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Definition of be- – English explanatory dictionary

be-
be-
[AS. be, and in accented form bi, akin to OS. be and bi, OHG. bi, pi, and pi, MHG. be and bi, G. be and bei, Goth. bi, and perh. Gr. ’amfi• about (cf. AS. beseón to look about). rad.203. Cf. By, Amb- .] A prefix, originally the same word as by; joined with verbs, it serves: (a) To intensify the meaning; as bespatter, bestir. (b) To render an intransitive verb transitive; as befall (to fall upon); bespeak (to speak for). (c) To make the action of a verb particular or definite; as beget (to get as offspring); beset (to set around). It is joined with certain substantives, and a few adjectives, to form verbs; as bedew, befriend, benight, besot; belate (to make late); belittle (to make little). It also occurs in certain nouns, adverbs, and prepositions, often with something of the force of the preposition by, or about; as belief (believe), behalf, bequest (bequeath); because, before, beneath, beside, between.
In some words the original force of be is obscured or lost; as in become, begin, behave, behoove, belong.
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