Last modified on 22 March 2015, at 21:53




Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English dere, from Old English dēore, from Proto-Germanic *diurijaz. Cognate with Dutch duur (costly, precious), German teuer (costly, precious), Icelandic dýr (expensive), Norwegian dyr, Swedish dyr (expensive).


dear (comparative dearer, superlative dearest)

  1. Loved; lovable.
    • 1908, W. B. M. Ferguson, Zollenstein, chapterIV:
      So this was my future home, I thought! [] Backed by towering hills, the but faintly discernible purple line of the French boundary off to the southwest, a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
  2. Loving, affectionate, heartfelt
    Such dear embrace tenderly comforts even in this dear sorrow.
  3. Precious to or greatly valued by someone.
    The dearer the giver, the dearer the trinket he brings!
  4. High in price; expensive.
    The dearer the jewel, the greater the love expressed.
  5. A formal way to start (possibly after my) addressing somebody at the beginning of a letter, memo etc.
    Dear Sir/Madam/Miss, please notice our offices will be closed during the following bank holidays: [].
  6. A formal way to start (often after my) addressing somebody one likes or regards kindly.
    My dear friend, I feel better as soon as you come sit beside my sickbed!
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. []
  7. An ironic way to start (often after my) addressing an inferior.
    My dear boy, if your grades don't pick up I won't bounce you on but over my knee!
  8. (obsolete) Noble.
Derived termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


dear (plural dears)

  1. A very kind, loving person.
    My cousin is such a dear, always drawing me pictures.
  2. A beloved person
Derived termsEdit


dear (third-person singular simple present dears, present participle dearing, simple past and past participle deared)

  1. (obsolete) To endear.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shelton to this entry?)


dear (comparative more dear, superlative most dear)

  1. (obsolete) dearly; at a high price
    • Shakespeare
      If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear.

Etymology 2Edit

Middle English dere, from Old English dēor. Cognate with the above


dear (comparative more dear, superlative most dear)

  1. Severe(ly affected), sore






dear (present analytic dearann, future analytic dearfaidh, verbal noun dearadh, past participle deartha)

  1. To draw (design).



Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
dear dhear ndear
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.