Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “be”

be

verb [L] (EXIST)   /bi/ (present tense am  /æm/ , are  /ɑr/ or is  /ɪz/, present participle being  /ˈbi·ɪŋ/, past tense was  /wʌz/ or were  /wɜr/, past participle been  /bɪn/)
to exist : She apologized for the way things are around here. There was no sound .
(Definition of be verb (EXIST) from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of be

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Duty, obligation and responsibility, but you might be interested in these topics from the Causing and forcing topic area:

Definitions of “be” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

grand prix

one of a series of important international races for very fast and powerful cars

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More