The idiom "be that as it may" generally indicates partial agreement with another person's statement or idea while keeping a definite and unchanged opinion about the given subject at hand. This saying is frequently used as an opening phrase to a counter-argument in situations where both parties' ideas or arguments have some degree of validity; the objective is generally to determine which idea is more valid or germane than the other. The person stating "be that as it may" is generally indicating that he or she does not agree with the entirety of the opposite argument, regardless of the other person's attempts at persuasion or debate.
The use of this type of English saying is generally more commonplace among leaders or managers who have the final decision-making powers regarding a given set of circumstances or a possible course of action. This idiomatic expression can be spoken as a verbal attempt to acknowledge another person's point of view while still indicating that his or her argument or suggestion will not be accepted as a whole. "Be that as it may" can often be interpreted as very close in meaning to the word "nevertheless" in these kinds of exchanges. The phrase is usually considered a more informal expression of such synonymous words.
This idiomatic expression has its roots in older versions of the English language; some linguistic scholars believe that the saying is a modern derivation of the phrase "be as be may," which first appeared in the written work of Geoffrey Chaucer. Since the saying begins with a form of the verb "to be" that differs from its more common uses as a linking or auxiliary verb, the exact meaning can sometimes appear unclear to first-time learners of idiomatic English sayings. When mentioned in instructive grammar texts, "be that as it may" is often designated as an informal spoken instance of the "to be" verb.
"Be that as it may" can have various positive or negative connotations depending on the circumstances and the debated issue. The idiom is frequently spoken as a means of determining agreed-upon truth relative to a situation, and as such it can be meant to counter another statement without completely discrediting the person with the opposing point of view. The saying can generally imply that the other person's statement may not be relevant at the time, although that fact does not take away from his or her general level of credibility.