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verb (used with object)
  1. to burn or char the surface of: She seared the steak to seal in the juices.
  2. to mark with a branding iron.
  3. to burn or scorch injuriously or painfully: He seared his hand on a hot steam pipe.
  4. to make callous or unfeeling; harden: The hardship of her youth has seared her emotionally.
  5. to dry up or wither; parch.
verb (used without object)
  1. to become dry or withered, as vegetation.
  1. a mark or scar made by searing.
  1. sere1.

Origin of sear1

before 900; (adj.) Middle English sere, Old English sēar; cognate with Dutch zoor; (v.) Middle English seren, Old English sēarian, derivative of sēar
Related formsun·seared, adjective

Synonym study

1. See burn1.


or sear

  1. dry; withered.

Origin of sere1

before 900; Middle English seer(e), Old English sēar; see sear1


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
arid, parched, desiccated, wizened.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for searer

Historical Examples

  • They had been making their way through the Park; the searer, yellower Park of late November.

    Turn About Eleanor

    Ethel M. Kelley

British Dictionary definitions for searer



  1. archaic dried up or withered
verb, noun
  1. a rare spelling of sear 1 (def. 1)

Word Origin

Old English sēar; see sear 1


  1. the series of changes occurring in the ecological succession of a particular community

Word Origin

C20: from series


verb (tr)
  1. to scorch or burn the surface of
  2. to brand with a hot iron
  3. to cause to wither or dry up
  4. rare to make callous or unfeeling
  1. a mark caused by searing
  1. poetic dried up

Word Origin

Old English sēarian to become withered, from sēar withered; related to Old High German sōrēn, Greek hauos dry, Sanskrit sōsa drought


  1. the catch in the lock of a small firearm that holds the hammer or firing pin cocked

Word Origin

C16: probably from Old French serre a clasp, from serrer to hold firmly, from Late Latin sērāre to bolt, from Latin sera a bar
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 searer



Old English searian (intransitive) "dry up, to wither," from Proto-Germanic *saurajan (cf. Middle Dutch soor "dry," Old High German soren "become dry"), from root of sear "dried up, withered" (see sere). Meaning "cause to wither" is from early 15c. Meaning "to brand, to burn by hot iron" is recorded from c.1400, originally especially of cauterizing wounds; figurative use is from 1580s. Related: Seared; searing.



Old English sear "dried up, withered, barren," from Proto-Germanic *sauzas (cf. Middle Low German sor, Dutch zoor), from PIE root *saus- "dry" (cf. Sanskrit susyati "dries, withers;" Old Persian uška- "dry" (adj.), "land" (n.); Avestan huška- "dry;" Latin sudus "dry"). A good word now relegated to bad poetry. Related to sear. Sere month was an old name for "August."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

searer in Science


  1. The entire sequence of ecological communities successively occupying an area from the initial stage to the climax community. See more at succession.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.