[ bair ]
/ bɛər /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: bare / bared / barest / bares on Thesaurus.com

adjective, bar·er, bar·est.
verb (used with object), bared, bar·ing.
to open to view; reveal or divulge: to bare one's arms; to bare damaging new facts.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of bare

before 900; Middle English; Old English bær; cognate with Old Frisian ber,Dutch baar,Old Saxon, Old High German, German bar,Old Norse berr,Lithuanian bãsas barefoot, Russian bos; akin to Armenian bok naked

synonym study for bare

2. Bare, stark, barren share the sense of lack or absence of something that might be expected. Bare, the least powerful in connotation of the three, means lack of expected or usual coverings, furnishings, or embellishments: bare floor, feet, head. Stark implies extreme severity or desolation and resultant bleakness or dreariness: a stark landscape; a stark, emotionless countenance. Barren carries a strong sense of sterility and oppressive dullness: barren fields; a barren relationship. 6. See mere1.


barish, adjectivebareness, noun

Other definitions for bare (2 of 2)

[ bair ]
/ bɛər /

verb Archaic.
simple past tense of bear1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What’s the difference between bare and bear?

Bare can be an adjective that means uncovered (as in bare feet) or empty or without the usual contents (as in bare cabinets or bare walls), or a verb meaning to reveal or open to view (as in bare your secrets). As a verb, bear commonly means to endure something negative (as in I can’t bear to watch) or to carry, hold up, or support (as in The roof can’t bear that much weight), while as a noun it refers to the big furry animal (like grizzly bears and polar bears).

As a verb, bear is often used in the context of holding or carrying things, including in literal, physical ways (as in bear a load or bear weight) and in figurative ones (as in bear a grudge).

Bare is most commonly used as an adjective, usually involving something uncovered or empty.

To remember the difference in spelling, remember that bears have ears, and they are able to bear a lot of weight because of how big and strong they are, but they are never bare because they are covered in fur.

Here’s an example of bare and bear used correctly in a sentence.

Example: Why does the bear never wear shoes? Because he prefers bare feet.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between bare and bear.

Quiz yourself on bare vs. bear!

Should bare or bear be used in the following sentence?

He chose to _____ his soul to her by showing her his poetry.


What else does bare mean?

Bare is UK slang for very or lots of.

Where does bare come from?

The slang bare originates in Multicultural London English in the 1990s and was widely reported on as UK slang in the 2010s in the mainstream presence.

A contributor to its spread is the popular, London-based genre of rap music called Grime, which features aggressive, hard-hitting beats and lyrics. In their 2016 song “Too Many Man,” for instance, Grime group Boy Better Know sang about the club: “We need some more girls in here…Bare man not enough girls in here.” That track featured the “Godfather of Grime” himself, Wiley, who wrote “bare hype, bare bullshit, bare drama” on his 2015 mixtape Tunnel Vision Volume 1.

In 2013, a school in south London attempted to ban students from using words like bare on campus, believing it hurt their employment chances later in life.

How is bare used in real life?

Bare is used as an intensifier. If you earn bare money, you earn “a lot” of money.

If you are bare hungry, as another example, then you are “extremely” hungry.

If you were in the presence of bare women, as many who use the word often claim to be, that would be “many girls.”

Thanks to the popularity of Grime music and the diversity of London, bare has spread beyond UK slang into mainstream youth slang. It’s still closely associated with London slang, however.

More examples of bare:

“School slang ban is bare extra, innit?“
—Felix Allen, The Sun (headline), October, 2013


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use bare in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bare (1 of 2)

/ (bɛə) /

(tr) to make bare; uncover; reveal

Derived forms of bare

bareness, noun

Word Origin for bare

Old English bær; compare Old Norse berr, Old High German bar naked, Old Slavonic bosǔ barefoot

British Dictionary definitions for bare (2 of 2)

/ (bɛə) /

archaic a past tense of bear 1
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