bear

1
[bair]

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


Idioms

    bring to bear, to concentrate on with a specific purpose: Pressure was brought to bear on those with overdue accounts.

Origin of bear

1
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; < Indo-European *bher- (see -fer, -phore)

Synonyms for bear

Synonym study

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.

Usage note

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bear down

approach, near, press

British Dictionary definitions for bear down

bear down

verb (intr, adverb; often foll by on or upon)

to press or weigh down
to approach in a determined or threatening manner
(of a vessel) to make an approach (to another vessel, obstacle, etc) from windward
(of a woman during childbirth) to exert a voluntary muscular pressure to assist delivery

Bear

noun the Bear

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

bear

1

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

to support or hold up; sustain
to bring or conveyto bear gifts
to take, accept, or assume the responsibility ofto bear an expense
(past participle born in passive use except when foll by by) to give birth toto bear children
(also intr) to produce by or as if by natural growthto bear fruit
to tolerate or endureshe couldn't bear him
to admit of; sustainhis story does not bear scrutiny
to hold in the conscious mind or in one's feelingsto bear a grudge; I'll bear that idea in mind
to show or be marked withhe still bears the scars
to transmit or spreadto bear gossip
to render or supply (esp in the phrase bear witness)
to conduct or manage (oneself, the body, etc)she bore her head high
to have, be, or stand in (relation or comparison)his account bears no relation to the facts
(intr) to move, be located, or lie in a specified directionthe way bears east
to have by right; be entitled to (esp in the phrase bear title)
bear a hand to give assistance
bring to bear to bring into operation or effecthe brought his knowledge to bear on the situation

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

bear

2

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
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 bear down

bear

v.

Old English beran "to bear, bring; bring forth, produce; to endure, sustain; to wear" (class IV strong verb; past tense bær, past participle boren), from Proto-Germanic *beranan (cf. Old Saxon beran, Old Frisian bera, Old High German beran, German gebären, Old Norse bera, Gothic bairan "to carry, bear, give birth to"), from PIE root *bher- (1) meaning both "give birth" (though only English and German strongly retain this sense, and Russian has beremennaya "pregnant") and "carry a burden, bring" (see infer).

Ball bearings "bear" the friction. Many senses are from notion of "move onward by pressure." Old English past tense bær became Middle English bare; alternative bore began to appear c.1400, but bare remained the literary form till after 1600. Past participle distinction of borne for "carried" and born for "given birth" is from late 18c. To bear (something) in mind is from 1530s.

bear

n.

Old English bera "bear," from Proto-Germanic *beron, literally "the brown (one)" (cf. Old Norse björn, Middle Dutch bere, Dutch beer, Old High German bero, German Bär), from PIE *bher- (3) "bright, brown" (see brown (adj.)).

Greek arktos and Latin ursus retain the PIE root word for "bear" (*rtko; see Arctic), but it is believed to have been ritually replaced in the northern branches because of hunters' taboo on names of wild animals (cf. the Irish equivalent "the good calf," Welsh "honey-pig," Lithuanian "the licker," Russian medved "honey-eater"). Others connect the Germanic word with Latin ferus "wild," as if it meant "the wild animal (par excellence) of the northern woods."

Symbolic of Russia since 1794. Used of uncouth persons since 1570s. Stock market meaning "speculator for a fall" is 1709 shortening of bearskin jobber (from the proverb sell the bearskin before one has caught the bear); i.e. "one who sells stock for future delivery, expecting that meanwhile prices will fall." Paired with bull from c.1720. Bear claw as a type of large pastry is from 1942, originally chiefly western U.S.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bear down

bear down

1

Press or weigh down on someone or something. For example, This pen doesn't write unless you bear down hard on it. [Late 1600s]

2

Try hard, intensify one's efforts, as in If you'll just bear down, you'll pass the test.

3

Move forward in a pressing or threatening way, as in The ferry bore down on our little skiff. This usage was originally nautical. [Early 1700s]

bear

In addition to the idioms beginning with bear

  • bear a grudge
  • bear down
  • beard the lion
  • bear fruit
  • bear in mind
  • bear one's cross
  • bear out
  • bear the brunt
  • bear up
  • bear with

also see:

  • bring to bear
  • cross as a bear
  • cross to bear
  • grin and bear it
  • loaded for bear
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.