be-

be-

a native English prefix formerly used in the formation of verbs: become, besiege, bedaub, befriend.

Origin:
Middle English, Old English, unstressed form of by

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be-
 
prefix forming verbs and verbal derivatives
1.  (from nouns) to surround completely; cover on all sides: befog
2.  (from nouns) to affect completely or excessively: bedazzle
3.  (from nouns) to consider as or cause to be: befool; befriend
4.  (from nouns) to provide or cover with: bejewel
5.  (from verbs) at, for, against, on, or over: bewail; berate
 
[Old English be-, bi-, unstressed variant of by]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

be-
weak form of O.E. bi "by," probably cognate with second syllable of Gk. amphi, L. ambi and originally meaning "about" (see ambi-). This sense naturally drifted into intensive (cf. bespatter "spatter about," therefore "spatter very much"). Be- can also be privative (cf. behead),
causative, or have just about any sense required. The prefix was productive 16c.-17c. in forming useful words, many of which have not survived, e.g. bethwack "to thrash soundly" (1550s), betongue "to assail in speech, to scold" (1630s).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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