[ bair ]
/ bɛər /
Save This Word!

verb (used with object), bore or (Archaic) bare; borne or born; bear·ing.
verb (used without object), bore or (Archaic) bare; borne or born; bear·ing.
Verb Phrases
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Idioms about bear

Origin of bear

First recorded before 900; Middle English beren, Old English beran; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German beran, Dutch baren, Old Frisian, Old Norse bera, Gothic bairan, German (ge)bären, Russian berët “(he) takes,” Albanian bie, Tocharian pär-, Phrygian ab-beret “(he) brings,” Latin ferre, Old Irish berid “(he) carries,” Armenian berem, Greek phérein, Sanskrit bhárati, Avestan baraiti; from Indo-European bher- (see -fer, -phore)

synonym study for bear

10. Bear, stand, endure refer to supporting the burden of something distressing, irksome, or painful. Bear and stand are close synonyms and have a general sense of withstanding: to bear a disappointment well; to stand a loss. Endure implies continued resistance and patience in bearing through a long time: to endure torture.

words often confused with bear

Since the latter part of the 18th century, a distinction has been made between born and borne as past participles of the verb bear1 . Borne is the past participle in all senses that do not refer to physical birth: The wheatfields have borne abundantly this year. Judges have always borne a burden of responsibility. Borne is also the participle when the sense is “to bring forth (young)” and the focus is on the mother rather than on the child. In such cases, borne is preceded by a form of have or followed by by: Anna had borne a son the previous year. Two children borne by her earlier were already grown. When the focus is on the offspring or on something brought forth as if by birth, born is the standard spelling, and it occurs only in passive constructions: My friend was born in Ohio. No children have been born at the South Pole. A strange desire was born of the tragic experience. Born is also an adjective meaning “by birth,” “innate,” or “native”: born free; a born troublemaker; Mexican-born.

Other definitions for bear (2 of 3)

[ bair ]
/ bɛər /

noun, plural bears, (especially collectively) bear.
having to do with or marked by declining prices, as of stocks: bear market.
verb (used with object), beared, bear·ing.
Stock Exchange. to force prices down in (a market, stock, etc.).

Origin of bear

First recorded before 1000; Middle English bere, beare, beor(e), Old English bera; cognate with Frisian bār, Dutch beer, Old High German bero, German Bär; from Proto-Germanic beran- literally, “the brown one”; akin to Old Norse bjǫrn, bersi; compare Lithuanian bė́ras “brown”; cf. bruin


bearlike, adjective

Other definitions for bear (3 of 3)

[ bair ]
/ bɛər /

Mount Bear, a mountain in southern Alaska, in the Saint Elias Mountains. 14,831 feet (4,520 meters).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What’s the difference between bear and bare?

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). 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).

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

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).

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 bear and bare 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 bear and bare.

Quiz yourself on bear vs. bare!

Should bear or bare be used in the following sentence?

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

How to use bear in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bear (1 of 3)

/ (bɛə) /

verb bears, bearing, bore or borne (mainly tr)

Word Origin for bear

Old English beran; related to Old Norse bera, Old High German beran to carry, Latin ferre, Greek pherein to bear, Sanskrit bharati he carries

British Dictionary definitions for bear (2 of 3)

/ (bɛə) /

noun plural bears or bear
any plantigrade mammal of the family Ursidae : order Carnivora (carnivores). Bears are typically massive omnivorous animals with a large head, a long shaggy coat, and strong clawsSee also black bear, brown bear, polar bear Related adjective: ursine
any of various bearlike animals, such as the koala and the ant bear
a clumsy, churlish, or ill-mannered person
a teddy bear
stock exchange
  1. a speculator who sells in anticipation of falling prices to make a profit on repurchase
  2. (as modifier)a bear market Compare bull 1 (def. 5)
verb bears, bearing or beared
(tr) to lower or attempt to lower the price or prices of (a stock market or a security) by speculative selling

Word Origin for bear

Old English bera; related to Old Norse bjorn, Old High German bero

British Dictionary definitions for bear (3 of 3)

/ (bɛə) /

noun the Bear
the English name for Ursa Major, Ursa Minor
an informal name for Russia
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bear


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