See also: Bear, beár, béar, and bèar


A bear


Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English bere, from Old English bera, from Proto-West Germanic *berō, from Proto-Germanic *berô (compare West Frisian bear, Dutch beer, German Bär, Danish bjørn).


bear (plural bears)

  1. A large, generally omnivorous mammal (a few species are purely carnivorous or herbivorous), related to the dog and raccoon, having shaggy hair, a very small tail, and flat feet; a member of the family Ursidae.
    1. (cooking, uncountable) The meat of this animal.
      We had barbecued bear for dinner.
  2. (figuratively) A rough, unmannerly, uncouth person. [1579]
  3. (finance) An investor who sells commodities, securities, or futures in anticipation of a fall in prices. [1744]
    Antonym: bull
    • 1821, Bank of England, The Bank - The Stock Exchange - The Bankers ... (page 64)
      This accompt has been made to appear a bull accompt, i.e. that the bulls cannot take their stock. The fact is the reverse; it is a bear accompt, but the bears, unable to deliver their stock, have conjointly banged the market, and pocketed the tickets, to defeat the rise and loss that would have ensued to them by their buying on a rising price on the accompt day []
  4. (CB radio, slang, US) A state policeman (short for smokey bear). [1970s]
    • 1976 June, CB Magazine, Communications Publication Corporation, Oklahoma City, June 40/3:
      'The bear's pulling somebody off there at 74,' reported someone else.
    • 2015, Matt Cashion, Last Words of the Holy Ghost (page 85)
      He was listening for reports of Kojaks with Kodaks, or bear sightings (cop alerts) at his front door (ahead of him), especially plain wrappers (unmarked police cars) parked at specific yardsticks (mile-markers) taking pictures []
  5. (slang) A large, hairy man, especially one who is homosexual. [1990]
    • 1990, "Bears, gay men subculture materials" (publication title, Human Sexuality Collection, Collection Level Periodical Record):
    • 2004, Richard Goldstein, Why I'm Not a Bear, in The Advocate, number 913, 27 April 2004, page 72:
      I have everything it takes to be a bear: broad shoulders, full beard, semibald pate, and lots of body hair. But I don't want to be a fetish.
    • 2006, Simon LeVay, Sharon McBride Valente, Human sexuality:
      There are numerous social organizations for bears in most parts of the United States. Lesbians don't have such prominent sexual subcultures as gay men, although, as just mentioned, some lesbians are into BDSM practices.
    Antonym: twink
  6. (engineering) A portable punching machine.
  7. (nautical) A block covered with coarse matting, used to scour the deck.
  8. (cartomancy) The fifteenth Lenormand card.
  9. (colloquial, US) Something difficult or tiresome; a burden or chore.
    That window can be a bear to open.
    • 2014, Joe Buda, Pilgrims' Passage: Into a New Millennium; Rebuilding the Past:
      "This was a real bear to refinish. You can't believe how hard it was right here to get a thousand years of crud out of this carving."
Derived termsEdit
  • Hawaiian: pea
  • Irish: béar
  • Maori: pea
  • Tahitian: pea
  • Tokelauan: pea
  • Wallisian: pea


bear (third-person singular simple present bears, present participle bearing, simple past and past participle beared)

  1. (finance, transitive) To endeavour to depress the price of, or prices in.
    to bear a railroad stock
    to bear the market


bear (not comparable)

  1. (finance, investments) Characterized by declining prices in securities markets or by belief that the prices will fall.
    The great bear market starting in 1929 scared a whole generation of investors.

See alsoEdit


  • Donald A. Ringe, From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic (2006), Linguistic history of English, vol. 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press →ISBN

Further readingEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English beren (carry, bring forth), from Old English beran (to carry, bear, bring), from Proto-West Germanic *beran, from Proto-Germanic *beraną, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰéreti, from *bʰer- (to bear, carry).

Akin to Old High German beran (carry), Dutch baren, Norwegian Bokmål bære, Norwegian Nynorsk bera, German gebären, Gothic 𐌱𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌰𐌽 (bairan), Sanskrit भरति (bhárati), Latin ferre, and Ancient Greek φέρειν (phérein), Albanian bie (to bring, to bear), Russian брать (bratʹ, to take), Persian بردن(bordan, to take, to carry).


bear (third-person singular simple present bears, present participle bearing, simple past bore or (archaic) bare, past participle borne or bore or (see usage notes) born)

  1. (chiefly transitive) To carry or convey, literally or figuratively.
    They came bearing gifts.
    Judging from the look on his face, he wasn't bearing good news.
    The little boat bore us to our destination.
    This plant's light and fluffy seeds may be borne by the wind to remote islands.
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i]:
      I'll bear your logs the while.
    • 1852, Mrs M.A. Thompson, “The Tutor's Daughter”, in Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature, Art, and Fashion[1], page 266:
      In the lightness of my heart I sang catches of songs as my horse gayly bore me along the well-remembered road.
    • 1954 March, Ray Bradbury, “All Summer in a Day”, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction[2], volume 6, number 3, page 122:
      They surged about her, caught her up and bore her.
    1. (transitive, of weapons, flags or symbols of rank, office, etc.) To carry upon one's person, especially visibly; to be equipped with.
      the right to bear arms
    2. (transitive, of garments, pieces of jewellery, etc.) To wear. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
    3. (transitive, rarely intransitive, of a woman or female animal) To carry (offspring in the womb), to be pregnant (with).
      The scan showed that the ewe was bearing twins.
    4. (transitive) To have or display (a mark or other feature).
      She still bears the scars from a cycling accident.
      The stone bears a short inscription.
      This bears all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack.
    5. (transitive) To display (a particular heraldic device) on a shield or coat of arms; to be entitled to wear or use (a heraldic device) as a coat of arms. [1400]
      The shield bore a red cross.
    6. (transitive) To present or exhibit (a particular outward appearance); to have (a certain look). [1200]
      He bore the look of a defeated man.
      • 1930, Essex Chronicle 18 April 9/5:
        The body was unclothed, and bore the appearance of being washed up by the sea.
    7. (transitive) To have (a name, title, or designation). [1225]
      The school still bears the name of its founder.
      • 2005, Lesley Brown, translator, Plato, Sophist. 234b:
        […] imitations that bear the same name as the things […]
      • 2013, D. Goldberg, Universe in Rearview Mirror iii. 99:
        Heinrich Olbers described the paradox that bears his name in 1823.
    8. (transitive) To possess or enjoy (recognition, renown, a reputation, etc.); to have (a particular price, value, or worth). [1393]
      The dictator bears a terrible reputation for cruelty.
    9. (transitive, of an investment, loan, etc.) To have (interest or a specified rate of interest) stipulated in its terms. [1686]
      The bond bears a fixed interest rate of 3.5%.
    10. (transitive, of a person or animal) To have (an appendage, organ, etc.) as part of the body; (of a part of the body) to have (an appendage).
      Only the male Indian elephant bears tusks.
    11. (transitive) To carry or hold in the mind; to experience, entertain, harbour (an idea, feeling, or emotion).
      to bear a grudge, to bear ill will
    12. (transitive, rare) To feel and show (respect, reverence, loyalty, etc.) to, towards, or unto a person or thing.
      The brothers had always borne one another respect.
    13. (transitive) To possess inherently (a quality, attribute, power, or capacity); to have and display as an essential characteristic.
      to bear life
    14. (transitive, of a thing) To have (a relation, correspondence, etc.) to something else. [1556]
      The punishment bears no relation to the crime.
    15. (transitive) To give (written or oral testimony or evidence); (figurative) to provide or constitute (evidence or proof), give witness.
      His achievements bear testimony to his ability.
      The jury could see he was bearing false witness.
    16. (transitive) To have (a certain meaning, intent, or effect).
      This word no longer bears its original meaning.
    17. (reflexive, transitive) To behave or conduct (oneself).
      She bore herself well throughout the ordeal.
    18. (transitive, rare) To possess and use, to exercise (power or influence); to hold (an office, rank, or position).
    19. (intransitive, obsolete) To carry a burden or burdens. [1450]
    20. (transitive, obsolete, rare) To take or bring (a person) with oneself; to conduct. [1590]
  2. To support, sustain, or endure.
    1. (transitive) To support or sustain; to hold up.
      This stone bears most of the weight.
    2. (now transitive outside certain set patterns such as 'bear with'; formerly also intransitive) To endure or withstand (hardship, scrutiny, etc.); to tolerate; to be patient (with).
      Synonyms: brook, endure; see also Thesaurus:tolerate
      The pain is too much for me to bear.
      I would never move to Texas — I can't bear heat.
      This reasoning will not bear much analysis.
      Please bear with me as I try to find the book you need.
    3. (transitive) To sustain, or be answerable for (blame, expense, responsibility, etc.).
      The hirer must bear the cost of any repairs.
    4. (transitive) To admit or be capable of (a meaning); to suffer or sustain without violence, injury, or change.
    5. (transitive) To warrant, justify the need for.
      This storm definitely bears monitoring.
  3. To support, keep up, or maintain.
    1. (transitive) To afford, to be something to someone, to supply with something. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
    2. (transitive) To carry on, or maintain; to have. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
      • 1693, John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, § 98:
        [] and he finds the Pleasure, and Credit of bearing a Part in the Conversation, and of having his Reasons sometimes approved and hearken'd to.
  4. To press or impinge upon.
    1. (intransitive, usually with on, upon, or against) To push, thrust, press.
      The rope has frayed where it bears on the rim of the wheel.
    2. (intransitive, figuratively) To take effect; to have influence or force; to be relevant.
      to bring arguments to bear
      How does this bear on the question?
    3. (intransitive, military, usually with on or upon) Of a weapon, to be aimed at an enemy or other target.
      The cannons were wheeled around to bear upon the advancing troops.
      • 2012, Ronald D. Utt, Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron
        Constitution's gun crews crossed the deck to the already loaded larboard guns as Bainbridge wore the ship around on a larboard tack and recrossed his path in a rare double raking action to bring her guns to bear again on Java's damaged stern.
  5. To produce, yield, give birth to.
    1. (transitive, ditransitive) To give birth to (someone or something) (may take the father of the direct object as an indirect object).
      In Troy she becomes Paris’ wife, bearing him several children, all of whom die in infancy.
    2. (transitive, less commonly intransitive) To produce or yield something, such as fruit or crops.
      This year our apple trees bore a good crop of fruit.
      • 1688, John Dryden, Britannia Rediviva
        Betwixt two seasons comes th' auspicious air, / This age to blossom, and the next to bear.
  6. (intransitive, originally nautical) To be, or head, in a specific direction or azimuth (from somewhere).
    Carry on past the church and then bear left at the junction.
    By my readings, we're bearing due south, so we should turn about ten degrees east.
    Great Falls bears north of Bozeman.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To gain or win.
    • 1612, Francis Bacon, Of Seeming Wise
      Some think to bear it by speaking a great word.
    • April 5, 1549, Hugh Latimer, The Fifth Sermon Preached Before King Edward (probably not in original spelling)
      She was [] found not guilty, through bearing of friends and bribing of the judge.
Usage notesEdit
  • The past participle of bear is usually borne:
    • He could not have borne that load.
    • She had borne five children.
    • This is not to be borne!
  • However, when bear is used in the passive voice to mean "to be given birth to" literally or figuratively (e.g. be created, be the result of), the form used to form all tenses is born:
    • She was born on May 3.
    • Racism is usually born out of a real or feared loss of power to a minority or a real or feared decrease in relative prosperity compared to that of the minority.
    • Born three years earlier, he was the eldest of his siblings.
    • "The idea to create [the Blue Ridge Parkway] was born in the travail of the Great Depression [] ." (Tim Pegram, The Blue Ridge Parkway by Foot: A Park Ranger's Memoir, →ISBN, 2007, page 1)
  • Both spellings have been used in the construction born(e) into the world/family and born(e) to someone (as a child). The borne spellings are more frequent in older and religious writings.
    • He was born(e) to Mr. Smith.
    • She was born(e) into the most powerful family in the city.
    • "[M]y father was borne to a Swedish mother and a Norwegian father, both devout Lutherans." (David Ross, Good Morning Corfu: Living Abroad Against All Odds, →ISBN, 2009)
  • In some colloquial speech, beared can be found for both the simple past and the past participle, although it is usually considered nonstandard and avoided in writing. Similarly, bore may be extended to the past participle; the same provisos apply for this form.

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • bear at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • bear” in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.

Etymology 3Edit


bear (uncountable)

  1. Alternative spelling of bere (barley).
    • 1800, Tuke, Agric., 119:
      There are several plots of those species of barley called big, which is six-rowed barley; or bear, which is four-rowed, cultivated.
    • 1818, Marshall, Reports Agric., I. 191:
      Bigg or bear, with four grains on the ear, was the kind of barley.
    • 1895, Dixon, Whittingham Vale, 130:
      Two stacks of beare, of xx boules,
    • 1908, Burns Chronicle and Club Directory, page 151:
      [] one wheat stack, one half-stack of corn, and a little hay, all standing in the barnyard; four stacks of bear in the barn, about three bolls of bear lying on the barn floor, two stacks of corn in the barn, []
    • 1802-1816, Papers on Sutherland Estate Management, published in 1972, Scottish History Society, Publications:
      Your Horses are Getting Pease Straw, and looking very well. The 2 Stacks of Bear formerly mentioned as Put in by Mr Bookless is not fully dressed as yet so that I cannot say at present what Quantity they may Produce .

Etymology 4Edit

Middle English bere (pillowcase), of obscure origin, but compare Old English hlēor-bera (cheek-cover). Possibly cognate to Low German büre, whence German Bühre, which in turn has been compared to French bure.


bear (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) A pillowcase; a fabric case or covering as for a pillow.
    • 1742, William Ellis, The London and Country Brewer [...] Fourth Edition, page 36:
      And, according to this, one of my Neighbours made a Bag, like a Pillow-bear, of the ordinary six-penny yard Cloth, and boiled his Hops in it half an Hour; then he took them out, and put in another Bag of the like Quantity of fresh Hops, []
    • 1850, Samuel Tymms, Wills and Inventories from the Registers of the Commissary of Bury St. Edmunds and the Archdeacon of Sudbury, page 116:
      ij payer of schete, ij pelows wt the berys,
    • 1858, Journal of the Statistical Society of London, page 409:
      1641.—14 yards of femble cloth, 12s. ; 8 yards of linen, 6s. 8d. ; 20 yards of harden, 10s. ; 5 linen sheets, 1l. ; 7 linen pillow bears, 8s. ; 2 femble sheets and a line hard sheet, 10s. ; 3 linen towels, 4s. ; 6 lin curtains and a vallance, 12s. ; []
    • 1905, Emily Wilder Leavitt, Palmer Groups: John Melvin of Charlestown and Concord, Mass. and His Descendants ; Gathered and Arranged for Mr. Lowell Mason Palmer of New York, page 24:
      I give to my Grand Child Lidea Carpenter the Coverlid that her mother spun and my pillow bear and a pint Cup & my great Pott that belongs to the Pott and Trammels.
    • 1941, Minnie Hite Moody, Long Meadows, page 71:
      [] a man's eyes played him false, sitting him before tables proper with damask and pewter, leading him to fall into beds gracious with small and large feather beds for softness and pillowed luxuriously under pretty checked linen pillow bears.




bear m pl

  1. alternative genitive plural of bior (pointed rod or shaft; spit, spike; point)


Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
bear bhear mbear
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Further readingEdit

West FrisianEdit


From Old Frisian bera, from Proto-West Germanic *berō, from Proto-Germanic *berô.



bear c (plural bearen, diminutive bearke)

  1. bear
    Hoewol't de earste bearen net tige grut wiene, hawwe se harren meitiid wol ta grutte lichemsomfang ûntwikkele.Although the first bears were not very large, they have since developed the be much larger.

Further readingEdit

  • bear (II)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011