be·long (bĭ-lông, -lŏng)
intr.v. be·longed, be·long·ing, be·longs
a. To be proper, appropriate, or suitable: A napkin belongs at every place setting.
b. To be in an appropriate situation or environment: That plant belongs outdoors.
a. To be a member of a group, such as a club.
b. To fit into a group naturally: No matter what I did, I just didn't belong.
3. To be owned by someone. Often used with to: "The earth belongs to the living" (Thomas Jefferson).
4. To be a part of something else: These blades belong to the food processor.
[Middle English bilongen : probably bi-, be- + longen, to belong (probably from long, dependent, from Old English gelang, along, depending; see del-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.