A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 212

To Be. v.n. [This word is so remarkably irregular, that it is necessary to set down many of its terminations.

    Present.     I am,     thou art,     he is,     we are,     &c.
  am, aꞃꞇ, ıꞅ, aꞃon, Sax.
    Preter.     I was,     thou wert,     he was,     we were,     &c.
  ƿæꞃ ƿæꞃ ƿaꞃ, ƿæꞃon Sax.
The conjunctive mood.
  I be,     thou beest,     he be,     we be,     &c.
  bo, bıꞅꞇ, bo, bon, Sax.]

  1. To have some certain state, condition, quality, or accident; as, the man is wife.

                                    Seventy senators died
    By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
    Shakesp. J. Cæsar.

    He hath to night been in unusual pleasure. Macbeth.

    Be what thou hop'st to be, or what thou art,
    Resign to death, it is not worth enjoying.
    Shakesp. H. VI.

                                    Be but about
    To say, she's a goodly lady, and
    The justice of your hearts will add thereto,
    'Tis pity she's not honest, honourable.
    Shak. Winter's Tale.

    Let them shew the former things what they be, that we may consider them. Isaiah, xli. 22.

                                    Therefore be sure,
    Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends
    Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
    Hast gain'd thy entrance, virgin wise and pure.
    Par. Reg.

    Is it not easy to discern what such men would be at. Stillingfl.

    To say a man has a clear idea of quantity, without knowing how great it is, is to say, he has the clear idea of the number of the sands, who knows not how many they be. Locke.

  2. It is the auxiliary verb by which the verb passive is formed.

    The wine of life is drawn, and the meer lees
    Is left this vault to brag of.
    Shakesp. Macbeth.

  3. To exist; to have existence.

                                    The times have been,
    That when the brains were out the man would die.

    Here cease, ye pow'rs, and let your vengeance end,
    Troy is no more, and can no more offend.

            All th' impossibilities, which poets
    Count to extravagance of loose description,
    Shall sooner be.
    Rowe's Ambitious Stepmother.

    To be contents his natural desire;
    He asks no angel's wing, nor seraph's fire.
    Pope's Ess. on M.

  4. To have something by appointment or rule.

    If all political power be derived only from Adam, and be to descend only to his successive heirs, by the ordinance of God, and divine institution, this is a right antecedent and paramount to all government. Locke.

Sources: Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2 (49) · The Bible - Isaiah (16) · Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (42) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Milton, John (449) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Rowe, Nicholas (21) · Shakespeare's Winter's Tale (43)

Attributes: Saxon (215) · Verb Neuter (131)

Search for this word in: American Heritage · Cambridge · Dictionary.com · The Free Dictionary · Longman · Merriam-Webster · OneLook · Oxford Dictionaries · Vocabulary.com · Wiktionary · Wordnik

Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Be." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 23, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/be/.

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