Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

become - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb become pronunciation in American English /bɪˈkʌm/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlebecoming
past tensebecame
past participlebecome
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Become can be used in the following ways:
as a linking verb (followed by an adjective or noun complement): The problem became worse.He became president in 2001.
as a transitive verb: Blue is a color that becomes you.
  1. 1
    to start to be something [linking verb]
    1. a.
      to change and start to be something different, or to start to have a different quality
      The sky became dark.
      People were becoming increasingly angry about the delay.
      Christine decided to become a writer.
      São Paulo has become the largest city in South America.
    2. b.
      to begin to have a particular job or position of authority, or to begin to be a member of a group
      In 1603 James became King of England.
      It was Mr. Berry who encouraged Christine to become a writer.
      The following year Easton became an American citizen.
    3. c.
      to begin to be used for a different purpose
      What sort of building was it before it became a museum?
      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [transitive] formal if something becomes you, it is suitable for you or it makes you more attractive
    That red dress really becomes her – it goes with her hair.

phrasal verbs


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog