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dear1

[deer]
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adjective, dear·er, dear·est.
  1. beloved or loved: a dear friend.
  2. (used in the salutation of a letter as an expression of affection or respect or as a conventional greeting): Dear Sir.
  3. precious in one's regard; cherished: our dearest possessions.
  4. heartfelt; earnest: one's dearest wish.
  5. high-priced; expensive: The silk dress was too dear.
  6. charging high prices: That shop is too dear for my budget.
  7. excessive; high: a dear price to pay for one's independence.
  8. Obsolete. difficult to get; scarce.
  9. Obsolete. worthy; honorable.
noun
  1. a person who is good, kind, or generous: You're a dear to help me with the work.
  2. a beloved one.
  3. (sometimes initial capital letter) an affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or romantic partner (sometimes offensive when used to a stranger, subordinate, etc.)
adverb
  1. dearly; fondly.
  2. at a high price: That painting cost me dear.
interjection
  1. (used as an exclamation of surprise, distress, etc.): Oh dear, what a disappointment! Dear me! What's all that noise?

Origin of dear1

before 900; Middle English dere, Old English dēore; cognate with Old High German tiuri, Old Norse dȳrr
Related formsdear·ly, adverbdear·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1. darling, cherished. 5. See expensive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dearly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • That I love you most dearly, and hate the French most damnably.

  • But it was almost enough—almost, not quite, dearly as she prized it.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • He loved her dearly; but at that age her qualities were half developed.

  • In fact, young Gruffyd was proud of his mother and he loved her dearly.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • I love them dearly; no people could ever be kinder to a thankless creature than they always are to me.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for dearly

dearly

adverb
  1. very muchI would dearly like you to go
  2. affectionately
  3. at a great cost

dear

adjective
  1. beloved; precious
  2. used in conventional forms of address preceding a title or name, as in Dear Sir or my dear Mr Smith
  3. (postpositive foll by to) important; closea wish dear to her heart
    1. highly priced
    2. charging high prices
  4. appealing or prettywhat a dear little ring!
  5. for dear life urgently or with extreme vigour or desperation
interjection
  1. used in exclamations of surprise or dismay, such as Oh dear! and dear me!
noun
  1. (often used in direct address) someone regarded with affection and tenderness; darling
adverb
  1. dearlyhis errors have cost him dear
Derived Formsdearness, noun

Word Origin

Old English dēore; related to Old Norse dӯrr
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for dearly

adv.

Old English deorlice (see dear).

dear

adj.

Old English deore "precious, valuable, costly, loved, beloved," from Proto-Germanic *deurjaz (cf. Old Saxon diuri, Old Norse dyrr, Old Frisian diore, Middle Dutch dure, Dutch duur, Old High German tiuri, German teuer), ultimate origin unknown. Used interjectorily since 1690s. As a polite introductory word to letters, it is attested from mid-15c. As a noun, from late 14c., perhaps short for dear one, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with dearly

dearly

In addition to the idiom beginning with dear

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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