- /bee/; unstressed /bee, bi/, v. and auxiliary v., pres. sing. 1st pers. am, 2nd are or (Archaic) art, 3rd is, pres. pl. are; past sing. 1st pers. was, 2nd were or (Archaic) wast or wert, 3rd was, past pl. were; pres. subj. be; past subj. sing. 1st pers. were, 2nd were or (Archaic) wert, 3rd were; past subj. pl. were; past part. been; pres. part. being.v.i.1. to exist or live: Shakespeare's "To be or not to be" is the ultimate question.2. to take place; happen; occur: The wedding was last week.3. to occupy a place or position: The book is on the table.4. to continue or remain as before: Let things be.5. to belong; attend; befall: May good fortune be with you.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): Martha is tall. John is president. This is she.7. (used as a copula to introduce or form interrogative or imperative sentences): Is that right? Be quiet! Don't be facetious.8. (used with the present participle of another verb to form the progressive tense): I am waiting.9. (used with the present participle or infinitive of the principal verb to indicate future action): She is visiting there next week. He is to see me today.10. (used with the past participle of another verb to form the passive voice): The date was fixed. It must be done.11. (used in archaic or literary constructions with some intransitive verbs to form the perfect tense): He is come. Agamemnon to the wars is gone.[bef. 900; ME been, OE beon (beo- (akin to OFris, OHG bim, G bin, OS bium, biom (I) am, OE, OHG, OS buan, ON bua reside, L fui (I) have been, Gk phy- grow, become, OIr boí (he) was, Skt bhávati (he) becomes, is, Lith búti to be, OCS byti, Pers bud was)) + -n inf. suffix. See AM, IS, ARE1, WAS, WERE]Usage. See me.
* * *▪ Japanese societyany of the hereditary occupational groups in early Japan (c. 5th–mid-7th century), established to provide specific economic services and a continuous inflow of revenue for the uji, or lineage groups. Each be was thus subsidiary to one of the uji into which all of Japanese society was then divided, and each kakibe, or worker, was effectively owned by the chief of his uji. Most be were agricultural units, producing rice for themselves and their superiors, but some engaged in crafts, fishing, or specific court functions. Those that acted as scribes, interpreters, diviners, or reciters for the court were national organizations; most other types of be were local.After the Taika-era reforms (AD 645) asserted imperial rule over the various uji, all be were abolished with the exception of those for specially skilled workers such as musicians and craftsmen, whose services were transferred from the imperial family to individual governmental departments.
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