There are 3 definitions of BE in English:

BE

Line breaks: BE

abbreviation

  • 1Bachelor of Education.
  • 1.1Bachelor of Engineering.
  • 1.2Bill of exchange.

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Word of the day mage
Pronunciation: meɪdʒ
noun
a magician or learned person

There are 3 definitions of BE in English:

Be

Line breaks: Be

symbol

  • The chemical element beryllium.

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Definition of Be in:

There are 3 definitions of BE in English:

be

Line breaks: be
Pronunciation: /biː
 
/

verb (singular present am /am, əm/; are /ɑː, ə/; is /ɪz/; plural present are; 1st and 3rd singular past was /wɒz, wəz/; 2nd singular past and plural past were /wəː, wə/; present subjunctive be; past subjunctive were; present participle being; past participle been /biːn, bɪn/)

  • 1 (usually there is/are) Exist: there are no easy answers there once was a man there must be something wrong I think, therefore I am
    More example sentences
    • Yet he had a habit of asking awkward questions to which there were no easy answers.
    • He added that there is a possibility of the museum being housed in the new heritage centre once it is completed.
    • There was a form of Hebrew that existed before they were conquered.
    Synonyms
    exist, have being, have existence; live, be alive, have life, breathe, draw breath, be extant, be viable
  • 1.1Be present: there were no curtains around the showers are there any castles in this area?
    More example sentences
    • There is a shop on-campus in case you forget anything but its not open 24 hours per day.
    • There were no decorations on the plain walls.
    • Was there a swimming pool there?
    Synonyms
    be present, be around, be available, be near, be nearby, be at hand
  • 3 [as copular verb] 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 it will be Christmas soon ‘Be careful,’ Mr Carter said
    More example sentences
    • Her father was an art teacher and she went to sixth form in the school where he taught.
    • His work in this area was considerable, including studies into the nature of history.
    • All the incidents were of a violent nature and included attacks by door staff on customers.
  • 3.1Cost: the tickets were £25
    More example sentences
    • I went up to the bartender and asked him, ‘how much is that wine?’
    • ‘How much are those?’ a couple of kids asked.
    • Tickets for the black tie event are £50 each.
    Synonyms
    cost, be priced at, sell for, be valued at, fetch, come to
    informal set one back, go for
  • 3.2Amount to: one and one is two
    More example sentences
    • 27 plus 50 is 77.
    • Yes, five tens are fifty.
    • How much is that in dollars?
    Synonyms
    amount to, come to, add up to, run to, number, make, total, equal, be equal to, be equivalent to, comprise, represent; British tot up to
  • 3.3Represent: let A be a square matrix of order n
    More example sentences
    • If x is the perpendicular distance from the shore to the target, y is the distance from the point on the shore opposite the target to the point at which the dog plunges into the water.
    • In the allegory, the Scarecrow is the farmers and the Tin Woodman is the urban working class.
    • In this story, the owner of the vineyard is God, the keeper of the vineyard is Jesus, and the tree represents God's children.
  • 3.4Signify: we were everything to each other
    More example sentences
    • She was the world to him, and his life was not complete without her.
    • It was just pennies to me, but it was everything for him.
    • A million dollars is nothing to these people.
  • 3.5Consist of; constitute: the monastery was several three-storey buildings
    More example sentences
    • The house was one large room with a fireplace which served as living room, kitchen and general quarters.
    • The temple is a number of buildings surrounding this man-made pool where devotees gather around and bathe themselves to purify and cure of any sickness.
    • Her bed was a wooden slat, shared with nine people.
  • 4 informal Say: last time I saw her she was all ‘You need to quit smoking!’

verb

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  • 1Used with a present participle to form continuous tenses: they are coming he had been reading she will be waiting
    More example sentences
    • I have been reading many letters with regards to Gravesend and Dartford and how bad they are.
    • I have been reading this newspaper regularly for years and have never written in before.
    • A fourth male is believed to have been waiting outside in a white Ford Transit van.
  • 2Used with a past participle to form the passive voice: it was done it is said his book will be published
    More example sentences
    • A couple of weeks ago a book was published in America that elaborated on exactly this theme.
    • A man with a laugh in his voice recounted how he was shot down, landing in a field in his shirt and tie.
    • His voice was drowned by the shattering roar of a jet plane passing over the chimney pot.
  • 3 [with infinitive] Used to indicate something that is due or destined to happen: construction is to begin next summer his mum was never to see him win
    More example sentences
    • I was to meet up with my two travelling companions in an open air restaurant on edge of Timbuctou.
    • The two clubs were to meet at Lismore in a match many considered a grand final preview.
    • They were to meet in a restaurant and pose as two friends trying to patch up some hard times.
  • 3.1Used to express obligation or necessity: you are to follow these orders they said I was to remain on board
    More example sentences
    • The rest were to follow in alphabetical order.
    • The goods or chattels are to remain in the custody of the bailiffs for twenty days.
    • They were to do whatever they felt necessary or advisable to fulfil that function.
  • 3.2Used to express possibility: these snakes are to be found in North America she was nowhere to be seen
    More example sentences
    • She was to be found here too.
    • Neither a dialling nor an engaged tone was to be heard, only the sound of a line that had been pulled.
    • Monkeys are to be found around the crop growing and savanna areas.
  • 3.3Used to hypothesize about something that might happen: if I were to lose if I was to tell you, you’d think I was mad
    More example sentences
    • If I were to order costs, that is a point that counsel could take before the costs judge.
    • If I were to keep a reading diary like this, what would my twelve favourite books be?
    • If you were to meet me at a party I would not talk about myself in any great depth and I had no intention of doing so on the web.
  • 4 archaic Used with the past participle of intransitive verbs to form perfect tenses: I am returned

Phrases

as/that was

As someone or something was previously called: former Sex Pistol John Lydon (Rotten, as was)
More example sentences
  • He was very friendly and turned out to have gone to the London College of Communication (or London School of Printing, as was) himself, which is always useful when arranging work experience.
  • I was in Yugoslavia, as was, at the time.

the be-all and end-all

informal A feature of an activity or a way of life that is of greater importance than any other: is food and comfort the be-all and end-all?
More example sentences
  • A lot of people see speed cameras as the be-all and end-all of traffic management.
  • ‘I wanted to show that having a husband and children isn't the be-all and end-all, it's not nirvana either personally or otherwise’.
  • I still love acting but it's not the be-all and end-all any more.

be at

informal Be doing or trying to do: what are you at there?
More example sentences
  • ‘So, what are you at now?’ I asked, just for conversation's sake.
  • What is he at, opening his bloody mouth in the first place?
  • The question is just what are they at now?

be away

dialect Leave or set out at once: I’m away to my work
More example sentences
  • Anyway, once they were away at last, we began making the space beautiful.
  • I'd better be away - packing is so tiring, particularly as I'm not allowed to do it my way.
  • Up early tomorrow so that's me away for the night.

be off

[often in imperative] Go away; leave: be off with you!
More example sentences
  • I've just had a call to say that things have moved on a bit, so we might be off again tomorrow morning.
  • And now be off with you, for I am going to sleep.
  • As usual I was keen to be off so we arrived at the bus station with 15 minutes to wait for the bus up to the airport.

be oneself

Act naturally, according to one’s character and instincts: I want him to have the confidence to be himself
More example sentences
  • So I just had to be myself, unless the character demanded something outside of my own personality.
  • By just being myself I naturally attract the type of people I would otherwise want to attract and repel the people I would otherwise want to repel.
  • The result is a satisfying motion picture that wins its audience over because the characters are allowed to be themselves.

been (or been and gone) and——

British informal Used to express surprise or annoyance at someone’s actions: they’ve been and carted Mum off to hospital
More example sentences
  • He's only been and gone again - I don't suppose you could get round there and tell him to get back could you?
  • Well I've only been and gone and done it!
  • I've been and gone and caught another chill

been there, done that

see there.

be that as it may

see may1.

not be oneself

Not feel in one’s usual physical or mental state: I’m not myself this morning
More example sentences
  • Funny things were happening to me and I was simply not myself.
  • With his head down, he was positively not himself this morning.
  • For that matter, you were not yourself yesterday, and you will not be tomorrow.

-to-be

[in combination] Of the future: my bride-to-be

Origin

Old English bēon, an irregular and defective verb, whose full conjugation derives from several originally distinct verbs. The forms am and is are from an Indo-European root shared by Latin sum and est. The forms was and were are from an Indo-European root meaning 'remain'. The forms be and been are from an Indo-European root shared by Latin fui 'I was', fio 'I become', and Greek phuein 'bring forth, cause to grow'. The origin of are is uncertain.

Usage

For a discussion of whether it is correct to say that must be he at the door and it is I rather than that must be him at the door and it is me , see personal pronoun (usage).

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