[ sheer ]
/ ʃɪər /

verb (used with object), sheared, sheared or shorn, shear·ing.

verb (used without object), sheared, sheared or shorn, shear·ing.


Origin of shear

before 900; (v.) Middle English sheren, Old English sceran, cognate with Dutch, German scheren, Old Norse skera; (noun) (in sense “tool for shearing”) Middle English sheres (plural), continuing Old English scērero, scēar, two words derived from the same root as the v.

Related forms

shear·er, nounshear·less, adjective

Can be confused

shear sheer Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shears

British Dictionary definitions for shears (1 of 2)


/ (ʃɪəz) /

pl n

  1. large scissors, as for cutting cloth, jointing poultry, etc
  2. a large scissor-like and usually hand-held cutting tool with flat blades, as for cutting hedges
any of various analogous cutting or clipping implements or machines
short for sheerlegs
off the shears Australian informal (of a sheep) newly shorn

British Dictionary definitions for shears (2 of 2)


/ (ʃɪə) /

verb shears, shearing or sheared or Australian and NZ shore, sheared or shorn


See also shears, shore 3

Derived Forms

shearer, noun

Word Origin for shear

Old English sceran; related to Old Norse skera to cut, Old Saxon, Old High German skeran to shear; see share ²
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

Science definitions for shears


[ shîr ]

A force, movement or pressure applied to an object perpendicular to a given axis, with greater value on one side of the axis than the other. See more at shear force stress strain.
See skew.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.