• "Fred was the first to be operated on."
    "Fred was the first to be operated on."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v be spend or use time "I may be an hour"
    • v be work in a specific place, with a specific subject, or in a specific function "He is a herpetologist","She is our resident philosopher"
    • v be have an existence, be extant "Is there a God?"
    • v be have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun) "John is rich","This is not a good answer"
    • v be have life, be alive "Our great leader is no more","My grandfather lived until the end of war"
    • v be be identical to; be someone or something "The president of the company is John Smith","This is my house"
    • v be form or compose "This money is my only income","The stone wall was the backdrop for the performance","These constitute my entire belonging","The children made up the chorus","This sum represents my entire income for a year","These few men comprise his entire army"
    • v be occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere "Where is my umbrella?" "The toolshed is in the back","What is behind this behavior?"
    • v be be identical or equivalent to "One dollar equals 1,000 rubles these days!"
    • v be represent, as of a character on stage "Derek Jacobi was Hamlet"
    • v be be priced at "These shoes cost $100"
    • v be to remain unmolested, undisturbed, or uninterrupted -- used only in infinitive form "let her be"
    • v be happen, occur, take place; this was during the visit to my parents' house" "I lost my wallet","There were two hundred people at his funeral","There was a lot of noise in the kitchen"
    • n Be a light strong brittle grey toxic bivalent metallic element
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Bitters being chased by a rooster Bitters being chased by a rooster
Clarke being pursued by the Indians Clarke being pursued by the Indians
Neddy being dragged to school by his grandmother Neddy being dragged to school by his grandmother
What shall be Done by the Owner What shall be Done by the Owner
There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town To-night 279 There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town To-night 279
Not to be Caught Not to be Caught
Jack be nimble Jack be nimble
Miss Plank told me in confidence that it would be a big wrench if he left Miss Plank told me in confidence that it would be a big wrench if he left

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The first couple to be shown on a sitcom sleeping in the same bed was "Mary Kay and Johnny."
    • Be To exist actually, or in the world of fact; to have existence. "To be contents his natural desire.""To be , or not to be : that is the question."
    • Be 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.
    • Be To signify; to represent or symbolize; to answer to. "The field is the world.""The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."
    • Be To take place; to happen; as, the meeting was on Thursday.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Before 1928, yo-yos used to be called bandalores in the United States
    • be To exist; have existence or being; possess reality; be the case; be true or real.
    • be To take place; occur; happen; come about: as, the wedding will be to-morrow; his birthday was last week; it was to be.
    • be Usually, be is a mere copula, or sign of predication, a link between a subject and a predicate. As such it asserts, or expresses as fact, the inclusion of the subject among the things denoted by the predicate, or the possession by the subject of the characters signified by the predicate; and this it does with temporal and modal modifications, while the whole substance of the predication, or all that is predicated, is expressed separately, in noun or adjective form, or the equivalent of such: thus, I am good, he was a hero, they will be there, we should have been beloved. Hence, every other predicating word or verb may be analyzed into a form of be, expressing the predication, and an adjective or noun expressing what is predicated: thus, he loves into he is loving, or he is a lover, and so on. Such a copula is possessed by many languages, being, as in English, reduced to that value by gradual attenuation of an originally substantial meaning; as in modern French, était, ‘was,’ from Latin stabat, or nearly as exist, literally ‘stand forth.’
    • be In metaphysics, to subsist in a state not necessarily amounting to actual existence; have the rudiments of existence. See being.
    • be An auxiliary verb denoting subsistence in or subjection to the mode of action or being expressed by the principal verb. Joined with a present participle, it has the grammatical construction of a predicate adjective qualifying the subject, to make a continuous or progressive or imperfect present: thus, I am loving, etc., beside I love, etc.—to match which the language has rather recently acquired a corresponding passive, I am being loved, beside I am loved.
    • be An infinitive with to after be forms a sort of future, often with a certain implication of obligation: thus, he is to come, they were to appear, she would have been to blame or to be blamed.
    • n be The name of the second letter of the alphabet, usually written simply b or B. See B.
    • be Obsolete form of by. Chaucer.
    • be In chem., the symbol for beryllium (the same as glucinum).
    • be An inseparable prefix of verbs, and of nouns thence derived. It means primarily ‘about,’ ‘around,’ as in beset, begird, whence the more general sense ‘around,’ ‘all over,’ leading to a merely intensive use, as in besmear, bespatter, besprinkle, etc. It is also used to form transitive verbs from nouns, as begem, bedew, befog, bemire, etc., or from intransitive verbs, as belie, behowl, besing, etc., verbs of either class often conveying slight contempt, as bepraise, beplaster, bepowder, etc., and are hence often made for the nonce. In a few verbs, all obsolete except behead, be- assumed a privative force; while in many verbs this prefix, through loss of the simple verb, or a deflection of its sense, or by mere dilution, has now no assignable force, as in begin, bequeath, become, behold, etc.
    • be An inseparable prefix of adverbs, which may also be used as prepositions or conjunctions. It is properly the preposition by, Middle English be, bi, used adverbially, as in before, behind, between, betwixt, below, etc., contracted in above, about; or merged with the governed noun, as in because, beside, that is, ‘by cause,’ ‘by side’: so also in behalf, originally a prepositional phrase, now taken as a noun. See the words cited.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Isaac Newton used to be a member of parliament
    • v.i Be to live: to exist: to have a certain state or quality
    • pr.p Be bē′ing; pa.p. been
    • ***


  • Mark Victor Hansen
    Mark Victor Hansen
    “Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight.”
  • Lord Alfred Tennyson
    “So much to do, so little done, such things to be.”
  • Miguel De Cervantes
    “The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays that part.”
  • Boy George
    Boy George
    “If you have to be in a soap opera try not to get the worst role.”
  • Dante Alighieri
    “A fair request should be followed by the deed in silence.”
  • George Eliot
    “Human beings must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”


Be all ears - If you are all ears, you are very eager to hear what someone has to say.
Be careful what you wish for - If you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.('Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.' and 'Be careful what you wish for; you may receive it.' are also used.)
Be on the pig's back - If you're on the pig's back, you're happy / content / in fine form.
Be out in force - If people are out in force, they are present somewhere in large numbers.
Be out in left field - (USA) To be out in left field is not to know what's going on. Taken from baseball, when youngsters assign less capable players to the outfield where the ball is less likely to be hit by a young player. In business, one might say, 'Don't ask the new manager; he's out in left field and doesn't know any answers yet.'
Be that as it may - Be that as it may is an expression which means that, while you are prepared to accept that there is some truth in what the other person has just said, it's not going to change your opinions in any significant manner.
Be true blue - If a person/object/situation is considered to be 'true blue', it is considered genuine.
Be up the spout - (UK) If a woman is up the spout, she is pregnant.
Beggars can't be choosers - This idiom means that people who are in great need must accept any help that is offered, even if it is not a complete solution to their problems.
Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion - This means that it is better to be the head or at the top of something that isn't very important or prestigious than a small or unimportant member of something big.
Boys will be boys - Boys will be boys means that boys, or men, will behave in certain ways, often noisily or irresponsibily.
Do as you would be done by - Treat and respect others as you would hope to be respected and treated by them.
Fit to be tied - If someone is fit to be tied, they are extremely angry.
For the time being - For the time being indicates that an action or state will continue into the future, but is temporary. I'm sharing an office for the time being.
Grass may be greener on the other side but it's just as hard to mow - 'The grass may be greener on the other side but it's just as hard to mow' is an expression used to mean a person's desire to have that which another person has in the belief it will make their life easieris false as all situations come with their own set of problems.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. been, beon, AS. beón, to be, beóm, I am; akin to OHG. bim, pim, G. bin, I am, Gael. & Ir. bu, was, W. bod, to be, Lith. bu-ti, O. Slav. by-ti, to be, L. fu-i, I have been, fu-turus, about to be, fo-re, to be about to be, and perh. to fieri, to become, Gr. fy^nai to be born, to be, Skr. bhū, to be. This verb is defective, and the parts lacking are supplied by verbs from other roots, is, was, which have no radical connection with be,. The various forms, am, are, is, was, were, etc., are considered grammatically as parts of the verb “to be”, which, with its conjugational forms, is often called the substantive verb,. √97. Cf. Future Physic


In literature:

It might be to-day, it might be to-morrow, it might be the next day.
"The Manxman A Novel - 1895" by Hall Caine
It might be that the new squire was already at the house, and it would be thought that he ought not to be absent.
"Ralph the Heir" by Anthony Trollope
The circle should not be too large, or the action will be too slow to be interesting.
"Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium" by Jessie H. Bancroft
It would be fortunate if they could be kept alive until they should reach some pasture; and where now was pasture to be found?
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
Kedge may be a corruption, as being carriable.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
The marquis seemed to be worn out with care and years, and to be one whose death might be yearly expected.
"The Bertrams" by Anthony Trollope
If only one class be taken, how, in an ungraded school, are the rest of the children to be employed?
"Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study" by Ontario Ministry of Education
It may be better for you to be in Ireland than to be tempted to go to them for the shooting season.
"Hopes and Fears scenes from the life of a spinster" by Charlotte M. Yonge
Your husband will always be dear to us, whoever he may be, if he be good to you.
"The Vicar of Bullhampton" by Anthony Trollope
Other signals may be agreed upon before starting, but they must be simple and familiar to the men; complicated signals must be avoided.
"Manual of Military Training" by James A. Moss

In poetry:

I said, Madam,
That may be true—
But I'll be dogged
If I love you!
"Madam And Her Madam" by Langston Hughes
In the thunder-spout of Him,
Until thy being dim,
And be
Dead deathlessly.
"Any Saint" by Francis Thompson
Feed upon this blessing
Though thy path be rough,
Let it be enough
Such a grace possessing:
"The Sense Of Right" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
His voice was sweet
As rain upon a grave;
'Be brave,' he smiled.
And yet again—'be brave.'
"The Friend" by Richard Le Gallienne
She is to be kissed
Only perhaps by me;
She may be seeking
Me and no other; she
May not exist.
"Unknown" by Edward Thomas
'Ye bend in resignation,
A tame and patient herd!
Union be the motto,
And onward! be the word!
"The March Of Freedom" by Ernest Jones

In news:

An invoice will be mailed to cover the cost and payment must be made within 30 days or an additional $50 fine could be assessed.
Could it be possible in the bountiful Internet age — when rich stores of the world's music, books, videos, news and human knowledge can be had with the click of a mouse — that in some ways our experiences are being narrowed , not broadened.
Summer may be nearing an end, but lawns still need to be cut and trash needs to be cleared out of yards in the town of Monroe, according to the town council.
"€œI never thought being a congressman was supposed to be an easy job, and it doesn'€™t bother me a bit to be in a good fight,"€ he once said.
You may be in the mood today for something less white heat than what Bud Powell's playing typically brings to mind, in which case be sure to take a look at this footage once the temperature drops, but this might be just the cool you need.
In what could be the first of what could be several LGBT milestones tonight, Rep Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, is projected to be the first openly lesbian US senator.
If the far end of the fiber is not under your control there could be light being radiated from the end being repaired.
In Tim Eitel's monumental canvases, walls might be space, interiors could be exteriors, and the figures could be either real or imagined.
For the first time, organic foods certified in the United States will be able to be sold in Europe and vice versa under a historic agreement to be signed today.
The slow-pitch league will be open to men and women over 17 years of age with the number of games to be played yet to be determined.
Ross is looking to be paid about $8 million a year, which might be a little rich for the team's blood, but there may be a realization that, hey, somebody's got to play the outfield .
I can only imagine what it would be like to be an elderly person in an apartment high up in a skyscraper and suddenly be without electricity and therefore no heat, no elevator for days.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Bernalillo County officials say there may be as many as 1,000 people being held at the chronically overcrowded Metropolitan Detention Center who don't need to be there.
The Eagles called this game a benchmark, saying it would be a good indication of how far they need to go to be where they want to be.
Bill and Lou are being retired because of injury and will be processed into beef products to be served in the college dining hall in keeping, the Poultney college said.

In science:

Obviously being definable in the wide sense implies being definable in the very wide sense, and being definable in the strict sense implies being definable in the wide sense.
On the consistency of the definable tree property on \aleph_1
Let g be a finite-dimensional simple Lie algebra, h be a Cartan subalgebra, Φ be the set of roots and Q be the root lattice.
Generalized vertex algebras generated by parafermion-like vertex operators
Of course, the weight function should be such that both the numerator and the denominator are finite and have the same sign (which without loss of generality will be assumed to be positive), at least for the class of states to be considered.
Defining Entropy Bounds
Let L be a finite separable extension of K , dL ∈ OL be a different of OL /OK (i.e. a generator of the different defined in III), δL ∈ OK be a discriminant of OL /OK (i.e. a generator of the discriminant defined in III), and psL be the inseparable degree of the residue extension L/K .
Ramification of local fields with imperfect residue fields
In our construction, from the above discussion, the flap must be folded before crimp c0 can be folded, which in turn needs to be folded before crimps c1 and c2 can be folded.
When Can You Fold a Map?