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A bear


Etymology 1Edit

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


bear (plural bears)

  1. A large omnivorous mammal, related to the dog and raccoon, having shaggy hair, a very small tail, and flat feet; a member of family Ursidae.
  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
  4. (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.
  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

See bear/translations § Noun.


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-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, Gothic 𐌱𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌰𐌽 (bairan), Sanskrit भरति (bhárati), Latin ferre, and Ancient Greek φέρειν (phérein), Albanian bie (to bring, to bear), Russian брать (bratʹ, to take).


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

  1. (transitive) To support or sustain; to hold up.
    This stone bears most of the weight.
  2. (transitive) To carry something.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Shakespeare:
      I'll bear your logs the while.
    • 2005, Lesley Brown, translator, Plato, Sophist. 234b:
      imitations that bear the same name as the things
    • 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 03, Bradbury, Ray, “All Summer in a Day”, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction[2], volume 6, number 3, Fantasy House, Inc., page 122:
      They surged about her, caught her up and bore her
  3. (transitive) To be equipped with (something).
    the right to bear arms
  4. (transitive) To wear or display.
    The shield bore a red cross.
  5. (transitive, with witness) To declare as testimony.
    The jury could see he was bearing false witness.
  6. (transitive, intransitive) To put up with something; to tolerate.
    I would never move to Texas—I can't bear heat.
    Please bear with me as I try to find the book you need.
  7. (transitive) 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.
  8. (transitive, intransitive) To produce or yield something, such as fruit or crops.
    • (Can we date this quote?), John Dryden
      this age to blossom, and the next to bear
  9. (intransitive) 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.
  10. (intransitive) To suffer, as in carrying a burden.
  11. (intransitive) To endure with patience; to be patient.
  12. (intransitive, usually with on, upon, or against) To press.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Addison:
      These men bear hard on the suspected party.
  13. (intransitive, military, usually with on or upon) Of a weapon, to be aimed at an enemy or other target.
    • 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.
  14. (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?
  15. (transitive) To have a certain meaning, intent, or effect.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Nathaniel Hawthorne:
      Her sentence bore that she should stand a certain time upon the platform.
  16. (transitive, obsolete) To conduct; to bring (a person).
  17. (transitive) To possess and use (power, etc.); to exercise.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Esther 1.22:
      Every man should bear rule in his own house.
  18. (transitive) To possess mentally; to carry or hold in the mind; to entertain; to harbour.
  19. (transitive, obsolete) To gain or win.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon:
      Some think to bear it by speaking a great word.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Latimer:
      She was [] found not guilty, through bearing of friends and bribing of the judge.
  20. (transitive) To sustain, or be answerable for (blame, expense, responsibility, etc.).
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Isaiah 53:11:
      He shall bear their iniquities.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Dryden:
      somewhat that will bear your charges
  21. (transitive) To carry on, or maintain; to have.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Locke:
      the credit of bearing a part in the conversation
  22. (transitive) To admit or be capable of (a meaning); to suffer or sustain without violence, injury, or change.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jonathan Swift:
      In all criminal cases the most favourable interpretation should be put on words that they can possibly bear.
  23. (reflexive, transitive) To behave or conduct (oneself).
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare:
      Thus must thou thy body bear.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare:
      Hath he borne himself penitently in prison?
  24. (transitive) To afford; to be (something) to; to supply with.
  25. (transitive) To warrant, justify the need for.
    This storm definitely bears monitoring.
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 means "to give birth to" (literally or figuratively), the passive past participle is born:
    • She was born on May 3.
    • 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 are used in the construction born(e) to someone (as a child):
    • He was born(e) to Mr. Smith.
    • She was born(e) to 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)
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.

Etymology 3Edit


bear (uncountable)

  1. Alternative spelling of bere (barley).




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-Germanic *berô.



bear c (plural bearen, diminutive bearke)

  1. bear

Further readingEdit

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