Be v. i. [imp. Was p. p. Been p. pr. & vb. n. Being.]
1. To exist actually, or in the world of fact; to have existence.
To be contents his natural desire. --Pope.
To be, or not to be: that is the question. --Shak.
2. 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; as, to be happy; to be here; to be large, or strong; to be an animal; to be a hero; to be a nonentity; three and two are five; annihilation is the cessation of existence; that is the man.
3. To take place; to happen; as, the meeting was on Thursday.
4. To signify; to represent or symbolize; to answer to.
The field is the world. --Matt. xiii. 38.
The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. --Rev. i. 20.
Note: ☞ The verb to be (including the forms is, was, etc.) is used in forming the passive voice of other verbs; as, John has been struck by James. It is also used with the past participle of many intransitive verbs to express a state of the subject. But have is now more commonly used as the auxiliary, though expressing a different sense; as, “Ye have come too late -- but ye are come. ” “The minstrel boy to the war is gone.” The present and imperfect tenses form, with the infinitive, a particular future tense, which expresses necessity, duty, or purpose; as, government is to be supported; we are to pay our just debts; the deed is to be signed to-morrow.
Note: Have or had been, followed by to, implies movement. “I have been to Paris.” --Sydney Smith. “Have you been to Franchard ?” --R. L. Stevenson.
Note: ☞ Been, or ben, was anciently the plural of the indicative present. “Ye ben light of the world.” --Wyclif, Matt. v. 14. Afterwards be was used, as in our Bible: “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” --2 Kings vi. 16. Ben was also the old infinitive: “To ben of such power.” --R. of Gloucester. Be is used as a form of the present subjunctive: “But if it be a question of words and names.” --Acts xviii. 15. But the indicative forms, is and are, with if, are more commonly used.
Be it so, a phrase of supposition, equivalent to suppose it to be so; or of permission, signifying let it be so. --Shak.
If so be, in case.
To be from, to have come from; as, from what place are you? I am from Chicago.
To let be, to omit, or leave untouched; to let alone. “Let be, therefore, my vengeance to dissuade.”
Syn: -- To be, Exist.
Usage: The verb to be, except in a few rare cases, like that of Shakespeare's “To be, or not to be”, is used simply as a copula, to connect a subject with its predicate; as, man is mortal; the soul is immortal. The verb to exist is never properly used as a mere copula, but points to things that stand forth, or have a substantive being; as, when the soul is freed from all corporeal alliance, then it truly exists. It is not, therefore, properly synonymous with to be when used as a copula, though occasionally made so by some writers for the sake of variety; as in the phrase “there exists [is] no reason for laying new taxes.” We may, indeed, say, “a friendship has long existed between them,” instead of saying, “there has long been a friendship between them;” but in this case, exist is not a mere copula. It is used in its appropriate sense to mark the friendship as having been long in existence.
Be·ing p. pr. from Be. Existing.
Note: ☞ Being was formerly used where we now use having. “Being to go to a ball in a few days.” --Miss Edgeworth.
Note: ☞ In modern usage, is, are, was or were being, with a past participle following (as built, made, etc.) indicates the process toward the completed result expressed by the participle. The form is or was building, in this passive signification, is idiomatic, and, if free from ambiguity, is commonly preferable to the modern is or was being built. The last form of speech is, however, sufficiently authorized by approved writers. The older expression was is, or was, a-building or in building.
A man who is being strangled. --Lamb.
While the article on Burns was being written. --Froude.
Fresh experience is always being gained. --Jowett (Thucyd. )
1. Existence, as opposed to nonexistence; state or sphere of existence.
In Him we live, and move, and have our being. --Acts xvii. 28.
2. That which exists in any form, whether it be material or spiritual, actual or ideal; living existence, as distinguished from a thing without life; as, a human being; spiritual beings.
What a sweet being is an honest mind ! --Beau. & Fl.
A Being of infinite benevolence and power. --Wordsworth.
3. Lifetime; mortal existence. [Obs.]
Wast follower of his fortunes in his being. --Webster (1654).
4. An abode; a cottage. [Prov. Eng.]
It was a relief to dismiss them [Sir Roger's servants] into little beings within my manor. --Steele.
Be·ing, adv. Since; inasmuch as. [Obs. or Colloq.]
And being you have
Declined his means, you have increased his malice. --Beau. & Fl.
n 1: the state or fact of existing; "a point of view gradually
coming into being"; "laws in existence for centuries"
[syn: beingness, existence] [ant: nonexistence, nonbeing]
2: a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act
or function independently [syn: organism]