be·​ing | \ ˈbē(-i)ŋ How to pronounce being (audio) \

Definition of being

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : the quality or state of having existence a social movement that came into being in the 1960s artistic form comes into being only when two elements are successfully fused— Carlos Lynes
b(1) : something that is conceivable and hence capable of existing
(2) : something that actually exists
(3) : the totality of existing things
c : conscious existence : life
2 : the qualities that constitute an existent thing : essence I knew it was true in the core of my being. especially : personality
3 : a living thing sentient beings a mythical being especially : person a very sexual being



Definition of being (Entry 2 of 4)

: present used in the phrase for the time being plans to remain single for the time being



Definition of being (Entry 3 of 4)

chiefly dialectal
: since, because usually used with as, as how, or that


Definition of being (Entry 4 of 4)

present participle of be

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Examples of being in a Sentence

Noun a social movement that was brought into being in the 1960s I knew it was true in the core of my being.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Normally, economists are only concerned with real GNP (now gross domestic product) because that takes out inflation and gives a better idea of national well-being and growth. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "George Shultz, the Godfather of the Discredited Laffer Curve," 8 Feb. 2021 The journal Nature Neuroscience last spring reported a previously unknown connection between our daily environments and our sense of well-being. Helen Bond, Dallas News, "Happiness hacks: Three ways to add joy to your life," 1 Feb. 2021 Document anything that affects your job performance or well-being. Roxane Gay, New York Times, "My Co-Worker Is a Scammer and She Gets on My Last Nerve," 22 Jan. 2021 What scientists are starting to have a clearer picture of is how damaging the loss of in-person instruction has been to kids’ mental and physical well-being, as well as their education. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Everything We Know Now About Schools, Kids, and Covid-19," 15 Jan. 2021 Other dermatological problems that have spiked in the past year are closely tied to emotional well-being. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Pandemic Life Is Turning Your Body Into a Stiff, Hunched, Itchy, Sore, Headachy Husk," 14 Jan. 2021 Researchers studying the science of well-being agree that human connection is key. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, "10 things we learned in 2020 about living the good life," 5 Jan. 2021 Additionally, increased levels of self-enhancement explained the effect of meditation on higher well-being (both hedonic and eudeamonic). Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific American, "The Science of Spiritual Narcissism," 4 Jan. 2021 Grievance, resentment, self-pity, bitterness, envy, contempt — these are enemies of well-being. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Bubblicious, &c.," 4 Jan. 2021

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

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First Known Use of being


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1528, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for being


Middle English, from gerund of been be


Middle English, from present participle of been be


from being entry 2

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Time Traveler for being

Time Traveler

The first known use of being was in the 14th century

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Statistics for being

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Being.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for being



English Language Learners Definition of being

: a living thing
: the state of existing
formal : the most important or basic part of a person's mind or self


be·​ing | \ ˈbē-iŋ How to pronounce being (audio) \

Kids Definition of being

1 : the state of having life or existence He explained how the myth came into being.
2 : a living thing
3 : an entity believed to be divine

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More from Merriam-Webster on being

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for being

Nglish: Translation of being for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of being for Arabic Speakers

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