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Etymology

From Middle English be-bi-, from Old English be- (be-), from Proto-Germanic *bi- (be-), from Proto-Germanic *bi (near, by), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁epi (at, near), would be the locative case of *h₁eps (from *h₁ep-), which could mean “back”, with the “on” sense referring to pack animals or riding.

Cognate with Saterland Frisian be- (be-)West Frisian be- (be-)Dutch be- (be-)German Low German be- (be-)German be- (be-)Swedish be- (be-). More at by.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key)/bɪ//bi//bə/

Prefix

be-

  1. (rare or no longer productive) By, near, next to, around, close to.
    beleaguerbestandbesetbesit
  2. (rare or no longer productive) Around; about.
    begatherbelaybelookbestirbelivebesmellbewrap
  3. (rare or no longer productive) About, regarding, concerning, over.
    bewritebetalkbetellbemoanbemournbewailbeknowbesingbespeak
  4. (rare or no longer productive) On, upon, at, to, in contact with something.
    beclothebecallbeseebeholdbefallbedobeshinebesmilebetone
  5. (rare or no longer productive) Off, away, over, across
    becutbedealbetakebegobeheadbelimbbenimbereavebesleevebetrunk
  6. (rare or no longer productive) As an intensifier; i.e. thoroughly, excessively; completely; utterly.
    bebreakbegladdenbelabourbehatebedazzle
  7. (rare or no longer productive) All around; about; abundantly; all over.
    belavebelickbescatterbekiss
  8. (rare or no longer productive) Forming verbs derived from nouns or adjectives, usually with the sense of “to make, become, or cause to be”.
    becalmbedarkbefreebefriendbedimbekenbenightbenothingbewetbesmoothbestrange
  9. (archaic or informal) Used to intensify adjectives meaning “adorned with something”, often those with the suffix -ed.
    besequinedbefeatheredbeclawedbewebbedbetasseledbeloved

By Gabon

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