Dictionary: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


past participle of be.
to exist or live:
Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be” is the ultimate question.
to take place; happen; occur:
The wedding was last week.
to occupy a place or position:
The book is on the table.
to continue or remain as before:
Let things be.
to belong; attend; befall:
May good fortune be with you.
(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.
(used as a copula to introduce or form interrogative or imperative sentences):
Is that right? Be quiet! Don’t be facetious.
(used with the present participle of another verb to form the progressive tense):
I am waiting.
(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.
(used with the past participle of another verb to form the passive voice):
The date was fixed. It must be done.
(used in archaic or literary constructions with some intransitive verbs to form the perfect tense):
He is come. Agamemnon to the wars is gone.
the past participle of be1
verb (intransitive) (pres. sing. 1st pers) am (2nd pers) are (3rd pers) is (present:pl) are (past:singular:1st_person) was (2nd pers) were (3rd pers) was (past:plural) were (pres. part) being (past part) been
to have presence in the realm of perceived reality; exist; live: I think, therefore I am, not all that is can be understood
(used in the perfect or past perfect tenses only) to pay a visit; go: have you been to Spain?
to take place; occur: my birthday was last Thursday
(copula) used as a linking verb between the subject of a sentence and its noun or adjective complement or complementing phrase. In this case be expresses the relationship of either essential or incidental equivalence or identity (John is a man; John is a musician) or specifies an essential or incidental attribute (honey is sweet; Susan is angry). It is also used with an adverbial complement to indicate a relationship of location in space or time (Bill is at the office; the dance is on Saturday)
(takes a present participle) forms the progressive present tense: the man is running
(takes a past participle) forms the passive voice of all transitive verbs and (archaically) certain intransitive ones: a good film is being shown on television tonight, I am done
(takes an infinitive) expresses intention, expectation, supposition, or obligation: the president is to arrive at 9.30, you are not to leave before I say so
(takes a past participle) forms the perfect or past perfect tense of certain intransitive verbs of motion, such as go or come: the last train is gone
be that as it may, the facts concerning (something) are of no importance
Chemical symbol
bill of exchange
(in the US) Board of Education
Bachelor of Education
Bachelor of Engineering

past participle of be. Dismissive slang phrase been there, done that attested from 1994 (been there “had the experience,” usually of something disreputable, is from 1880s).

Old English beon, beom, bion “be, exist, come to be, become, happen,” from Proto-Germanic *biju- “I am, I will be.” This “b-root” is from PIE root *bheue- “to be, exist, grow, come into being,” and in addition to the words in English it yielded German present first and second person singular (bin, bist, from Old High German bim “I am,” bist “thou art”), Latin perfective tenses of esse (fui “I was,” etc.), Old Church Slavonic byti “be,” Greek phu- “become,” Old Irish bi’u “I am,” Lithuanian bu’ti “to be,” Russian byt’ “to be,” etc. It also is behind Sanskrit bhavah “becoming,” bhavati “becomes, happens,” bhumih “earth, world.”

The modern verb to be in its entirety represents the merger of two once-distinct verbs, the “b-root” represented by be and the am/was verb, which was itself a conglomerate. Roger Lass (“Old English”) describes the verb as “a collection of semantically related paradigm fragments,” while Weekley calls it “an accidental conglomeration from the different Old English dial[ect]s.” It is the most irregular verb in Modern English and the most common. Collective in all Germanic languages, it has eight different forms in Modern English:

BE (infinitive, subjunctive, imperative)
AM (present 1st person singular)
ARE (present 2nd person singular and all plural)
IS (present 3rd person singular)
WAS (past 1st and 3rd persons singular)
WERE (past 2nd person singular, all plural; subjunctive)
BEING (progressive & present participle; gerund)
BEEN (perfect participle).

The paradigm in Old English was:

1st pres. ic eom
ic beo we sind(on)
we beoð
2nd pres. þu eart
þu bist ge sind(on)
ge beoð
3rd pres. he is
he bið hie sind(on)
hie beoð
1st pret. ic wæs we wæron
2nd pret. þu wære ge waeron
3rd pret. heo wæs hie wæron
1st pret. subj. ic wære we wæren
2nd pret. subj. þu wære ge wæren
3rd pret. subj. Egcferð wære hie wæren

The “b-root” had no past tense in Old English, but often served as future tense of am/was. In 13c. it took the place of the infinitive, participle and imperative forms of am/was. Later its plural forms (we beth, ye ben, they be) became standard in Middle English and it made inroads into the singular (I be, thou beest, he beth), but forms of are claimed this turf in the 1500s and replaced be in the plural. For the origin and evolution of the am/was branches of this tangle, see am and was.

That but this blow Might be the be all, and the end all. [“Macbeth” I.vii.5]

The symbol for the element beryllium.
The symbol for beryllium.
excess burst
Bachelor of Education
Bachelor of Engineering
barium enema
board eligible
Board of Education
Baumé scale

be a credit to
be along
be big on
be bound to
be busted
be down
be had
be in on
be into
be my guest
be off
be on
be on to
be oneself
be that as it may
be the death of
be the end of one
be the making of


Read Also:

  • Been had

    been had adverb phrase Mistreated or cheated; outwitted: been had by the neighbors Been bribed: senator cannot be had see: be had

  • Been there done that

    phrase expression by the speaker that whatever topic is under discussion has already been personally experienced

  • Been to hell and back

    been to hell and back verb phrase To have survived an ordeal or trouble: been to hell and back with the kids

  • Been to the wars

    Show signs of rough treatment or injury, as in That car of yours looks as though it’s been to the wars. This term dates from the late 1300s, when, however, it tended to be used literally. The figurative usage is more recent.

Disclaimer: Been definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.