from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- intransitive v. To exist in actuality; have life or reality: I think, therefore I am.
- intransitive v. To occupy a specified position: The food is on the table.
- intransitive v. To remain in a certain state or situation undisturbed, untouched, or unmolested: Let the children be.
- intransitive v. To take place; occur: The test was yesterday.
- intransitive v. To go or come: Have you ever been to Italy? Have you been home recently?
- intransitive v. Used as a copula in such senses as:
- intransitive v. To equal in identity: "To be a Christian was to be a Roman” ( James Bryce).
- intransitive v. To have a specified significance: A is excellent, C is passing. Let n be the unknown quantity.
- intransitive v. To belong to a specified class or group: The human being is a primate.
- intransitive v. To have or show a specified quality or characteristic: She is witty. All humans are mortal.
- intransitive v. To seem to consist or be made of: The yard is all snow. He is all bluff and no bite.
- intransitive v. To belong; befall: Peace be unto you. Woe is me.
- auxiliary v. Used with the past participle of a transitive verb to form the passive voice: The mayoral election is held annually.
- auxiliary v. Used with the present participle of a verb to express a continuing action: We are working to improve housing conditions.
- auxiliary v. Used with the infinitive of a verb to express intention, obligation, or future action: She was to call before she left. You are to make the necessary changes.
- auxiliary v. Archaic Used with the past participle of certain intransitive verbs to form the perfect tense: "Where be those roses gone which sweetened so our eyes?” ( Philip Sidney).
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To exist; to have real existence.
- v. With there as dummy subject: to exist.
- v. To occupy a place.
- v. To occur, to take place.
- v. elliptical form of "be here", "go to and return from" or similar.
- v. Used to indicate that the subject and object are the same.
- v. Used to indicate that the values on either side of an equation are the same.
- v. Used to indicate that the subject plays the role of the predicate nominal.
- v. Used to connect a noun to an adjective that describes it.
- v. Used to indicate that the subject has the qualities described by a noun or noun phrase.
- v. Used to form the passive voice.
- v. Used to form the continuous forms of various tenses.
- v. Used to form the perfect aspect with certain intransitive verbs, most of which indicate motion. Often still used for "to go"
- v. Used to form future tenses, especially the future periphrastic.
- v. Used to link a subject to a count or measurement.
- v. used to indicate passage of time since the occurrence of an event.
- v. Used to indicate weather, air quality, or the like.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- intransitive v. To exist actually, or in the world of fact; to have existence.
- intransitive v. To exist in a certain manner or relation, -- whether as a reality or as a product of thought; to exist as the subject of a certain predicate, that is, as having a certain attribute, or as belonging to a certain sort, or as identical with what is specified, -- a word or words for the predicate being annexed.
- intransitive v. To take place; to happen.
- intransitive v. To signify; to represent or symbolize; to answer to.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To exist; have existence or being; possess reality; be the case; be true or real.
- To take place; occur; happen; come about: as, the wedding will be to-morrow; his birthday was last week; it was to be.
- Usually, be is a mere copula, or sign of predication, a link between a subject and a predicate.
- In metaphysics, to subsist in a state not necessarily amounting to actual existence; have the rudiments of existence. See being.
- An auxiliary verb denoting subsistence in or subjection to the mode of action or being expressed by the principal verb.
- An infinitive with to after be forms a sort of future, often with a certain implication of obligation: thus, he is to come, they were to appear, she would have been to blame or to be blamed.
- n. The name of the second letter of the alphabet, usually written simply b or B. See B.
- Obsolete form of by. Chaucer.
- In chem., the symbol for beryllium (the same as glucinum).
- An inseparable prefix of verbs, and of nouns thence derived.
- An inseparable prefix of adverbs, which may also be used as prepositions or conjunctions.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. happen, occur, take place
- v. to remain unmolested, undisturbed, or uninterrupted -- used only in infinitive form
- v. have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
- v. be identical or equivalent to
- v. work in a specific place, with a specific subject, or in a specific function
- v. have life, be alive
- v. spend or use time
- v. occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere
- v. form or compose
- v. represent, as of a character on stage
- n. a light strong brittle grey toxic bivalent metallic element
- v. be priced at
- v. be identical to; be someone or something
- v. have an existence, be extant
Middle English ben, from Old English bēon; see bheuə- in Indo-European roots. See am1, is, etc. for links to other Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English been ("to be"), from Old English bēon ("to be, become"), from Proto-Germanic *beunan (“to be, exist, come to be, become”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰew- (“to grow, become, come into being, appear”). Cognate with West Frisian binne ("are"), Dutch ben ("am"), Low German bün ("am"), German bin ("am"), Old English būan ("to live, wone"). Irregular forms are inherited from the Old English compound verb bēon-wesan. (Wiktionary)