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From Old East Slavic бꙑти (byti), from Proto-Slavic *byti.


  • IPA(key): [bɨtʲ]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɨtʲ


быть (bytʹimpf

  1. to be
    Так бы́ло, так есть и так бу́дет всегда́!
    Tak býlo, tak jestʹ i tak búdet vsegdá!
    So it was, so it is, and so it will always be! [from the Hymn of the Russian Federation]
    быть под башмако́мbytʹ pod bašmakómto be henpecked

Usage notes[edit]

  • Omitted in the present tense except in the third-person singular "есть", which is used occasionally to express possession or definition or for emphasis. "есть" is originally 3rd person singular but is now used for all persons, e.g. "я и есть тот челове́к" - "I am that person". See also .
  • Negative forms with не (ne) feature stress on the particle in standard Russian for masculine, neuter and plural forms past tense: "не́ был", "не́ было", "не́ были".


Notes on present tense forms:

  • есть (jestʹ) is the only Russian present tense form. In works of literature, it can be used as a copula, as in Church Slavonic, for emphasis.
  • Extremely rarely, Church Slavonic forms есмь (jesmʹ), е́сь (jésʹ), еси́ (jesí), есмы́ (jesmý), е́сте (jéste) appear in some styles of literature. They are not understood by most speakers and normally are not considered part of the language.
  • суть (sutʹ) is the Church Slavonic 3rd person plural. In modern Russian it has been conflated with the noun суть (sutʹ, essence), and may occur in formal styles with a vague unetymological meaning ‘is in essence’ indiscriminately of person and number.

Derived terms[edit]



See also[edit]

  • conditional/subjunctive particle:
    бы (by), б (b)