[ deer ]
See synonyms for: deardearerdearestdearly on

adjective,dear·er, dear·est.
  1. beloved or loved: a dear friend.

  2. (used in the salutation of a letter as an expression of affection or respect or as a conventional greeting): Dear Sir.

  1. precious in one's regard; cherished: our dearest possessions.

  2. heartfelt; earnest: one's dearest wish.

  3. high-priced; expensive: The silk dress was too dear.

  4. charging high prices: That shop is too dear for my budget.

  5. excessive; high: a dear price to pay for one's independence.

  6. Obsolete. difficult to get; scarce.

  7. Obsolete. worthy; honorable.

  1. a person who is good, kind, or generous: You're a dear to help me with the work.

  2. a beloved one.

  1. (sometimes initial capital letter) an affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or romantic partner (sometimes offensive when used to a stranger, subordinate, etc.)

  1. dearly; fondly.

  2. at a high price: That painting cost me dear.

  1. (used as an exclamation of surprise, distress, etc.): Oh dear, what a disappointment! Dear me! What's all that noise?

Origin of dear

First recorded before 900; Middle English dere, deire, Old English dēore, dīore, dȳre; cognate with Old High German tiuri, Old Norse dȳrr

synonym study For dear

5. See expensive.

Other words for dear

Other words from dear

  • dearly, adverb
  • dearness, noun

Other definitions for dear (2 of 2)


or dere

[ deer ]

adjective,dear·er, dear·est.Archaic.
  1. hard; grievous.

Origin of dear

First recorded before 1000; Middle English dere “fierce, hard,” Old English dēor “brave, bold, severe” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use dear in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dear


/ (dɪə) /

  1. beloved; precious

  2. used in conventional forms of address preceding a title or name, as in Dear Sir or my dear Mr Smith

  1. (postpositive foll by to) important; close: a wish dear to her heart

    • highly priced

    • charging high prices

  2. appealing or pretty: what a dear little ring!

  3. for dear life urgently or with extreme vigour or desperation

  1. used in exclamations of surprise or dismay, such as Oh dear! and dear me!

  1. (often used in direct address) someone regarded with affection and tenderness; darling

  1. dearly: his errors have cost him dear

Origin of dear

Old English dēore; related to Old Norse dӯrr

Derived forms of dear

  • dearness, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with dear


In addition to the idiom beginning with dear

  • dear me

also see:

  • for dear life
  • nearest and dearest

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