See also: butt, but, Butt, bút, bût, Bụt, and but-




From Proto-Baltic *bū-ti, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰuH- (to grow, to prosper) ( > “to become, to be”). The past tense forms are derived from Proto-Baltic *bī- (*bī-yuo > biju), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰew-wi. The present tense forms come from Proto-Indo-European *es- < *h₁es- (to be): *esmi > esmu, etc. The third-person forms are from other sources: see ir, nav. Cognates include Lithuanian būti, Old Prussian būton, boūt(on), Sudovian bus (will be), Old Church Slavonic бꙑти (byti), Russian быть (byt’), Belarusian быць (byc’), Ukrainian бути (búty), Czech býti, Polish być, Irish buith (to be), Old High German būan (to live, to cultivate land), German bauen (to build, to cultivate land, to grow, e.g., of roots), Sanskrit भवति (bhávati, to become), Ancient Greek φύομαι (phúomai, to grow, to be).[1]




būt intr., no conj., pres. esmu, esi, ir, past biju

  1. to be, to exist
    būt vai nebūt‎ ― to be or not to be
    tas ir (= t.i.)‎ ― i.e., that is to say (lit. that is)
    ir vairāki šās dziesmas varianti‎ ― (there) are many versions of this song
    lietus beidzot pārgājis, bet saules nav‎ ― the rain is finally gone, but (still) there is no sun
  2. to be, to be at, to be located (at)
    mēs būsim mājā‎ ― we will be in the house
    viņš vakar bija Rīgā‎ ― he was in Riga yesterday
    kur tu biji?‎ ― where were you?
    govis ir ganībās‎ ― the cows are in the grazing area (= grazing)
    grāmata ir uz galda‎ ― the book is on the table
    pilsētā ir rūpnīcas‎ ― (the) factories are in the city
    spainī ir ūdens‎ ― (there) is water in the bucket
    maizes somā nebija‎ ― there was no bread in the bag
    mūsu mežā ir stirnas‎ ― there are deer in our forest
  3. to be at, to attend, to participate in
    daudzi Ceilonas skolotāji bijuši VI Vispasaules jaunatnes un studentu festivālā Maskavā‎ ― many teachers (from) Ceylon were at the VI All-World youth and student festival in Moscow
    “varam sākt sapulci” Jānis teica; “vairāk neviena nebūs‎ ― “we can begin the meeting”, Jānis said; “there won't be anybody else” (= nobody else is coming)
    būt arodbiedrībā jau desmit gadu‎ ― to be (= participate, work) in the trade union for ten years
  4. (3rd person only, with a dative complement) to possess; to have (all senses)
    viņiem ir divistabu dzīvoklis‎ ― they have a two-room apartment
    zvejniekiem ir jauni tīkli‎ ― the fishermen have new nets
    vai tev ir nauda?‎ ― do you have (any) money?
    mātei ir māsa‎ ― the mother has a sister
    meitenei bija draudzene‎ ― the girl had a (girl)friend
    man ir darbs‎ ― I have work
    mums bija uzdevums‎ ― we had a task
    šodien man nebūs laika‎ ― today I won't have time
    latviešiem ir teika par Lāčplēsi‎ ― the Latvians have a legend about a Bear Slayer
    viņam bija pamatoti argumenti‎ ― he had valid arguments
    mums ir priekšlikums‎ ― we have a proposal
  5. (3rd person only, with a dative complement) to have, in a part-whole relationship}}
    ābelei ir balti ziedi‎ ― the apple tree has white flowers
    viņam bija brīnišķīgi skaidras un laipnas bērna acis‎ ― he had wonderfully clear and kind child's eyes
    viņam ir skaļa balss‎ ― he has a loud voice
    aktierim ir talants‎ ― the actor has talent
    tev ir labs noskaņojums‎ ― you have (= are in) a good mood
  6. (3rd person only) to be, to happen, to take place
    pagalmā bija liels tracis‎ ― in the (back) yard (there) was a big brawl
    kas ir, ir; kas būs, būs‎ ― what(ever) is, is; whatever will be, will be
    tur viss kārtībā... nelielā neskaidrība tikai, kad īsti būs kāzas‎ ― there everything (is) all right... only a little uncertainty (about) when exactly the wedding will be (= happen, take place)
    lai būtubūdams‎ ― let it be as it is (= let happen what will happen; so be it)
  7. to be; used as a simple copula to link a subject to its predicate
    ir laime‎ ― that is happiness
    būs labi‎ ― (it) will be good
    man ir auksti‎ ― I am (= feel) cold
    laiks būšot saulains‎ ― the weather, they say, will be sunny
    kas bija dzīve, kas bija cilvēks bez liela sapņa?‎ ― what was life, what was a person without a big dream?
  8. to be, to have, must, should; used as an auxiliary verb to form compound verb tenses
    esmu atnācis‎ ― I have arrived
    bijām aizbraukuši ciemos‎ ― we had left to visit (someone)
    nav dzirdēts‎ ― (it) hasn't been heard
    par to ir jārunā‎ ― one must talk about this
    tas būtu jāredz‎ ― this would have to be seen (= it is a must-see)
    viņš esot tur strādājis‎ ― he, they say, has worked there
    darbs būšot pabeigts‎ ― the work, they say, will be finished


Usage notesEdit

Of the two conjunctive debitive form, jāesot is the most frequently found one; jābūtot, though attested, is less frequent and apparently nonstandard.

Derived termsEdit

prefixed verbs:
other derived terms:


  1. ^ Karulis, Konstantīns (1992), “būt”, in Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca (in Latvian), Rīga: AVOTS, ISBN 9984-700-12-7