Be That As It May Meaning
Definition: Nevertheless, what you say may be true, but…
This phrase is used either to interject or to provide a statement of certainty and clarity. When someone begins a sentence with “be that as it may,” he or she means to say that even if something is true, it does not change his or her stance.
You are most likely to hear this phrase when one person is pleading with or arguing with someone else. After one person gives a point, the other may respond, “be that as it may…” and provide a counterargument.
This statement acknowledges the validity of the other person’s point, but it maintains that the point has not swayed anyone’s opinion.
Origin of Be That As It May
Like many idioms, there is no certain origin story for this phrase.
It ties to an older phrase: be as be may. That phrase was used for hundreds of years and supposedly can be found in writing around Chaucer’s era, although it is difficult to find examples from this time.
It seems that be that as it may evolved from that phrase around the mid-1800s. It is always, at a minimum, a slightly formal phrase. It would rarely be used in a casual or friendly conversation, and it would seem out of place paired with slang.
Examples of Be That As It May
Usually this phrase begins a sentence as a retort. For example, a conversation may go as follows,
Person 1: I brought all the food for dinner last week, so this week it is your turn.
Person 2: Be that as it may, I am working late every night this week and will not have time to grocery shop. Can you please do it again this week?
This conversation shows an acknowledgment of the first speaker’s point while not being able to agree with it.
- Be that as it may, the next three games won’t answer the only pertinent question about Alshon Jeffery — his availability. –Chicago Sun-Times
- Employers look askance at anyone who’s been out of work for several years. Be that as it may, Jones still hustles. –LA Times
This phrase introduces a contradictory thought.