Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

shear

[sheer]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), sheared, sheared or shorn, shear·ing.
  1. to cut (something).
  2. to remove by or as if by cutting or clipping with a sharp instrument: to shear wool from sheep.
  3. to cut or clip the hair, fleece, wool, etc., from: to shear sheep.
  4. to strip or deprive (usually followed by of): to shear someone of power.
  5. Chiefly Scot. to reap with a sickle.
  6. to travel through by or as if by cutting: Chimney swifts sheared the air.
verb (used without object), sheared, sheared or shorn, shear·ing.
  1. to cut or cut through something with a sharp instrument.
  2. to progress by or as if by cutting: The cruiser sheared through the water.
  3. Mechanics, Geology. to become fractured along a plane as a result of forces acting parallel to the plane.
  4. Chiefly Scot. to reap crops with a sickle.
noun
  1. Usually shears. (sometimes used with a singular verb)
    1. scissors of large size (usually used with pair of).
    2. any of various other cutting implements or machines having two blades that resemble or suggest those of scissors.
  2. the act or process of shearing or being sheared.
  3. a shearing of sheep (used in stating the age of sheep): a sheep of one shear.
  4. the quantity, especially of wool or fleece, cut off at one shearing.
  5. one blade of a pair of large scissors.
  6. Usually shears. (usually used with a plural verb) Also sheers. Also called shear legs, sheerlegs. a framework for hoisting heavy weights, consisting of two or more spars with their legs separated, fastened together near the top and steadied by guys, which support a tackle.
  7. a machine for cutting rigid material, as metal in sheet or plate form, by moving the edge of a blade through it.
  8. Mechanics, Geology. the tendency of forces to deform or fracture a member or a rock in a direction parallel to the force, as by sliding one section against another.
  9. Physics. the lateral deformation produced in a body by an external force, expressed as the ratio of the lateral displacement between two points lying in parallel planes to the vertical distance between the planes.

Origin of shear

before 900; (v.) Middle English sheren, Old English sceran, cognate with Dutch, German scheren, Old Norse skera; (noun) (in sense “tool for shearing”) Middle English sheres (plural), continuing Old English scērero, scēar, two words derived from the same root as the v.
Related formsshear·er, nounshear·less, adjective
Can be confusedshear sheer
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shears

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She could feel the shears against her hair, and she was so scared she swore like he told her.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Hubertine had taken up the shears to remodel one of the pieces of vellum.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • She knew that Coupeau was jealous enough to attack Lantier with his shears.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola

  • Put the finger, protected by the cardboard, between the two points of the shears.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Shears for cutting tin and metal have long handles and short blades.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne


British Dictionary definitions for shears

shears

pl n
    1. large scissors, as for cutting cloth, jointing poultry, etc
    2. a large scissor-like and usually hand-held cutting tool with flat blades, as for cutting hedges
  1. any of various analogous cutting or clipping implements or machines
  2. short for sheerlegs
  3. off the shears Australian informal (of a sheep) newly shorn

shear

verb shears, shearing or sheared or Australian and NZ shore, sheared or shorn
  1. (tr) to remove (the fleece or hair) of (sheep, etc) by cutting or clipping
  2. to cut or cut through (something) with shears or a sharp instrument
  3. engineering to cause (a part, member, shaft, etc) to deform or fracture or (of a part, etc) to deform or fracture as a result of excess torsion or transverse load
  4. (tr often foll by of) to strip or divestto shear someone of his power
  5. (when intr, foll by through) to move through (something) by or as if by cutting
  6. Scot to reap (corn, etc) with a scythe or sickle
noun
  1. the act, process, or an instance of shearing
  2. a shearing of a sheep or flock of sheep, esp when referred to as an indication of agea sheep of two shears
  3. a form of deformation or fracture in which parallel planes in a body or assembly slide over one another
  4. physics the deformation of a body, part, etc, expressed as the lateral displacement between two points in parallel planes divided by the distance between the planes
  5. either one of the blades of a pair of shears, scissors, etc
  6. a machine that cuts sheet material by passing a knife blade through it
  7. a device for lifting heavy loads consisting of a tackle supported by a framework held steady by guy ropes
See also shears, shore 3
Derived Formsshearer, noun

Word Origin

Old English sceran; related to Old Norse skera to cut, Old Saxon, Old High German skeran to shear; see share ²
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 shears

n.

"large scissors," Old English scearra (plural) "shears, scissors," from Proto-Germanic *sker- "to cut" (cf. Middle Dutch schaer, Old High German scara, German Schere; see shear (v.)). In 17c., also "a device for raising the masts of ships" (1620s). As "scissors," OED labels it Scottish and dialectal. Chalk is no shears (1640s) was noted as a Scottish proverb expressing the gap between planning and doing.

shear

v.

Old English sceran, scieran (class IV strong verb; past tense scear, past participle scoren) "to cleave, hew, cut with a sharp instrument; cut (hair); shear (sheep)," from Proto-Germanic *sker- "to cut" (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian skera, Dutch scheren, German scheren "to shear"), from PIE *(s)ker- (1) "to cut, to scrape, to hack" (cf. Sanskrit krnati "hurts, wounds, kills," krntati "cuts;" Hittite karsh- "to cut off;" Greek keirein "to cut, shear;" Latin curtus "short;" Lithuanian skiriu "to separate;" Old Irish scaraim "I separate;" Welsh ysgar "to separate," ysgyr "fragment").

shear

n.

"act of clipping," 1610s, also as a unit of measure of the age of a sheep, from shear (v.). Scientific and mechanical sense "type of strain" is from 1850.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shears in Science

shear

[shîr]
  1. A force, movement or pressure applied to an object perpendicular to a given axis, with greater value on one side of the axis than the other. See more at shear force stress strain.
  2. See skew.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • About
  • Cookies, Terms, & Privacy
© 2018 Dictionary.com, LLC.