See also: väre



From Old Danish wæræ, waræ, from Old Norse vera, vesa, from Proto-Germanic *wesaną (to be), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wes- (to dwell, live, reside). The present tense is derived from a different root: Proto-Germanic *izum, *izud, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (to be), which is also the origin of English is, are and German ist. In Scandinavian, the singular has taken over the stem of the plural (with -z- > -r-).

Alternative formsEdit


  • IPA(key): /ˈvɛːʁə/, [ˈʋɛːɐ], [ˈʋɛːɒ̽]


være (present tense er, past tense var, perfect tense har været)

  1. (copulative) to be (expresses identity between the subject and a predicative)
    Kierkegaard er en berømt filosof
    Kierkegaard is a famous philosopher
  2. (intransitive) to be, exist (with an adverbial phrase and/or the dummy subject der)
    på kontoret var (der) 15 ansatte
    there were 15 employees in the office
  3. (intransitive) to be (in cleft sentences emphasizing a noun phrase, with the dummy subject det and a relative clause)
    Det er Anders der har spist kagen
    It's Anders that ate the cake
  4. (auxiliary) to be (passive perfect tense with the past participle)
    huset er bygget af træ
    the house is built from wood
  5. (auxiliary) to have (active perfect tense with the past participle of certain intransitive verbs)
    pigen er løbet væk
    the girl has run away
    Synonym: have (used with most words)


Note also archaic plural form ere (Vi ere - "We are")

Derived termsEdit


Norwegian BokmålEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Old Norse vera



være (imperative vær, present tense er, simple past var, past participle vært, present participle værende)

  1. to be
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Old Norse viðra


være (imperative vær, present tense værer, simple past and past participle væra or været, present participle værende)

  1. (archaic) to sense or feel
    Jeg værer fiendtlighet mellom Ola og Per.
    I can sense hostility between Ola and Per.

See alsoEdit


Norwegian NynorskEdit

Etymology 1Edit


være n (definite singular været, indefinite plural være, definite plural væra)

  1. an existence in a location
  2. a place or location that someone or something can exist

Etymology 2Edit



  1. definite singular of vær
  2. plural of vær

Etymology 3Edit


være (present tense er, past tense var, past participle vore, passive infinitive værast, present participle værande, imperative vær)

  1. form removed with the spelling reform of 1938; superseded by vere