were

[ wur; unstressed wer; British also wair ]
/ wɜr; unstressed wər; British also wɛər /

verb

a 2nd person singular pt. indicative, plural past indicative, and past subjunctive of be.

Origin of were

before 1000; Middle English; Old English wǣre past subjunctive, wǣre past indicative 2nd person singular and wǣron past indicative plural of wesan to be; cognate with Dutch, German waren, Danish var. See was

Can be confused

we're were where

Usage note

Definition for were (2 of 3)

be

[ bee; unstressed bee, bi ]
/ bi; unstressed bi, bɪ /

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.

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.

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 confused

be bee

Usage note

See me.

Definition for were (3 of 3)

we're

[ weer ]
/ wɪər /

contraction of we are: We're happy to see you.

Can be confused

we're were where

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for were (1 of 7)

were

/ (wɜː, unstressed ) /

verb

the plural form of the past tense (indicative mood) of be and the singular form used with you. It is also used as a subjunctive, esp in conditional sentences

Word Origin for were

Old English wērun, wæron past tense plural of wesan to be; related to Old Norse vera, Old Frisian weria, Old High German werōn to last

usage

Were, as a remnant of the past subjunctive in English, is used in formal contexts in clauses expressing hypotheses (if he were to die, she would inherit everything), suppositions contrary to fact (if I were you, I would be careful), and desire (I wish he were there now). In informal speech, however, was is often used instead

British Dictionary definitions for were (2 of 7)

Be


the chemical symbol for

beryllium

British Dictionary definitions for were (3 of 7)

BE


abbreviation for

bill of exchange
(in the US) Board of Education
Bachelor of Education
Bachelor of Engineering

British Dictionary definitions for were (4 of 7)


abbreviation for

Baumé

British Dictionary definitions for were (5 of 7)

we're

/ (wɪə) /

contraction of

we are

British Dictionary definitions for were (6 of 7)

be

1
/ (biː, unstressed ) /

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)

Word Origin for be

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

British Dictionary definitions for were (7 of 7)

be

2

the internet domain name for

Belgium
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

Medicine definitions for were

Be


The symbol for the elementberyllium
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for were

Be


The symbol for beryllium.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with were

be


In addition to the idioms beginning with be

  • be a credit to
  • be along
  • be big on
  • be bound to
  • be busted
  • bed and board
  • bed and breakfast
  • bed of roses
  • be down
  • bee in one's bonnet
  • been around
  • been had
  • been there, done that
  • been to the wars
  • beginning of the end, the
  • begin to see daylight
  • begin to see the light
  • begin with
  • beg off
  • beg the question
  • beg to differ
  • be had
  • be in on
  • be into
  • bell the cat, who will
  • be my guest
  • bend one's elbow
  • bend over backwards
  • bend someone's ear
  • be off
  • be on
  • be oneself
  • be on to
  • beside oneself
  • beside the point
  • be that as it may
  • be the death of
  • be the end of one
  • be the making of

also see:

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