be: Meaning and Definition of


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


Pronunciation: [key]
— Symbol, Chem.
  1. beryllium.


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a native English prefix formerly used in the formation of verbs: become, besiege, bedaub, befriend.


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. Baumé.


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. bill of exchange.


Pronunciation: [key]
  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)