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  1. a frame or stand on which a corpse or the coffin containing it is laid before burial.
  2. such a stand together with the corpse or coffin.
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Origin of bier

before 900; Middle English bere, Old English bēr, bǣr(e); cognate with Old High German bāra (German Bahre), Dutch, Danish baar, Swedish bår; spelling influenced by French bière; akin to bear1, barrow1
Can be confusedbeer bier
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

coffin, pyre, support, grave, catafalque, hearse

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British Dictionary definitions for bier


  1. a platform or stand on which a corpse or a coffin containing a corpse rests before burial
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Word Origin

Old English bǣr; related to beran to bear 1, Old High German bāra bier, Sanskrit bhārá a burden
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 bier


Old English bær (West Saxon), ber (Anglian) "handbarrow, litter, bed," from West Germanic *bero (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German bara, Old Frisian bere, Middle Dutch bare, Dutch baar, German Bahre "bier"), from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry; to bear children," and thus related to the Old English verb beran "to bear" (see bear (v.)), making a bier etymologically anything used for carrying, only later limited to funerary sense. Since c.1600, spelling influenced by French bière, from Old French biere, from Frankish *bera, from the same Germanic root.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper