- to carry or have on the body or about the person as a covering, equipment, ornament, or the like: to wear a coat; to wear a saber; to wear a disguise.
- to have or use on the person habitually: to wear a wig.
- to bear or have in one's aspect or appearance: to wear a smile; to wear an air of triumph.
- to cause (garments, linens, etc.) to deteriorate or change by wear: Hard use has worn these gloves.
- to impair, deteriorate, or consume gradually by use or any continued process: Long illness had worn the bloom from her cheeks.
- to waste or diminish gradually by rubbing, scraping, washing, etc.: The waves have worn these rocks.
- to make (a hole, channel, way, etc.) by such action.
- to bring about or cause a specified condition in (a person or thing) by use, deterioration, or gradual change: to wear clothes to rags; to wear a person to a shadow.
- to weary; fatigue; exhaust: Toil and care soon wear the spirit.
- to pass (time) gradually or tediously (usually followed by away or out): We wore the afternoon away in arguing.
- Nautical. to bring (a vessel) on another tack by turning until the wind is on the stern.
- British Dialect. to gather and herd (sheep or cattle) to a pen or pasture.
- to undergo gradual impairment, diminution, reduction, etc., from wear, use, attrition, or other causes (often followed by away, down, out, or off).
- to retain shape, color, usefulness, value, etc., under wear, use, or any continued strain: a strong material that will wear; colors that wear well.
- (of time) to pass, especially slowly or tediously (often followed by on or away): As the day wore on, we had less and less to talk about.
- to have the quality of being easy or difficult to tolerate, especially after a relatively long association: It's hard to get to know him, but he wears well.
- Nautical. (of a vessel) to come round on another tack by turning away from the wind.
- Obsolete. to be commonly worn; to be in fashion.
- the act of wearing; use, as of a garment: articles for winter wear; I've had a lot of wear out of this coat; I had to throw away the shirt after only three wears.
- the state of being worn, as on the person.
- clothing or other articles for wearing; especially when fashionable or appropriate for a particular function (often used in combination): travel wear; sportswear.
- gradual impairment, wasting, diminution, etc., as from use: The carpet shows wear.
- the quality of resisting deterioration with use; durability.
- wear down,
- to reduce or impair by long wearing: to wear down the heels of one's shoes.
- to weary; tire: His constant talking wears me down.
- to prevail by persistence; overcome: to wear down the opposition.
- wear off, to diminish slowly or gradually or to diminish in effect; disappear: The drug began to wear off.
- wear out,
- to make or become unfit or useless through hard or extended use: to wear out clothes.
- to expend, consume, or remove, especially slowly or gradually.
- to exhaust, as by continued strain; weary: This endless bickering is wearing me out.
- wear thin,
- to diminish; weaken: My patience is wearing thin.
- to become less appealing, interesting, tolerable, etc.: childish antics that soon wore thin.
Origin of wear
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for wear
Growing up as a teen in the 1960s, she had yearned to wear the same clothes her girlfriends wore.Inside A Finishing School for Transwomen
December 27, 2014
You had a great line in your piece on Geoffrey Beene about the “genre” of evening wear.Daphne Merkin on Lena Dunham, Book Criticism, and Self-Examination
December 26, 2014
This is a country where women are allowed to wear one of 14 hairstyles.North Korea’s Secret Movie Bootleggers: How Western Films Make It Into the Hermit Kingdom
December 22, 2014
Some of the staff who work at this hotel are North Korean and wear traditional North Korean dresses.Inside the ‘Surprisingly Great’ North Korean Hacker Hotel
December 20, 2014
Yes, your German Shepherd Buster can wear his own health tracker.Nothing Says I Love You Like Data
The Daily Beast
December 8, 2014
Was it probable that she had anything suitable to wear to a lecture?Ester Ried Yet Speaking
The grace of your figure makes everything you wear becoming.The Dramatic Values in Plautus
Wilton Wallace Blancke
Dare you to wear your brother's coat without the crescent which should stamp you as his cadet.
Why, you jack-fool, what would it be about save who should wear the crown of France?
No wonder Lady Macbeth declares she would be ashamed "to wear a heart so white."The Man Shakespeare
- (tr) to carry or have (a garment, etc) on one's person as clothing, ornament, etc
- (tr) to carry or have on one's person habituallyshe wears a lot of red
- (tr) to have in one's aspectto wear a smile
- (tr) to display, show, or flya ship wears its colours
- to deteriorate or cause to deteriorate by constant use or action
- to produce or be produced by constant rubbing, scraping, etcto wear a hole in one's trousers
- to bring or be brought to a specified condition by constant use or actionto wear a tyre to shreds
- (intr) to submit to constant use or action in a specified wayhis suit wears well
- (tr) to harass or weaken
- (when intr, often foll by on) (of time) to pass or be passed slowly
- (tr) British slang to acceptLarry won't wear that argument
- wear ship to change the tack of a sailing vessel, esp a square-rigger, by coming about so that the wind passes astern
- the act of wearing or state of being worn
- anything designed to be wornleisure wear
- (in combination)nightwear
- deterioration from constant or normal use or action
- the quality of resisting the effects of constant use
- nautical to tack by gybing instead of by going through stays
- a river in NE England, rising in NW Durham and flowing southeast then northeast to the North Sea at Sunderland. Length: 105 km (65 miles)
Word Origin and History for wear
Old English werian "to clothe, put on," from Proto-Germanic *wazjanan (cf. Old Norse verja, Old High German werian, Gothic gawasjan "to clothe"), from PIE *wes- "to clothe" (cf. Sanskrit vaste "he puts on," vasanam "garment;" Avestan vah-; Greek esthes "clothing," hennymi "to clothe," eima "garment;" Latin vestire "to clothe;" Welsh gwisgo, Breton gwiska; Old English wæstling "sheet, blanket;" Hittite washshush "garments," washanzi "they dress").
The Germanic forms "were homonyms of the vb. for 'prevent, ward off, protect' (Goth. warjan, O.E. werian, etc.), and this was prob. a factor in their early displacement in most of the Gmc. languages" [Buck]. Shifted from a weak verb (past tense and past participle wered) to a strong one (past tense wore, past participle worn) in 14c. on analogy of rhyming strong verbs such as bear and tear.
Secondary sense of "use up, gradually damage" (late 13c.) is from effect of continued use on clothes. To be the worse for wear is attested from 1782; noun phrase wear and tear is first recorded 1660s.
"action of wearing" (clothes), mid-15c., from wear (v.). Meaning "what one wears" is 1570s. To be the worse for wear is attested from 1782; noun phrase wear and tear is first recorded 1660s, implying the sense "process of being degraded by use."