• To exist; to have real existence, to be alive.
  • To exist.
  • To occupy a place.
  • To occur, to take place.
  • To exist or behave in a certain way.
  • To tend to do, often do;


Similar words


  • From Middle English been ("to be"). The various forms have three separate origins, which were mixed together at various times in the history of English.
  • The forms beginning with b- come from Old English bēon ("to be, become"), from Proto-Germanic *beuną ("to be, exist, come to be, become"), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰúHt ("to grow, become, come into being, appear"), from the root *bʰuH-. In particular:
  • ** Now-dialectal use of been as an infinitive of be is either from Middle English been or an extension of the past participle.
  • ** Now-obsolete use of been as a plural present tense (meaning "are") is from Middle English been, be (present plural of been, with the -n leveled in from the past and subjunctive; compare competing forms aren/are).
  • ** Use of been as a past participle is from Middle English been, ybeen, from Old English ġebēon.
  • The forms beginning with w- come from the aforementioned Old English bēon, which shared its past tense with the verb wesan, from Proto-Germanic *wesaną, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wes- ("to reside").
  • The remaining forms are also from Old English wesan ("to be"), from Proto-Germanic *wesaną, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ésti, from the root *h₁es-.
  • A variant of by which goes back to Middle English be (variant of bi).

Modern English dictionary

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