- to carry or have on the body or about the person as a covering, equipment, ornament, or the like: to wear a coat; to wear a saber; to wear a disguise.
- to have or use on the person habitually: to wear a wig.
- to bear or have in one's aspect or appearance: to wear a smile; to wear an air of triumph.
- to cause (garments, linens, etc.) to deteriorate or change by wear: Hard use has worn these gloves.
- to impair, deteriorate, or consume gradually by use or any continued process: Long illness had worn the bloom from her cheeks.
- to waste or diminish gradually by rubbing, scraping, washing, etc.: The waves have worn these rocks.
- to make (a hole, channel, way, etc.) by such action.
- to bring about or cause a specified condition in (a person or thing) by use, deterioration, or gradual change: to wear clothes to rags; to wear a person to a shadow.
- to weary; fatigue; exhaust: Toil and care soon wear the spirit.
- to pass (time) gradually or tediously (usually followed by away or out): We wore the afternoon away in arguing.
- Nautical. to bring (a vessel) on another tack by turning until the wind is on the stern.
- British Dialect. to gather and herd (sheep or cattle) to a pen or pasture.
- to undergo gradual impairment, diminution, reduction, etc., from wear, use, attrition, or other causes (often followed by away, down, out, or off).
- to retain shape, color, usefulness, value, etc., under wear, use, or any continued strain: a strong material that will wear; colors that wear well.
- (of time) to pass, especially slowly or tediously (often followed by on or away): As the day wore on, we had less and less to talk about.
- to have the quality of being easy or difficult to tolerate, especially after a relatively long association: It's hard to get to know him, but he wears well.
- Nautical. (of a vessel) to come round on another tack by turning away from the wind.
- Obsolete. to be commonly worn; to be in fashion.
- the act of wearing; use, as of a garment: articles for winter wear; I've had a lot of wear out of this coat; I had to throw away the shirt after only three wears.
- the state of being worn, as on the person.
- clothing or other articles for wearing; especially when fashionable or appropriate for a particular function (often used in combination): travel wear; sportswear.
- gradual impairment, wasting, diminution, etc., as from use: The carpet shows wear.
- the quality of resisting deterioration with use; durability.
- wear down,
- to reduce or impair by long wearing: to wear down the heels of one's shoes.
- to weary; tire: His constant talking wears me down.
- to prevail by persistence; overcome: to wear down the opposition.
- wear off, to diminish slowly or gradually or to diminish in effect; disappear: The drug began to wear off.
- wear out,
- to make or become unfit or useless through hard or extended use: to wear out clothes.
- to expend, consume, or remove, especially slowly or gradually.
- to exhaust, as by continued strain; weary: This endless bickering is wearing me out.
- wear thin,
- to diminish; weaken: My patience is wearing thin.
- to become less appealing, interesting, tolerable, etc.: childish antics that soon wore thin.
Origin of wear
SynonymsSee more synonyms for wear on Thesaurus.com
- 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)
- (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
- the act of wearing or state of being worn
- anything designed to be wornleisure wear
- (in combination)nightwear
- deterioration from constant or normal use or action
- the quality of resisting the effects of constant use
- nautical to tack by gybing instead of by going through stays
Word Origin and History for wear thin
"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."
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.
Idioms and Phrases with wear thin
Be weakened or diminished gradually, as in My patience is wearing thin. [Late 1800s]
Become less convincing, acceptable, or popular, as in His excuses are wearing thin. [First half of 1990s] Both usages transfer the thinning of a physical object, such as cloth, to nonmaterial characteristics.
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
- hair shirt, wear a
- if the shoe fits, wear it
- none the worse for (wear)
- worse for wear