Isn't the infinitive be in be bereaved redundant? Etymonline looks complex and refers to bereft.

'Origin' on ODO suggests to 'see be-, reave', but doesn't the prefix 'be-' already suffice?

reave = [no object] archaic 1. Carry out raids in order to plunder
[with object] 1.2. Steal (something).

  • The (copulative) verb be has a completely different function than the prefix -be, so why would it be redundant? I am bereaved has a completely different meaning than I am reaved or I bereaved. In the first case something was stolen from me, in the second case I am the stolen object and in the last case, I was the one doing the stealing! – oerkelens Sep 15 '14 at 7:19
  • @oerkelens Would you like to recast your comment as an answer, for which I’ll happily upvote? Also, would you please enlarge on your explanation? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Oct 25 '14 at 14:01

The prefix be- has a variety of functions; here, its addition has the function of generating an effect via the action of the verb reave. The presence of the separate stative verb be converts the past participle bereaved into what you might think of as an adjectival form of bereave.

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