See more synonyms for bearing on
  1. the manner in which one conducts or carries oneself, including posture and gestures: a man of dignified bearing.
  2. the act, capability, or period of producing or bringing forth: a tree past bearing.
  3. something that is produced; a crop.
  4. the act of enduring or capacity to endure.
  5. reference or relation (usually followed by on): It has some bearing on the problem.
  6. Architecture.
    1. a supporting part of a structure.
    2. the area of contact between a bearing member, as a beam, and a pier, wall, or other underlying support.
  7. Machinery. the support and guide for a rotating, oscillating, or sliding shaft, pivot, or wheel.
  8. Often bearings. direction or relative position: The pilot radioed his bearings.
  9. Surveying. a horizontal direction expressed in degrees east or west of a true or magnetic north or south direction.
  10. Heraldry. any single device on an escutcheon; charge.

Origin of bearing

First recorded in 1200–50, bearing is from the Middle English word beryng. See bear1, -ing1
Related formsun·bear·ing, adjective

Synonyms for bearing

See more synonyms for on
1. carriage, mien, demeanor, behavior, conduct. See manner1. 5. connection, dependency; application. 8. course, aim.


verb (used with object), bore or (Archaic) bare; borne or born; bear·ing.
  1. to hold up; support: to bear the weight of the roof.
  2. to hold or remain firm under (a load): The roof will not bear the strain of his weight.
  3. to bring forth (young); give birth to: to bear a child.
  4. to produce by natural growth: a tree that bears fruit.
  5. to hold up under; be capable of: His claim doesn't bear close examination.
  6. to press or push against: The crowd was borne back by the police.
  7. to hold or carry (oneself, one's body, one's head, etc.): to bear oneself erectly.
  8. to conduct (oneself): to bear oneself bravely.
  9. to suffer; endure; undergo: to bear the blame.
  10. to sustain without yielding or suffering injury; tolerate (usually used in negative constructions, unless qualified): I can't bear your nagging. I can hardly bear to see her suffering so.
  11. to be fit for or worthy of: It doesn't bear repeating.
  12. to carry; bring: to bear gifts.
  13. to carry in the mind or heart: to bear love; to bear malice.
  14. to transmit or spread (gossip, tales, etc.).
  15. to render; afford; give: to bear witness; to bear testimony.
  16. to lead; guide; take: They bore him home.
  17. to have and be entitled to: to bear title.
  18. to exhibit; show: to bear a resemblance.
  19. to accept or have, as an obligation: to bear responsibility; to bear the cost.
  20. to stand in (a relation or ratio); have or show correlatively: the relation that price bears to profit.
  21. to possess, as a quality or characteristic; have in or on: to bear traces; to bear an inscription.
  22. to have and use; exercise: to bear authority; to bear sway.
verb (used without object), bore or (Archaic) bare; borne or born; bear·ing.
  1. to tend in a course or direction; move; go: to bear west; to bear left at the fork in the road.
  2. to be located or situated: The lighthouse bears due north.
  3. to bring forth young or fruit: Next year the tree will bear.
Verb Phrases
  1. bear down,
    1. to press or weigh down.
    2. to strive harder; intensify one's efforts: We can't hope to finish unless everyone bears down.
    3. approach from windward, as a ship: The cutter was bearing down the channel at twelve knots.
  2. bear down on/upon,
    1. to press or weigh down on.
    2. to strive toward.
    3. to approach something rapidly.
    4. approach (another vessel) from windward: The sloop bore down on us, narrowly missing our stern.
  3. bear off,
    1. keep (a boat) from touching or rubbing against a dock, another boat, etc.
    2. steer away.
    3. remove the stones from the board after they are all home.
  4. bear on/upon, to affect, relate to, or have connection with; be relevant to: This information may bear on the case.
  5. bear out, to substantiate; confirm: The facts bear me out.
  6. bear up, to endure; face hardship bravely: It is inspiring to see them bearing up so well.
  7. bear with, to be patient or forbearing with: Please bear with me until I finish the story.
  1. bring to bear, to concentrate on with a specific purpose: Pressure was brought to bear on those with overdue accounts.

Origin of bear

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

See more synonyms for on

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.


noun, plural bears, (especially collectively) bear.
  1. any of the plantigrade, carnivorous or omnivorous mammals of the family Ursidae, having massive bodies, coarse heavy fur, relatively short limbs, and almost rudimentary tails.
  2. any of various animals resembling the bear, as the ant bear.
  3. a gruff, burly, clumsy, bad-mannered, or rude person.
  4. a person who believes that market prices, especially of stocks, will decline (opposed to bull).
  5. Informal. a person who shows great ability, enthusiasm, stamina, etc.: a bear for physics.
  6. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. either of two constellations, Ursa Major or Ursa Minor.
  7. Informal. a player at cards who rarely bluffs.
  8. (initial capital letter) Russia.
  1. having to do with or marked by declining prices, as of stocks: bear market.
verb (used with object), beared, bear·ing.
  1. Stock Exchange. to force prices down in (a market, stock, etc.).
  1. loaded for bear, Informal. fully prepared and eager to initiate or deal with a fight, confrontation, or trouble: Keep away from the boss—he's loaded for bear today.

Origin of bear

before 1000; Middle English be(a)re, beor(e), Old English bera; cognate with Frisian bār, Dutch beer, Old High German bero (German Bär); < Germanic *beran- literally, the brown one; akin to Old Norse bjǫrn, bersi; compare Lithuanian bė́ras brown. Cf. bruin
Related formsbear·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bearing

Contemporary Examples of bearing

Historical Examples of bearing

  • His lines were gracefully full, his bearing had still the alertness of youth.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • His look was bright and thoughtful and his bearing attractive.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • I dwell on the subject only because of its bearing on the love of God.

  • Sin brings its punishment, and it is hard work, bearing its burden!

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • "Your bearing and your words, Don Martin, are such I should have looked for in you," he remarked.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for bearing


  1. a support, guide, or locating piece for a rotating or reciprocating mechanical part
  2. (foll by on or upon) relevance (to)it has no bearing on this problem
  3. a person's general social conduct, esp in manners, dress, and behaviour
    1. the act, period, or capability of producing fruit or young
    2. an amount produced; yield
  4. the part of a beam or lintel that rests on a support
  5. anything that carries weight or acts as a support
  6. the angular direction of a line, point, or course measured from true north or south (true bearing), magnetic north or south (magnetic bearing), or one's own position
  7. (usually plural) the position or direction, as of a ship, fixed with reference to two or more known points
  8. (usually plural) a sense of one's relative position or situation; orientation (esp in the phrases lose, get, or take one's bearings)
  9. heraldry
    1. a device or emblem on a heraldic shield; charge
    2. another name for coat of arms


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


verb bears, bearing, bore or borne (mainly tr)
  1. to support or hold up; sustain
  2. to bring or conveyto bear gifts
  3. to take, accept, or assume the responsibility ofto bear an expense
  4. (past participle born in passive use except when foll by by) to give birth toto bear children
  5. (also intr) to produce by or as if by natural growthto bear fruit
  6. to tolerate or endureshe couldn't bear him
  7. to admit of; sustainhis story does not bear scrutiny
  8. to hold in the conscious mind or in one's feelingsto bear a grudge; I'll bear that idea in mind
  9. to show or be marked withhe still bears the scars
  10. to transmit or spreadto bear gossip
  11. to render or supply (esp in the phrase bear witness)
  12. to conduct or manage (oneself, the body, etc)she bore her head high
  13. to have, be, or stand in (relation or comparison)his account bears no relation to the facts
  14. (intr) to move, be located, or lie in a specified directionthe way bears east
  15. to have by right; be entitled to (esp in the phrase bear title)
  16. bear a hand to give assistance
  17. 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


noun plural bears or bear
  1. 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
  2. any of various bearlike animals, such as the koala and the ant bear
  3. a clumsy, churlish, or ill-mannered person
  4. a teddy bear
  5. 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
  1. (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 bearing

"carrying of oneself, deportment," mid-13c., verbal noun from bear (v.). Mechanical sense of "part of a machine that bears the friction" is from 1791.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bearing


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.