Middle English bicomen, from Old English becuman "happen, come about, befall," also "meet with, fall in with; arrive, approach, enter," from Proto-Germanic *bikweman (source also of Dutch bekomen, Old High German biqueman "obtain," German bekommen, Gothic biquiman). A compound of the sources of be- and come (v.).
It drove out Old English weorðan "to befall." The older sense is preserved in what has become of it? The meaning "change from one state of existence to another" is from 12c. The meaning "to look well, suit or be suitable to" is by early 14c., from the earlier sense of "to agree with, be fitting or proper" (early 13c.).
updated on October 06, 2022