Hypertext Webster Gateway: "being"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Be \Be\, v. i. [imp. {Was}; p. p. {Been}; p. pr. & vb. n.
{Being}.] [OE. been, beon, AS. be['o]n to be, be['o]m I am;
akin to OHG. bim, pim, G. bin, I am, Gael. & Ir. bu was, W.
bod to be, Lith. bu-ti, O. Slav. by-ti, to be, L. fu-i I have
been, fu-turus about to be, fo-re to be about to be, and perh
to fieri to become, Gr. ? to be born, to be, Skr. bh? to be.
This verb is defective, and the parts lacking are supplied by
verbs from other roots, is, was, which have no radical
connection with be. The various forms, am, are, is, was,
were, etc., are considered grammatically as parts of the verb
``to be'', which, with its conjugational forms, is often
called the substantive verb. ?97. Cf. {Future}, {Physic}.]
1. To exist actually, or in the world of fact; to have

To be contents his natural desire. --Pope.

To be, or not to be: that is the question. --Shak.

2. To exist in a certain manner or relation, -- whether as a
reality or as a product of thought; to exist as the
subject of a certain predicate, that is, as having a
certain attribute, or as belonging to a certain sort, or
as identical with what is specified, -- a word or words
for the predicate being annexed; as, to be happy; to be
here; to be large, or strong; to be an animal; to be a
hero; to be a nonentity; three and two are five;
annihilation is the cessation of existence; that is the

3. To take place; to happen; as, the meeting was on Thursday.

4. To signify; to represent or symbolize; to answer to.

The field is the world. --Matt. xiii.

The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the
seven churches. --Rev. i. 20.

Note: The verb to be (including the forms is, was, etc.) is
used in forming the passive voice of other verbs; as,
John has been struck by James. It is also used with the
past participle of many intransitive verbs to express a
state of the subject. But have is now more commonly
used as the auxiliary, though expressing a different
sense; as, ``Ye have come too late -- but ye are come.
'' ``The minstrel boy to the war is gone.'' The present
and imperfect tenses form, with the infinitive, a
particular future tense, which expresses necessity,
duty, or purpose; as, government is to be supported; we
are to pay our just debts; the deed is to be signed

Note: Have or had been, followed by to, implies movement. ``I
have been to Paris.'' --Sydney Smith. ``Have you been
to Franchard ?'' --R. L. Stevenson.

Note: Been, or ben, was anciently the plural of the
indicative present. ``Ye ben light of the world.''
--Wyclif, Matt. v. 14. Afterwards be was used, as in
our Bible: ``They that be with us are more than they
that be with them.'' --2 Kings vi. 16. Ben was also the
old infinitive: ``To ben of such power.'' --R. of
Gloucester. Be is used as a form of the present
subjunctive: ``But if it be a question of words and
names.'' --Acts xviii. 15. But the indicative forms, is
and are, with if, are more commonly used.

{Be it so}, a phrase of supposition, equivalent to suppose it
to be so; or of permission, signifying let it be so.

{If so be}, in case.

{To be from}, to have come from; as, from what place are you
? I am from Chicago.

{To let be}, to omit, or leave untouched; to let alone. ``Let
be, therefore, my vengeance to dissuade.'' --Spenser.

Syn: {To be}, {Exist}.

Usage: The verb to be, except in a few rare case, like that
of Shakespeare's ``To be, or not to be'', is used
simply as a copula, to connect a subject with its
predicate; as, man is mortal; the soul is immortal.
The verb to exist is never properly used as a mere
copula, but points to things that stand forth, or have
a substantive being; as, when the soul is freed from
all corporeal alliance, then it truly exists. It is
not, therefore, properly synonymous with to be when
used as a copula, though occasionally made so by some
writers for the sake of variety; as in the phrase
``there exists [is] no reason for laying new taxes.''
We may, indeed, say, ``a friendship has long existed
between them,'' instead of saying, ``there has long
been a friendship between them;'' but in this case,
exist is not a mere copula. It is used in its
appropriate sense to mark the friendship as having
been long in existence.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Being \Be"ing\, adv.
Since; inasmuch as. [Obs. or Colloq.]

And being you have Declined his means, you have
increased his malice. --Beau. & Fl.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Being \Be"ing\, n.
1. Existence, as opposed to nonexistence; state or sphere of

In Him we live, and move, and have our being. --Acts
xvii. 28.

2. That which exists in any form, whether it be material or
spiritual, actual or ideal; living existence, as
distinguished from a thing without life; as, a human
being; spiritual beings.

What a sweet being is an honest mind ! --Beau. & Fl.

A Being of infinite benevolence and power.

3. Lifetime; mortal existence. [Obs.]

Claudius, thou Wast follower of his fortunes in his
being. --Webster

4. An abode; a cottage. [Prov. Eng.] --Wright.

It was a relief to dismiss them [Sir Roger's
servants] into little beings within my manor.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Being \Be"ing\, p. pr. from {Be}.

Note: Being was formerly used where we now use having.
``Being to go to a ball in a few days.'' --Miss

Note: In modern usage, is, are, was or were being, with a
past participle following (as built, made, etc.)
indicates the process toward the completed result
expressed by the participle. The form is or was
building, in this passive signification, is idiomatic,
and, if free from ambiguity, is commonly preferable to
the modern is or was being built. The last form of
speech is, however, sufficiently authorized by approved
writers. The older expression was is, or was,
a-building or in building.

A man who is being strangled. --Lamb.

While the article on Burns was being written.

Fresh experience is always being gained. --Jowett
(Thucyd. )

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: the state or fact of existing: "a point of view gradually
coming into being"; "laws in existence for centuries"
[syn: {beingness}, {existence}] [ant: {nonexistence}, {nonbeing}]
2: a living (or once living) entity that has (or can develop)
the ability to act or function independently [syn: {organism},
{living thing}]

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