Nearby words

  1. weaponeer,
  2. weaponize,
  3. weaponry,
  4. weapons carrier,
  5. weapons of mass destruction,
  6. wear and tear,
  7. wear another hat,
  8. wear down,
  9. wear off,
  10. wear one's heart on one's sleeve


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

British Dictionary definitions for wear down

wear down

verb (adverb)

to consume or be consumed by long or constant wearing, rubbing, etc
to overcome or be overcome gradually by persistent effort


/ (wɪə) /


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)


/ (wɛə) /

verb wears, wearing, wore or worn


Derived Formswearer, noun

Word Origin for wear

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


/ (wɛə) /

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

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 down
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wear down

wear down

Diminish, weaken, or tire by relentless pressure, as in The heels of these shoes are quite worn down, or Her constant nagging about getting a new car wore down his resistance. [First half of 1800s]


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.