- [[t]bi[/t]] unstressed [[t]bi, bɪ[/t]]v. and auxiliary v., pres. sing. 1st pers. am, 2nd are, 3rdis, pres. pl. are; past sing. 1st pers. was, 2ndwere, 3rdwas, past pl. were; pres. subj. be; past subj. sing. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pers. were; past subj. pl. were; past part. been; pres. part. be•ing.1) to exist or live:Shakespeare's “To be or not to be” is the ultimate question[/ex]2) to take place; occur:The wedding was last week[/ex]3) to occupy a place or position:The book is on the table[/ex]4) to continue or remain as before:Let things be[/ex]5) to belong; attend; befall:May good fortune be with you[/ex]6) (used as a copula to connect the subject with its predicate adjective, or predicate nominative, in order to describe, identify, or amplify the subject):He is tall. She is president[/ex]7) (used as a copula to introduce or form interrogative or imperative sentences):Is that right? Be quiet![/ex]8) fun (used with the present participle of another verb to form progressive tenses):I am waiting. We were talking[/ex]9) fun (used with the infinitive of the principal verb to indicate a command, arrangements, or future action):He is to see me today. You are not to leave before six[/ex]10) fun (used with the past participle of another verb to form the passive voice):The date was fixed[/ex]11) fun (used in archaic or literary constructions with some intransitive verbs to form perfect tenses):He is come[/ex]•Etymology: bef. 900; ME; OE bēon; akin to OFris, OHG bim (I) am, L fuī (I) have been, Gk phýein to grow, become usage: See me
From formal English to slang. 2014.