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

1. carriage, mien, demeanor, behavior, conduct. See manner1. 5. connection, dependency; application. 8. course, aim. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bearings

Contemporary Examples of bearings

Historical Examples of bearings

British Dictionary definitions for bearings



a support, guide, or locating piece for a rotating or reciprocating mechanical part
(foll by on or upon) relevance (to)it has no bearing on this problem
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
the part of a beam or lintel that rests on a support
anything that carries weight or acts as a support
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
(usually plural) the position or direction, as of a ship, fixed with reference to two or more known points
(usually plural) a sense of one's relative position or situation; orientation (esp in the phrases lose, get, or take one's bearings)
  1. a device or emblem on a heraldic shield; charge
  2. another name for coat of arms
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 bearings

"parts of a machine which 'bear' the friction," 1791, from present participle of bear (v.). Meaning "direction from a point of reference" is from 1630s; to take (one's) bearings is from 1711.



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bearings


see get one's bearings.

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