be

verb
\ ˈbē How to pronounce be (audio) \
past tense first- and third-person singular was\ ˈwəz How to pronounce be (audio) , ˈwäz \; past tense second-person singular were\ ˈwər How to pronounce be (audio) \; past tense plural were; past subjunctive were; past participle been\ ˈbin How to pronounce be (audio) , ˈben How to pronounce be (audio) , chiefly British  ˈbēn How to pronounce be (audio) \; present participle being\ ˈbē(-​i)ŋ How to pronounce be (audio) \; present tense first-person singular am\ əm , ˈam How to pronounce be (audio) \; present tense second-person singular are\ ˈär How to pronounce be (audio) , ər \; present tense third-person singular is\ ˈiz How to pronounce be (audio) , əz \; present tense plural are; present subjunctive be

Definition of be

 (Entry 1 of 5)

intransitive verb

1a : to equal in meaning : have the same connotation as : symbolize God is love January is the first month let x be 10
b : to have identity with : to constitute the same idea or object as The first person I met was my brother.
c : to constitute the same class as These three books are the authoritative works on the president's life.
d : to have a specified qualification or characterization The leaves are green.
e : to belong to the class of the fish is a trout Keeping this room clean is your responsibility. used regularly in senses 1a through 1e as the copula of simple predication
2a : to have an objective existence : have reality or actuality : live I think, therefore I am
b : to have, maintain, or occupy a place, situation, or position the book is on the table
c : to remain unmolested, undisturbed, or uninterrupted used only in infinitive form let him be
d : to take place : occur the concert was last night
e : to come or go has already been and gone has never been to the circus
f archaic : belong, befall … to thine and Albany's issue be this perpetual.— Shakespeare

auxiliary verb

1 used with the past participle of transitive verbs as a passive-voice auxiliary the money was foundthe house is being built
2 used as the auxiliary of the present participle in progressive tenses expressing continuous action he is readingI have been sleeping
3 used with the past participle of some intransitive verbs as an auxiliary forming archaic perfect tenses … Christ is risen from the dead … — 1 Corinthians 15:20 (Douay Version)
4 used with the infinitive with to to express futurity, arrangement in advance, or obligation I am to interview him todayshe was to become famous

Be

symbol

Definition of Be (Entry 2 of 5)

beryllium

Definition of  (Entry 3 of 5)

Baumé

Definition of BE (Entry 4 of 5)

1 bachelor of education
2 bachelor of engineering
3 bill of exchange

be-

prefix

Definition of be- (Entry 5 of 5)

1 : on : around : over besmear
2 : to a great or greater degree : thoroughly befuddle
3 : excessively : ostentatiously in intensive verbs formed from simple verbs bedeck and in adjectives based on adjectives ending in -ed beribboned
4 : about : to : at : upon : against : across bestride
5 : make : cause to be : treat as belittle befriend
6 : call or dub especially excessively bedoctor
7 : affect, afflict, treat, provide, or cover with especially excessively bedevil befog

Synonyms & Antonyms for be

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of be in a Sentence

Verb stories that begin with the familiar line “once upon a time there was a beautiful maiden” we'll be there waiting for you
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Will recent dropout candidates still be on the ballot? Ben Baker, Journal Sentinel, 29 July 2022 Denise Octavia Smith, executive director of the National Association of Community Health Care Workers, warned that community health workers can’t be nearly as effective if they’re not paid fairly. Lev Facher, STAT, 28 July 2022 And here is where the true power of celebrity comes in because, unlike you or me, when the Kardashian-Jenners (who have an impressive 686 million followers between them) speak up, the powers that be listen. Anya Meyerowitz, Glamour, 27 July 2022 What will season 5 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel be about? Adrianna Freedman, Good Housekeeping, 17 July 2022 That answer also won’t come until days after the polls close, as ballots postmarked by July 19 can be accepted as long as they’re received by July 29. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 15 July 2022 That 900,000-square-foot project will now move forward after extensive negotiations between Harvard, Allston community groups, and City Hall, with an agreement that 25 percent of housing units there be set aside at affordable rents. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 15 July 2022 Could munching this packet of crisps be centaurs rustling through the forest? Longreads, 14 July 2022 Like Coach Alford said, coaches be selling me dreams. Robert Fenbers, cleveland, 5 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'be.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of be

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for be

Verb

Middle English, from Old English bēon; akin to Old High German bim am, Latin fui I have been, futurus about to be, fieri to become, be done, Greek phynai to be born, be by nature, phyein to produce

Prefix

Middle English, from Old English bi-, be-; akin to Old English by, near — more at by

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Time Traveler for be

Time Traveler

The first known use of be was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near be

be

Be

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Statistics for be

Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Be.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/be. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for be

be

verb
\ How to pronounce be (audio) \
past first person & third person singular was\ wəz , ˈwəz , wäz \; second person singular were\ wər , ˈwər \; plural were; past subjunctive were; past participle been\ bin \; present participle being\ ˈbē-​iŋ \; present first person singular am\ əm , am \; second person singular are\ ər , är \; third person singular is\ iz , əz \; plural are; present subjunctive be

Kids Definition of be

1 : to equal in meaning or identity She is my neighbor.
2 : to have a specified character, quality, or condition The leaves are green. How are you? I am fine.
3 : to belong to the group or class of Apes are mammals.
4 : to exist or live Once there was a brave knight.
5 : to occupy a place, situation, or position The book is on the table.
6 : to take place The concert was last night.
8 used as a helping verb with other verbs The ball was thrown.

be-

prefix

Kids Definition of be-

1 : on : around : over
2 : provide with or cover with : dress up with bewhiskered
3 : about : to : upon bemoan
4 : make : cause to be belittle befriend

abbreviation

Medical Definition of

 (Entry 1 of 3)

Baumé

Be

symbol

Medical Definition of Be (Entry 2 of 3)

beryllium

BE

abbreviation

Medical Definition of BE (Entry 3 of 3)

1 barium enema
2 below elbow
3 board-eligible

More from Merriam-Webster on be

Nglish: Translation of be for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of be for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about be

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