be synonym, be definition | Thesaurus



1    be alive, breathe, exist, inhabit, live  
2    befall, come about, come to pass, happen, occur, take place, transpire     (informal)  
3    abide, continue, endure, last, obtain, persist, prevail, remain, stand, stay, survive  

budding, dormant, latent, manqué, potential, professed, quasi-, self-appointed, self-styled, so-called, soi-disant, undeveloped, unfulfilled, unrealized  
English Collins Dictionary - English synonyms & Thesaurus  


  ( am    1st person singular present)   ( are    2nd and 3rd person singular present and plural present)   ( is    3rd person singular present)   ( being    present participle)   ( was    1st and 3rd person singular past)   ( were    2nd person singular past and plural past)   ( been    past participle  )   (AUXILIARY VERB USES)  
In spoken English, forms of be    are often shortened, for example `I am' is shortened to `I'm' and `was not' is shortened to `wasn't'.         
1       aux   You use be    with a present participle to form the continuous tenses of verbs.      
This is happening in every school throughout the country...      AUX -ing  
She didn't always think carefully about what she was doing...      AUX -ing  
    be going to  
2       aux   You use be    with a past participle to form the passive voice.      
Forensic experts were called in...      AUX -ed  
Her husband was killed in a car crash...      AUX -ed  
The cost of electricity from coal-fired stations is expected to fall...      AUX -ed  
Similar action is being taken by the US government.      AUX -ed  
3       aux   You use be    with an infinitive to indicate that something is planned to happen, that it will definitely happen, or that it must happen.      
The talks are to begin tomorrow...      AUX to-inf  
It was to be Johnson's first meeting with the board in nearly a month...      AUX to-inf  
You are to answer to Brian, to take your orders from him.      AUX to-inf  
    be about to  
4       aux   You use be    with an infinitive to say or ask what should happen or be done in a particular situation, how it should happen, or who should do it.      
What am I to do without him?...      AUX to-inf  
Who is to say which of them had more power?...      AUX to-inf  
5       aux   You use was and were with an infinitive to talk about something that happened later than the time you are discussing, and was not planned or certain at that time.  
Then he received a phone call that was to change his life...      AUX to-inf  
A few hours later he was to prove it.      AUX to-inf  
6       aux   You can say that something is to be seen, heard, or found in a particular place to mean that people can see it, hear it, or find it in that place.  
Little traffic was to be seen on the streets...      AUX -ed  
They are to be found all over the world.      AUX -ed  

Translation English Cobuild Collins Dictionary  

be          [2]     ( am    1st person singular present)   ( are    2nd and 3rd person singular present and plural present)   ( is    3rd person singular present)   ( being    present participle)   ( was    1st and 3rd person singular past)   ( were    2nd person singular past and plural past)   ( been    past participle  )   (OTHER VERB USES)  
In spoken English, forms of be    are often shortened, for example `I am' is shortened to `I'm' and `was not' is shortened to `wasn't'.         
1       v-link   You use be    to introduce more information about the subject, such as its identity, nature, qualities, or position.      
She's my mother...      V n  
He is a very attractive man...      V n  
My grandfather was a butcher...      V n  
The fact that you were willing to pay in the end is all that matters...      V n  
The sky was black...      V adj  
It is 1,267 feet high...      V adj  
Cheney was in Madrid...      V prep/adv  
His house is next door...      V prep/adv  
`Is it safe?'—`Well of course it is.'...      V  
He's still alive isn't he?      V  
2       v-link   You use be   , with `it' as the subject, in clauses where you are describing something or giving your judgment of a situation.      
It was too chilly for swimming...      it V adj  
Sometimes it is necessary to say no...      it V adj to-inf  
It is likely that investors will face losses...      it V adj that  
It's nice having friends to chat to...      it V adj -ing  
It's a good thing I brought lots of handkerchiefs...      it V n that  
It's no good just having meetings...      it V n -ing  
It's a good idea to avoid refined food...      it V n to-inf  
It's up to us to prove it.      it V prep to-inf  
3       v-link   You use be    with the impersonal pronoun `there' in expressions like there is and there are to say that something exists or happens.      
Clearly there is a problem here...      there V n  
There are very few cars on this street...      there V n  
There was nothing new in the letter...      there V n  
4       v-link   You use be    as a link between a subject and a clause and in certain other clause structures, as shown below.      
It was me she didn't like, not what I represented...      V n  
What the media should not do is to exploit people's natural fears...      V to-inf  
Our greatest problem is convincing them...      V -ing  
The question was whether protection could be improved...      V wh  
All she knew was that I'd had a broken marriage...      V that  
Local residents said it was as if there had been a nuclear explosion.      V as if  
5       v-link   You use be    in expressions like the thing is and the point is to introduce a clause in which you make a statement or give your opinion.      
SPOKEN   The fact is, the players gave everything they had...      V cl  
The plan is good; the problem is it doesn't go far enough.      V cl  
6       v-link   You use be    in expressions like to be fair, to be honest, or to be serious to introduce an additional statement or opinion, and to indicate that you are trying to be fair, honest, or serious.      
She's always noticed. But then, to be honest, Ghislaine likes being noticed...      V adj  
It enabled students to devote more time to their studies, or to be more accurate, more time to relaxation.      V adj  
7       v-link   The form `be   ' is used occasionally instead of the normal forms of the present tense, especially after `whether'.      
FORMAL   The chemical agent, whether it be mustard gas or nerve gas, can be absorbed by the skin.      be n  
8       verb   If something is, it exists.  
9       v-link   To be yourself means to behave in the way that is right and natural for you and your personality.  
She'd learnt to be herself and to stand up for her convictions.      V pron-refl  
10    If you talk about what would happen if it wasn't for someone or something, you mean that they are the only thing that is preventing it from happening.  
if it wasn't for      phrase   V inflects, PHR n  
I could happily move back into a flat if it wasn't for the fact that I'd miss my garden..., If it hadn't been for her your father would be alive today.     
11    You say `Be that as it may' when you want to move onto another subject or go further with the discussion, without deciding whether what has just been said is right or wrong.  
be that as it may      phrase  
`Is he still just as fat?'—`I wouldn't know,' continued her mother, ignoring the interruption, `and be that as it may, he has made a fortune.'     

Translation English Cobuild Collins Dictionary  

See also:

bed, beg, bet, bear

Collaborative Dictionary     English Thesaurus
be stupid
expression used when someone becomes irritating
be exactly right
[Fam.] Ex.: Her guess was right on the money.
not to be able to act like a man, be a pussy
be in a good shape
to be unable to think for oneself
used in a condescending way
if you can't be arsed to do something, you can't be bothered to do it (you are too lazy to do it)
colloquial, British, very common
be consumed by an emotion; experience an intense feeling
be beside oneself with joy/ grief/ anger etc.
to be left in a state of confusion or uncertainty
[child] to be sent to a care organization run by the social services, or to be looked after by foster parents
disappear ; be absent; leave (temporary or for good)
E.g. "Now, that the parents are out of the picture, we can throw a party". (meaning=Now, that the parents left, that they are no longer here) "James is out of the picture, him and Mary split up"
think alike about a certain topic; be aligned in opinions; feel the same way about smth.
be more successful than others in a competitive situation or do things in advance in order to succeed in a competition.
That basketball team was ahead of the game that is why they won!
be/not be interested in getting married and having a family
to be likely to do something
banks set to miss lending targets
Slang expression meaning one being annoying.
"You`re a prick when you ask those questions."
behave in a manner that is commonly considered as specific to women
[Fam.] it is used most frequently when referring to men who show lack of courage or an excessive shyness or sensitivity. E.g Don't be a pussy; You're such a pussy
to be lost
he went missing my dog went missing for three days
be a man
to be staggering
Das ist ein Hammer!
be kept waiting
be tone-deaf
comes from a pun related to Van Gogh (a painter) cutting off his left ear and the expression "have an ear for music" = be particularly good at learning music
able to be seen
[US] Ex.: the car in front of us was visible because we had the lights on
be silent, stop talking etc
be the best; shine; dominate
"He/She rocks!/ You rock!" - it's said with admiration for someone whom you consider the best
be very expensive; cost a lot
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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"