Pronunciation: (bē; unstressedbē, bi), [key]
v. and
auxiliary v., pres. sing. 1st pers. am,
2nd are or ( Archaic ) art,
3rd is,
pres. pl. are;
past sing. 1st pers. was,
2nd were or ( Archaic ) wast or wert,
3rd was,
past pl. were;
pres. subj. be;
past subj. sing. 1st pers. were,
2nd were or ( Archaic ) wert,
3rd were;
past subj. pl. were;
past part. been;
pres. part. 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.

auxiliary v.
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.


Symbol, Chem.


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




bill of exchange. Also,b.e.


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

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

See also:
  • be (Thesaurus)
  • be (Encyclopedia)

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