be

be
1 auxiliary strong verb
1 used with a present participle to form the continuous (4) tenses of verbs: be doing sth: Don't disturb me while I'm working. | Gemma was reading when her son called. | They've been asking a lot of questions. | He's always causing trouble.
2 used with past participles to form the passive 2: Smoking is not permitted. | I was told about it yesterday. | The house is being painted. | She has been invited to the party. | The flames could be seen several miles away. | The police should have been informed about this.
3 used to give an order or to tell someone about a rule: All guests are to vacate their rooms by 10am on the day of their departure. | The children are to be in bed when we get home.
4 used to show arrangements for the future: Audrey and Jimmy are to be married in June. | We were to have gone away last week but I was ill. | I'll be leaving in about half an hour.
5 used to show what someone should do or what should happen: What am I to tell her (=what should I tell her?) when she finds out? | He is more to be (=should be more) pitied than blamed
6 used to show what cannot or could not happen: We searched everywhere but the ring was nowhere to be found.
7 used to show what had to happen or what did happen: This discovery was to have a major effect on the treatment of heart disease.
8 used in conditional 1 (2) sentences that describe a situation that does not or could not exist: If I were to do that what would you say? | Were we to offer you the job would you take it?
9 old use used instead of `have' to form the perfect 3 tenses of some verbs: Christ is risen (=has risen) from the dead
2 verb
1 (linking verb) used to show that someone or something is the same as the subject: It's me. | Lack of money is our biggest problem. | If I were you, I shouldn't do it. | the problem/difficulty etc is doing sth: The problem is explaining it to her in a tactful way. | the problem/difficulty etc is to do sth: The difficulty is to know what to do for the best. | the fact/idea etc is (that): The fact is that you know too much.
2 (intransitive always + adv/prep) used to show position or time: Where is Simon? | Jane's upstairs. | The principal's in his office. | How long has she been here? | The book is on the table. | The concert was last night. | The party is on Saturday.
3 (linking verb) used to show that someone or something belongs to a group or has a particular quality: Snow is white. | Horses are animals. | She wants to be a doctor when she leaves school. | These shoes are mine. | We were hungry. | I'm not ready. | Be careful! | It's hot today. | A knife is for cutting with.
4 used in short phrases and questions: It's cold isn't it? | He isn't leaving, is he? | "That's not your coat!" "Yes it is!"
5 (linking verb) used after `there' to show that something exists: There's a hole in your trousers.
6 be that as it may formal used to say that even though you accept that something is true it does not change a situation: "James has been under a lot of pressure at work recently." "Be that as it may, he ought to spend time with his family."
7 (I) to exist: That's just how it is.
8 to remain in the same state or stay calm: If the baby's sleeping let her be.
9 let/leave sth be to let a situation remain as it is without trying to change it: You just have to let some things be.
10 the be-all and end all the most important part of a situation or of someone's life: For Jim making money is the be-all and end all of his job.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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Synonyms:
(whether in fact or in imagination), , ,


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