Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English bi cause, from bi (by) + cause, modelled on Old French par cause.


  • (stressed)
    • (UK) IPA(key): /bɪˈkɒz/
    • (UK, dated) IPA(key): /bɪˈkɔːz/
    • (US) IPA(key): /biˈkɔz/, /biˈkʌz/, /bəˈkʌz/
  • (unstressed)
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒz
  • Hyphenation: be‧cause
  • Rhymes: -ɑːz


because (not comparable)

  1. (archaic) For the reason (that).
    • 1611, Authorized King James Version of Genesis 2:3:
      And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
  2. On account (of), for sake (of).
    My life is ruined because of you!
  3. (by ellipsis) Used alone to refuse to provide a full answer a question begun with "why", usually taken as an anapodoton of the elided full phrase "Because I said so".

Derived terms[edit]




  1. By or for the cause that; on this account that; for the reason that.
    I hid myself because I was afraid.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
    • 2013 May-June, Katrina G. Claw, “Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3:
      In plants, the ability to recognize self from nonself plays an important role in fertilization, because self-fertilization will result in less diverse offspring than fertilization with pollen from another individual.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 17, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “Perhaps it is because I have been excommunicated. It's absurd, but I feel like the Jackdaw of Rheims.”  ¶ She winced and bowed her head. Each time that he spoke flippantly of the Church he caused her pain.
  2. As is known, inferred, or determined from the fact that.
    It must be broken, because I pressed the button and nothing happened.
    I don't think he is a nice person, because he yells at people for no reason.
  3. (obsolete) So that, in order that. [15th-17th c.]
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970, partition II, section 3, member 2:
      Simon [] set the house on fire where he was born, because nobody should point at it.





  1. (uncommon, slang, nonstandard, especially Internet) On account of, because of. [since at least the 20th century]

Derived terms[edit]


  • Glossa, volume 17 (1997), page 175: cf. Emonds 1976:175 on the analysis of Modern English because as a preposition introducing a clause