Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The inner room or parlor of a house with two rooms.
  • adv. Inside; within.
  • prep. Within.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A prayer; a petition.
  • prep. In, into.
  • adj. Inner, interior.
  • n. Ben-room: The inner room of a two-room hut or shack (as opposed to the but).
  • n. A tree, Moringa oleifera or horseradish tree of Arabia and India, which produces oil of ben.
  • n. The winged seed of the ben tree.
  • n. The oil of the ben seed.
  • n. Son of (used with Hebrew and Arabic surnames).
  • n. A Scottish or Irish mountain or high peak.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • The seed of one or more species of moringa. See moringa.
  • adv. Within; in; in or into the interior; toward the inner apartment.
  • n. The inner or principal room in a hut or house of two rooms; -- opposed to but, the outer apartment.
  • An old form of the pl. indic. pr. of be.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In, into, or toward the inner apartment of a house; in or into the parlor. See ben, n.
  • n. The inner apartment of a house; the parlor or “room” of a dwelling consisting of a but or outer room, used as a kitchen, and a ben or inner room, used as a parlor or chamber, access to the ben being originally through the but or kitchen.
  • n. A prayer; a petition.
  • n. Obsolete or dialectal form of been.
  • n. A mountain-peak: a word occurring chiefly in the names of many of the highest summits of the mountain-ranges which traverse Scotland north of the friths of Clyde and Forth: as, Ben Nevis, Ben Mac-Dhui, Ben Lawers, etc.
  • n. The ben-nut, properly the ben-nut tree.
  • n. See behen.
  • In mining, inward; toward the workings.
  • n. In mining: The right to enter the mine and work. A workman may claim his ben, have his right to ears acknowledged, and delegate it to his boys.
  • n. Hence— A day's work. The terms quarter-ben, half-ben, three-quarters-ben are used to denote the proportion of a man's darg, or day's output of mineral, which a youth is able or allowed to put out.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a mountain or tall hill

Etymologies

Middle English, variant of binne, within, from Old English binnan; see en in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English ben, bene, from Old English bēn ("prayer, request, favor, compulsory service"), from Proto-Germanic *bōniz (“supplication”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰā- (“to say”). Related to ban. More at boon. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English ben, bene, variation of bin, binne ("within"), from Old English binnan ("within, in, inside of, into"), equivalent to be- +‎ in. (Wiktionary)
Probably representing a North African pronunciation of Arabic بان (bān, "ben tree") (Wiktionary)
Arabic بن and Hebrew בן (ben, "son"). (Wiktionary)
From Scottish Gaelic beinn (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • (Fr.) “well” (as the English interjection or exclamation)

    May 11, 2008

  • Sung by Michael Jackson. Does it count if Ben was actually a rat?

    February 10, 2008

  • Neb in reverse.

    November 3, 2007