Idioms

    wear thin,
    1. to diminish; weaken: My patience is wearing thin.
    2. to become less appealing, interesting, tolerable, etc.: childish antics that soon wore thin.

Origin of wear

before 900; (v.) Middle English weren to have (clothes) on the body, waste, damage, suffer waste or damage, Old English werian; cognate with Old Norse verja, Gothic wasjan to clothe; (noun) late Middle English were act of carrying on the body, derivative of the v.; akin to Latin vestis clothing (see vest)
Related formswear·er, nounre·wear, verb, re·wore, re·worn, re·wear·ing.

Synonyms for wear

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


Examples from the Web for wear

Contemporary Examples of wear

Historical Examples of wear

  • Was it probable that she had anything suitable to wear to a lecture?

  • The grace of your figure makes everything you wear becoming.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • Dare you to wear your brother's coat without the crescent which should stamp you as his cadet.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Why, you jack-fool, what would it be about save who should wear the crown of France?

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • No wonder Lady Macbeth declares she would be ashamed "to wear a heart so white."


British Dictionary definitions for wear

wear

1

verb wears, wearing, wore or worn

(tr) to carry or have (a garment, etc) on one's person as clothing, ornament, etc
(tr) to carry or have on one's person habituallyshe wears a lot of red
(tr) to have in one's aspectto wear a smile
(tr) to display, show, or flya ship wears its colours
to deteriorate or cause to deteriorate by constant use or action
to produce or be produced by constant rubbing, scraping, etcto wear a hole in one's trousers
to bring or be brought to a specified condition by constant use or actionto wear a tyre to shreds
(intr) to submit to constant use or action in a specified wayhis suit wears well
(tr) to harass or weaken
(when intr, often foll by on) (of time) to pass or be passed slowly
(tr) British slang to acceptLarry won't wear that argument
wear ship to change the tack of a sailing vessel, esp a square-rigger, by coming about so that the wind passes astern

noun

the act of wearing or state of being worn
  1. anything designed to be wornleisure wear
  2. (in combination)nightwear
deterioration from constant or normal use or action
the quality of resisting the effects of constant use
Derived Formswearer, noun

Word Origin for wear

Old English werian; related to Old High German werien, Old Norse verja, Gothic vasjan

wear

2

verb wears, wearing, wore or worn

nautical to tack by gybing instead of by going through stays

Word Origin for wear

C17: from earlier weare, of unknown origin

Wear

noun

a river in NE England, rising in NW Durham and flowing southeast then northeast to the North Sea at Sunderland. Length: 105 km (65 miles)
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 wear
v.

Old English werian "to clothe, put on," from Proto-Germanic *wazjanan (cf. Old Norse verja, Old High German werian, Gothic gawasjan "to clothe"), from PIE *wes- "to clothe" (cf. Sanskrit vaste "he puts on," vasanam "garment;" Avestan vah-; Greek esthes "clothing," hennymi "to clothe," eima "garment;" Latin vestire "to clothe;" Welsh gwisgo, Breton gwiska; Old English wæstling "sheet, blanket;" Hittite washshush "garments," washanzi "they dress").

The Germanic forms "were homonyms of the vb. for 'prevent, ward off, protect' (Goth. warjan, O.E. werian, etc.), and this was prob. a factor in their early displacement in most of the Gmc. languages" [Buck]. Shifted from a weak verb (past tense and past participle wered) to a strong one (past tense wore, past participle worn) in 14c. on analogy of rhyming strong verbs such as bear and tear.

Secondary sense of "use up, gradually damage" (late 13c.) is from effect of continued use on clothes. To be the worse for wear is attested from 1782; noun phrase wear and tear is first recorded 1660s.

n.

"action of wearing" (clothes), mid-15c., from wear (v.). Meaning "what one wears" is 1570s. To be the worse for wear is attested from 1782; noun phrase wear and tear is first recorded 1660s, implying the sense "process of being degraded by use."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wear

wear

In addition to the idioms beginning with wear

  • wear and tear
  • wear another hat
  • wear down
  • wear off
  • wear one's heart on one's sleeve
  • wear out
  • wear out one's welcome
  • wear the pants
  • wear thin
  • wear two hats
  • wear well

also see:

  • hair shirt, wear a
  • if the shoe fits, wear it
  • none the worse for (wear)
  • worse for wear
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.