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.
- to press or weigh down.
- to strive harder; intensify one's efforts: We can't hope to finish unless everyone bears down.
- Nautical.to approach from windward, as a ship: The cutter was bearing down the channel at twelve knots.
- to press or weigh down on.
- to strive toward.
- to approach something rapidly.
- Nautical.to approach (another vessel) from windward: The sloop bore down on us, narrowly missing our stern.
- Nautical.to keep (a boat) from touching or rubbing against a dock, another boat, etc.
- Nautical.to steer away.
- Backgammon.to remove the stones from the board after they are all home.
Origin of bear1
Synonyms for bear
verb (intr, adverb; often foll by on or upon)
noun the Bear
verb bears, bearing, bore or borne (mainly tr)
Word Origin for bear
noun plural bears or bear
- a speculator who sells in anticipation of falling prices to make a profit on repurchase
- (as modifier)a bear market Compare bull 1 (def. 5)
verb bears, bearing or beared
Word Origin for bear
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.
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.
Press or weigh down on someone or something. For example, This pen doesn't write unless you bear down hard on it. [Late 1600s]
Try hard, intensify one's efforts, as in If you'll just bear down, you'll pass the test.
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]
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
- bring to bear
- cross as a bear
- cross to bear
- grin and bear it
- loaded for bear