be / bē/ • v. (sing. present am / am/ ; are / är/ ; is / iz/ ; pl. present are; 1st and 3rd sing. past was / wəz; wäz/ ; 2nd sing. past and pl. past were / wər/ ; present subjunctive be ; past subjunctive were; present part. be·ing / ˈbēing/ ; past part. been / bin/ ) 1. (usu. there is/are) exist: there are no easy answers. ∎ be present: there is a boy sitting on the step. 2. occur; take place: the exhibition will be in November that was before the war. ∎ occupy a position in space: the Salvation Army store was on his left. ∎ stay in the same place or condition: she was here until about ten-thirty he's a tough customer—let him be. ∎ attend: the days when she was in school. ∎ come; go; visit: he's from Missouri I have just been to Thailand. 3. having the state, quality, identity, nature, role, etc., specified: Amy was 91 the floor was uneven I want to be a teacher father was not well his hair's brown it will be Christmas soon “Be careful,” Mr. Carter said. ∎ cost: the tickets were $25. ∎ amount to: one and one is two. ∎ represent: let A be a square matrix of order n. ∎ signify: we were everything to each other. ∎ consist of; constitute: the monastery was several three-story buildings. • aux. v. 1. used with a present participle to form continuous tenses: they are coming. she will be waiting. 2. used with a past participle to form the passive mood: it was done. 3. used to indicate something due to happen: construction is to begin next summer. ∎ used to express obligation or necessity: you are to follow these orders. ∎ used to express possibility: these snakes are to be found in North America. ∎ used to hypothesize about something that might happen: if I were to lose. PHRASES: the be-all and end-all inf. a feature of an activity or a way of life that is of greater importance than any other. be oneself act naturally, according to one's character and instincts. be that as it maysee may1 . be there for someone be available to support or comfort someone while they are experiencing difficulties or adversities. not be oneself not feel well. -to-be [in comb.] of the future: my bride-to-be.PHRASAL VERBS: be aboutsee about. be off go away; leave: he was anxious to be off.
A. IE. *es-, *s-. 1st pers. sg. OE. (e)am, eom, corr. to ON. em, Goth. im, Gr. eimí, Skr. ásmi :- IE. *ésmi.
3rd pers. sg. OE. is = OS., (O)HG., Goth. ist, ON. er, L. est, Gr. estí, Skr. ásti :- IE. *ésti.
pl. OE. sind(on) = OS. sind(an), OHG. sint (G. sind), Goth. sind, L. sunt, Gr. eisí, Skr. sánti :- IE. *sénti.
pres. subj. OE. sīe, pl. sīen = OS., OHG. sī, sīn (G. sei, seien), L. siēm, sim, Gr. eíēn, Skr. syā́t :- IE. *s(i)jḗm, *s(i)jénti.
B. Gmc. *ar- (:- *or-), of unkn. orig. 2nd pers. sg. OE. eart, pl. (e)ar on.
C. IE. *bheu-, *bhū-, 1st pers. sg. OE. bēo(m) = OS. bium, OHG. bim (G. bin), corr. to L. fīo I become, rel. to fuī I was, Gr. phúein bring forth, cause to grow, Skr. bhávati becomes, is. The orig. meaning of this base is ‘grow’; the derived sense ‘become’ led to its adoption as an element in the paradigm of the verb ‘be’, esp. for expressing the future.
D. IE. *wes-. inf. OE. wesan = OS., OHG. wesan, ON. vera, Goth. wisan, rel. to Skr. vásati dwells, remains. The orig. meaning is ‘dwell, remain’, and the use of this base is therefore appropriate to the imper. (OE. wes, pl. wesaǒ) and the past (OE. 1st and 3rd sg. wæs, 2nd sg. wære, pl. wæron), in which latter alone it remains.
BE • abbr. ∎ Bachelor of Education. ∎ Bachelor of Engineering. ∎ bill of exchange. ∎ Black English.