progressive present tensethe man is running
  6. (takes a past participle) forms the passive voice of all transitive verbs and (archaically) certain intransitive onesa good film is being shown on television tonight; I am done
  7. (takes an infinitive) expresses intention, expectation, supposition, or obligationthe president is to arrive at 9.30; you are not to leave before I say so
  8. (takes a past participle) forms the perfect or past perfect tense of certain intransitive verbs of motion, such as go or comethe last train is gone
  9. be that as it may the facts concerning (something) are of no importance
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Word Origin

Old English bēon; related to Old High German bim am, Latin fui I have been, Greek phuein to bring forth, Sanskrit bhavati he is

be2

the internet domain name for
  1. Belgium
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Be

the chemical symbol for
  1. beryllium
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BE

abbreviation for
  1. bill of exchange
  2. (in the US) Board of Education
  3. Bachelor of Education
  4. Bachelor of Engineering
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abbreviation for
  1. Baumé
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be-

prefix forming verbs and verbal derivatives
  1. (from nouns) to surround completely; cover on all sidesbefog
  2. (from nouns) to affect completely or excessivelybedazzle
  3. (from nouns) to consider as or cause to bebefool; befriend
  4. (from nouns) to provide or cover withbejewel
  5. (from verbs) at, for, against, on, or overbewail; berate
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Word Origin

Old English be-, bi-, unstressed variant of by

B/E

BE or b.e.

abbreviation for
  1. bill of exchange
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for be

v.

Old English beon, beom, bion "be, exist, come to be, become, happen," from Proto-Germanic *biju- "I am, I will be." This "b-root" is from PIE root *bheue- "to be, exist, grow, come into being," and in addition to the words in English it yielded German present first and second person singular (bin, bist, from Old High German bim "I am," bist "thou art"), Latin perfective tenses of esse (fui "I was," etc.), Old Church Slavonic byti "be," Greek phu- "become," Old Irish bi'u "I am," Lithuanian bu'ti "to be," Russian byt' "to be," etc. It also is behind Sanskrit bhavah "becoming," bhavati "becomes, happens," bhumih "earth, world."

The modern verb to be in its entirety represents the merger of two once-distinct verbs, the "b-root" represented by be and the am/was verb, which was itself a conglomerate. Roger Lass ("Old English") describes the verb as "a collection of semantically related paradigm fragments," while Weekley calls it "an accidental conglomeration from the different Old English dial[ect]s." It is the most irregular verb in Modern English and the most common. Collective in all Germanic languages, it has eight different forms in Modern English:

BE (infinitive, subjunctive, imperative)
AM (present 1st person singular)
ARE (present 2nd person singular and all plural)
IS (present 3rd person singular)
WAS (past 1st and 3rd persons singular)
WERE (past 2nd person singular, all plural; subjunctive)
BEING (progressive & present participle; gerund)
BEEN (perfect participle).

The paradigm in Old English was:

SING.PL.
1st pres.ic eom
ic beo
we sind(on)
we beoð
2nd pres.þu eart
þu bist
ge sind(on)
ge beoð
3rd pres.he is
he bið
hie sind(on)
hie beoð
1st pret.ic wæswe wæron
2nd pret.þu wærege waeron
3rd pret.heo wæshie wæron
1st pret. subj.ic wærewe wæren
2nd pret. subj.þu wærege wæren
3rd pret. subj.Egcferð wærehie wæren

The "b-root" had no past tense in Old English, but often served as future tense of am/was. In 13c. it took the place of the infinitive, participle and imperative forms of am/was. Later its plural forms (we beth, ye ben, they be) became standard in Middle English and it made inroads into the singular (I be, thou beest, he beth), but forms of are claimed this turf in the 1500s and replaced be in the plural. For the origin and evolution of the am/was branches of this tangle, see am and was.

That but this blow Might be the be all, and the end all. ["Macbeth" I.vii.5]
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be-

word-forming element with a wide range of meaning: "thoroughly, completely; to make, cause seem; to provide with; at, on, to, for," from Old English be- "on all sides" (also used to make transitive verbs and as a privative or intensive prefix), from weak form of Old English bi "by," probably cognate with second syllable of Greek amphi, Latin ambi and originally meaning "about" (see ambi-).

This sense naturally drifted into intensive (cf. bespatter "spatter about," therefore "spatter very much"). Be- can also be privative (cf. behead), causative, or have just about any sense required. The prefix was productive 16c.-17c. in forming useful words, many of which have not survived, e.g. bethwack "to thrash soundly" (1550s), betongue "to assail in speech, to scold" (1630s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

be in Medicine

Be

  1. The symbol for the elementberyllium

be in Science

Be

beryllium

[bə-rĭlē-əm]
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with be

be

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.