was

[wuhz, woz; unstressed wuhz]
verb
1st and 3rd person singular pt. indicative of be.

Origin:
before 950; Middle English; Old English wæs, past tense singular of wesan to be; cognate with Old Frisian, Old High German, Gothic was, Old Norse var; cf. wassail

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be

[bee; unstressed bee, bi]
verb (used without object), present singular 1st person am, 2nd are or (Archaic) art, 3rd is, present plural are; past singular 1st person was, 2nd were or (Archaic) wast or wert, 3rd was, past plural were; present subjunctive be; past subjunctive singular 1st person were, 2nd were or (Archaic) wert, 3rd were; past subjunctive plural were; past participle been; present participle being.
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.
auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person am, 2nd are or (Archaic) art, 3rd is, present plural are; past singular 1st person was, 2nd were or (Archaic) wast or wert, 3rd was, past plural were; present subjunctive be; past subjunctive singular 1st person were, 2nd were or (Archaic) wert, 3rd were; past subjunctive plural were; past participle been; present participle being.
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.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English been, Old English bēon (bēo- (akin to Old Frisian, Old High German bim, German bin, Old Saxon bium, biom (I) am, Old English, Old High German, Old Saxon būan, Old Norse būa reside, Latin fuī (I) have been, Greek phy- grow, become, Old Irish boí (he) was, Sanskrit bhávati (he) becomes, is, Lithuanian búti to be, OCS byti, Persian būd was)) + -n infinitive suffix. See am, is, are1, was, were

be, bee.


See me.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
be1 (biː, (unstressed) bɪ)
 
vb , pres. sing. 1st pers 2nd pers 3rd pers pres. pl past sing 1st pers 2nd pers 3rd pers past pl pres. part past part am, are, is, are, was, were, was, were, being, been
1.  to have presence in the realm of perceived reality; exist; live: I think, therefore I am; not all that is can be understood
2.  (used in the perfect or past perfect tenses only) to pay a visit; go: have you been to Spain?
3.  to take place; occur: my birthday was last Thursday
4.  (copula) used as a linking verb between the subject of a sentence and its noun or adjective complement or complementing phrase. In this case be expresses the relationship of either essential or incidental equivalence or identity (John is a man; John is a musician) or specifies an essential or incidental attribute (honey is sweet; Susan is angry). It is also used with an adverbial complement to indicate a relationship of location in space or time (Bill is at the office; the dance is on Saturday)
5.  (takes a present participle) forms the progressive present tense: the man is running
6.  (takes a past participle) forms the passive voice of all transitive verbs and (archaically) certain intransitive ones: a good film is being shown on television tonight; I am done
7.  (takes an infinitive) expresses intention, expectation, supposition, or obligation: the president is to arrive at 9.30; you are not to leave before I say so
8.  (takes a past participle) forms the perfect or past perfect tense of certain intransitive verbs of motion, such as go or come: the last train is gone
9.  be that as it may the facts concerning (something) are of no importance
 
[Old English bēon; related to Old High German bim am, Latin fui I have been, Greek phuein to bring forth, Sanskrit bhavati he is]

be2
 
the internet domain name for
Belgium

Be
 
the chemical symbol for
beryllium

 
abbreviation for
Baumé

BE
 
abbreviation for
1.  bill of exchange
2.  (in the US) Board of Education
3.  Bachelor of Education
4.  Bachelor of Engineering

was (wɒz, (unstressed) wəz)
 
vb
1.  the past tense (indicative mood) of be
2.  not standard a form of the subjunctive mood used in place of were, esp in conditional sentences: if the film was to be with you, would you be able to process it?
 
[Old English wæs, from wesan to be; related to Old Frisian, Old High German was, Old Norse var]

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

was
O.E. wesan, wæs, wæron 1st and 3rd person sing. of wesan "to remain," from P.Gmc. *wesanan (cf. O.S. wesan, O.N. vesa, O.Fris. wesa, M.Du. wesen, Du. wezen, O.H.G. wesen "being, existence," Goth. wisan "to be"), from PIE base *wes- "remain, abide, dwell" (cf. Skt. vasati "he dwells, stays;"
cf. vestal). Wesan was a distinct verb in O.E., but it came to supply the past tense of am. This began to develop in P.Gmc., since it is also the case in Gothic and Old Norse. See be.

be
O.E. beon, beom, bion "be, exist, come to be, become," from P.Gmc. *beo-, *beu-. This "b-root" is from PIE base *bheu-, *bhu- "grow, come into being, become," and in addition to the words in English it yielded German present first and second person sing. (bin, bist, from O.H.G. bim "I am," bist "thou
art"), L. perf. tenses of esse (fui "I was," etc.), O.C.S. byti "be," Gk. phu- "become," O.Ir. bi'u "I am," Lith. bu'ti "to be," Rus. byt' "to be," etc. It also is behind Skt. bhavah "becoming," bhavati "becomes, happens," bhumih "earth, world."

The modern verb in its entirety represents the merger of two once-distinct verbs, the "b-root" represented by be and the am/was verb, which was itself a conglomerate. Roger Lass ("Old English") describes the verb as "a collection of semantically related paradigm fragments," while Weekley calls it "an accidental conglomeration from the different Old English dial[ect]s." It is the most irregular verb in Mod.E. and the most common. Collective in all Germanic languages, it has eight different forms in Modern English:

BE (infinitive, subjunctive, imperative)
AM (present 1st person singular)
ARE (present 2nd person singular and all plural)
IS (present 3rd person singular)
WAS (past 1st and 3rd persons singular)
WERE (past 2nd person singular, all plural; subjunctive)
BEING (progressive & present participle; gerund)
BEEN (perfect participle).

The paradigm in O.E. was:

SING.PL.
1st pres.ic eom
ic beo
we sind(on)
we beoð
2nd pres.þu eart
þu bist
ge sind(on)
ge beoð
3rd pres.he is
he bið
hie sind(on)
hie beoð
1st pret.ic wæswe wæron
2nd pret.þu wærege waeron
3rd pret.heo wæshie wæron
1st pret. subj.ic wærewe wæren
2nd pret. subj.þu wærege wæren
3rd pret. subj.Egcferð wærehie wæren


The "b-root" had no past tense in O.E., but often served as future tense of am/was. In 13c. it took the place of the infinitive, participle and imperative forms of am/was. Later its plural forms (we beth, ye ben, they be) became standard in M.E. and it made inroads into the singular (I be, thou beest, he beth), but forms of are claimed this turf in the 1500s and replaced be in the plural. For the origin and evolution of the am/was branches of this tangle, see am and was.
"That but this blow Might be the be all, and the end all." ["Macbeth" I.vii.5]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

Be
The symbol for the element beryllium.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Be  
The symbol for beryllium.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
be
Belorusian
Be
  1. beryllium

  2. excess burst

BE
  1. Bachelor of Education

  2. Bachelor of Engineering

  3. barium enema

  4. board eligible

  5. Board of Education

Bé
Baumé scale
WAS
Washington Redskins
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
That was the first story I'd ever sold to a national magazine.
Maybe it was time I learned what all the buzz was about.
That was nine years ago.
All that was left was to seek retribution.
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