Main definitions of bear in English

: bear1bear2


verbbore, borne

[with object]
  • 1(of a person) carry.

    ‘he was bearing a tray of brimming glasses’
    ‘the warriors bore lances tipped with iron’
    • ‘He will not be laughed at by the overwhelming majority of Australians and later he might decide to accept one name, but the most important thing is that the child bears your genetics.’
    • ‘The butler reappeared instantly bearing a silver tea tray with a glass of ice and a pitcher of cold water, which he poured into the glass and offered to me.’
    • ‘A bench stood ready by the firepit, and at once a man bearing a tray crowded with brass cups was before us.’
    • ‘By the time he had finished, servants bearing trays and platters of food filed into the hall and set the food upon the tables around the fire pit.’
    • ‘The shield maiden would bear the maiden warrior's shield in battle, hence the name.’
    • ‘The Selfridges car park was given a makeover for the occasion: vehicles were replaced by a catwalk, bright lights and waiters bearing trays of champagne.’
    • ‘The lord himself and his daughter would often attend, bringing with them house servants bearing trays of food and drink.’
    • ‘The pain of the early hour is alleviated by a member of staff bearing a tray of tea - who will wait until you take the tray, in case the roaming baboons get their hands on your home-baked cookies.’
    • ‘He nods at the doorman, smiles at the maid bearing a tray upstairs.’
    • ‘Fortunately, Mom returned bearing a tray on which lay a sort of square closed pastry and a glass of 7UP.’
    • ‘The team arrived into Ballina train station to encounter a mass of loyal fans and supporters bearing flags and bunting.’
    • ‘When he returned, Guy was bearing a tray with a bowl of soup and a mug of something else.’
    • ‘It wasn't the late arrival of a dealer or a waitress bearing another tray of sandwiches or pints.’
    • ‘Anna held a tea service and Sarah bore a tray with a small mound of sandwiches from which the crusts had been delicately cut.’
    • ‘She was saved an explanation at that moment by the door opening to reveal a nurse bearing a tray with a tea pot, a strainer, a teabag, and two handle-less cups.’
    • ‘Boys bearing trays loaded with water bottles and cans of soft drink are hurrying towards us.’
    • ‘For statistical analyses, recombinant families bearing the same marker genotypes were grouped together.’
    • ‘Young children bearing the medals of their grandparents, along with police, Army cadets, scouts and guides also took part in the march.’
    • ‘People bearing placards and tracts appeared outside the assembly halls.’
    • ‘An hour or so later, the doors opened again to admit a new aerial servant bearing a fresh tray of food.’
    • ‘Down on the lawn, all that citronella is coating diners' tongues, and the waiters bearing trays of Cristal are working overtime.’
    • ‘Arjun Chhatkuli, CEO of Himalayan Humanity, started out as a porter bearing the luggage of tourists during long treks.’
    carry, bring, transport, move, convey, take, fetch, haul, lug, shift
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    1. 1.1 (of a vehicle or boat) convey (passengers or cargo)
      ‘steamboats bear the traveller out of Kerrerra Sound’
      • ‘It seemed that everyone doubted the market for liquor all the way out here, and that few ships came bearing a load such as ours.’
      • ‘A Talmud scholar was traveling on a ship bearing a group of merchants to a distant city.’
      • ‘Allied vehicles bearing ammunition and supplies bogged down in the snow.’
      • ‘Hundreds of mourners stood at the pier of Arranmore Island yesterday afternoon as the ferry bearing Mr McGowan's remains docked.’
      • ‘The car was a platinum black Audi A4 bearing three passengers and a partly-loaded boot.’
      • ‘Lester spent a quiet night in the pen getting used to his new look and the next day was hoisted up on the back of a flatbed truck bearing a load of young women in white evening dresses, myself included.’
      • ‘Massed pipes and drums from 14 regiments accompanied the gun carriage bearing the Queen Mother from Westminster Hall to the Abbey in a moving spectacle of pomp and pageantry.’
      • ‘Is it clear that all five bore numbers being borne by vehicles with which Reynolds had dealt.’
      • ‘Every now and then official vehicles bearing ministers of government appeared on the scene.’
      • ‘There, we'd toss in stones to watch the splashes, fill our water pistols with the murky brown water, and float leaf boats bearing wormy passengers.’
      • ‘There are more ocean-going vessels bearing such goods than one might imagine, nearly all holding insurance premiums against pirates.’
      • ‘At last, the delivery day came, and the truck bearing the sofa arrived.’
      • ‘Mr King says the car bearing it, pictured above, was probably steam-powered.’
      • ‘These fleet-of-foot canines think nothing of sprinting round a four-mile trail at 18 miles an hour, dragging a sledge bearing their human ‘musher’.’
      • ‘For many this is limited to an occasional walk during a mainly vehicle borne safari but others, like John Stevens, prefer to concentrate on walking and tracking animals.’
      • ‘Land convoys and helicopters bore Western evacuees to Yamoussoukro, where US military cargo planes waited to fly them to Abidjan, or neighbouring Ghana.’
    2. 1.2 Have or display as a visible mark or feature.
      ‘many of the papers bore his flamboyant signature’
      • ‘It could be just the proud mum in me talking, but I think the kid bears a striking resemblance to Sheila E.’
      • ‘Its gates opened to any person who was born with the marking and he taught them why they had been marked, why they were set apart from any other ordinary person not bearing that marking.’
      • ‘They not only show fine workmanship but also bear engraved marks.’
      • ‘Apart from seeing the happenings from her eyes/brain, the faces on the people bore a striking resemblance to our own, except for the hair and eye color.’
      • ‘Outwardly healthy, the animal bore no visible wounds or signs of illness.’
      • ‘The scene game to an abrupt end and with it came the clarity that the girl bore a striking resemblance to herself at that age.’
      • ‘In fact, holidaymakers in Tenerife will now be able to see delivery vans bearing the company's logo on the roads, just like home.’
      • ‘Before being freed, she was fitted with a special leg ring bearing unique identification marks, which can be clearly seen through binoculars.’
      • ‘Using the final digit of the vehicle number (odd or even), designate alternate days that vehicles bearing such numbers will be allowed to park in the city.’
      • ‘A short time later Ripley was seen to get into his pick-up truck bearing a distinctive Native American Indian emblem and used for transporting broken-down coaches.’
      • ‘Cai bears unmistakable features of his Western heritage, with his thinning light-coloured hair, deep blue eyes and high nose.’
      • ‘To achieve this, fifty retailers in the city must stock Fairtrade products and 25 catering outlets offer food bearing the Fairtrade mark.’
      • ‘Paulino Gimenez was cleaning a painting that he believed was by a little known contemporary of Goya's when he uncovered hidden features bearing the unmistakable mark of the Spanish master.’
      • ‘Dating from 1465 to 1487, the Chenghua doucai jar bears the special tian mark and is decorated with red and yellow elephants dancing among waves.’
      • ‘Looking up from the banks of the Danube River you will be charmed by the majesty of Bratislava Castle, which bears features of several distinct architectural styles.’
      • ‘Because of these genes some families bear the same characteristics.’
      • ‘What sort of degenerate would ignore the flashing lights of a vehicle clearly bearing the insignia of the Florida Highway Patrol?’
      • ‘Allied ground forces in Normandy used a white star for the same reason, and in the Gulf war in 1990-1 Allied vehicles bore a distinguishing chevron.’
      • ‘A private interstate highway system - say, one accessible only to cars bearing fish emblems - would have done nothing to reshape the landscape of the United States.’
      • ‘After what seemed an eternity, a transport helicopter bearing the insignia of the United States Navy appeared in the distance and headed straight for them.’
      display, exhibit, show, present, set forth, be marked with, carry, have
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    3. 1.3 Be called by (a name or title)
      ‘he bore the surname Tiller’
      • ‘A Memorial Center is dedicated to him, the stadium has been renamed in his honor, and a street now bears his name.’
      • ‘York has always enjoyed a special relationship with the Queen Mother, due to her bearing the city's name in her title.’
      • ‘He pointed to mugs, pens, paper hankies, the desk lamp, and calendar, all of which bore the trade names of antidepressants he had heard of.’
      • ‘Gehrig was ill and later died of a disease that would bear his name even after it received its formal title, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.’
      • ‘There are many streets bearing his name, and more than one has caused vociferous opposition from some interest groups.’
      • ‘In the literary world, Catriona actually only turns up in Stevenson's sequel to Kidnapped, which bears her name as its title.’
      • ‘Most of the people who came to the church in those days lived in Grey Town, Christianpet and of course, Addis Street, which bears the name of the founder of the church.’
      • ‘Weatherby has two new calibers, Steyr has a new proprietary round and Marlin finally has a second cartridge bearing its name.’
      • ‘But Mr Beaumont believes the city owes Hudson a public apology and a more salubrious memorial than the ‘dreadful’ street which bears his name.’
      • ‘There were three of us; each 16 months apart, each bearing an archangel's name as the middle moniker.’
      • ‘Pioneers in steel, oil, railroads, banking etc. have created foundations that bear their names.’
      • ‘The second schedule bore the title ‘Technical Services Schedule’.’
      • ‘One of the Foreign Service's major awards bears his name.’
      • ‘The merchant bank thus created still bears his name - Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.’
      • ‘Mr Mackenzie, best known as proprietor of the Wood Street bar which bears his name, could not be contacted for comment.’
      • ‘There's an investment banking firm that bears his name.’
      • ‘All members have a personal profile, agreed between us when we meet, which bears your first name only.’
      • ‘The Locarno, which was once a ballroom and Corn Exchange, is owned by businessman Gael Mackenzie, the proprietor of the growing chain of bars which bear his name.’
      • ‘Now, more than three years after the movie, comes the first title bearing the name Gladiator (although, it's not based on the movie).’
      • ‘Dalton's statue - holding an historic, football-shaped molecule - is the first thing visitors see at the main entrance to the town hall and a city centre street bears his name.’
    4. 1.4bear oneself Carry or conduct oneself in a specified manner.
      ‘she bore herself with dignity’
      • ‘He doesn't have the build for the Jackie Chan stunts he uses to repel the onslaught of his friends in crime-fighting, and he doesn't bear himself with heroic presence.’
      • ‘He bore himself regally yet treated none with contempt.’
      • ‘Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’’
      • ‘Yet despite his fierce appearance and the barbarous glint in his eyes, the Chief bore himself with a dignity no less than regal - so much so that Ravenna found her own father paling in comparison.’
      • ‘But still, even with the fraying edges and fading embroidery, the flag bore itself with an elegance that I had never seen before.’
      • ‘Moreover, in large scale strategy the superior man will manage many subordinates dextrously, bear himself correctly, govern the country and foster the people, thus preserving the ruler's discipline.’
      • ‘Despite the valour of Galway's British contingent - the 6th and 9th Foot bore themselves especially well - almost all Galway's 15,000 men were killed or captured.’
      • ‘Have you not heard of bearing yourself like this is a shame?’
      • ‘The samurai's focus was on how to bear himself in battle, methods for achieving victory by destroying the enemy, and for dealing with the physical, emotional, and moral consequences of both victory and defeat.’
      • ‘Felicity Jones bears herself with dignity as a well-controlled Mariana.’
      • ‘He bore himself with a slow and impressive dignity, as if he took command of all things from the instant of his entrance.’
      • ‘What it does teach him is how he can best bear himself when danger comes his way.’
      • ‘In fact, he calls all of us to a prophetic life-a life that witnesses to the power of the Spirit through the words we speak, the ways we serve, even the way we bear ourselves.’
      • ‘Few were the demonic females he had meet with such a fine physical shell and yet able to bear themselves with such dignity and self-control.’
      • ‘Remember how proudly they bore themselves on the talk shows?’
      conduct oneself, carry oneself, acquit oneself, act, behave, perform
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  • 2Support; carry the weight of.

    ‘walls which cannot bear a stone vault’
    • ‘Their leg, hip, and abdominal muscles become more flexible, and the back is strengthened to bear the additional weight.’
    • ‘Moving as one unit, they bore the massive weight of the scanner and slid it gently over the box.’
    • ‘You can't possibly blow it up, the mesh is mutually supporting, every girder bears the weight of everything above it.’
    • ‘The two human figures are depicted astride donkeys, who bear the load of their human cargo with bent legs.’
    • ‘Instead the chains - which can bear a weight of 68 tonnes each - crank into action, lowering and raising the Hull tidal barrier into position.’
    • ‘This would also take the load off the Residency Road ramp, which will henceforth have to bear the load of descending traffic that was earlier split between the two down ramps.’
    • ‘The surgeon then instructs the patient to continue wearing the brace while beginning to bear full weight on the surgical leg.’
    • ‘The Economist compares New York City to Atlas, bearing the weight of the world on its shoulders.’
    • ‘He may be big, but not big enough to bear the weight of two or even three men's work.’
    • ‘The softwood and chipboard shelves were ‘wholly inadequate’ to bear the weight.’
    • ‘Now is the time to lay foundations capable of bearing the top weight.’
    • ‘The website would not have borne this weight of traffic without the radical restructuring that was completed only last month.’
    • ‘Perhaps they were deliberately designed to appear incapable of bearing the weight of this great rectangular zeppelin, or perhaps it was simply an oversight to make them seem so spindly.’
    • ‘Since no horse could be found to bear her weight she used to career about after hounds in Windsor Great Park in a small chariot.’
    • ‘On his back, he bore the weight of two long, black, leathery wings that could easily smother a human each.’
    • ‘Broilers are subjected to breeding regimes which produce birds unable to bear their own weight.’
    • ‘The sheer look in her eyes caused him to lose his balance, letting the wall bear all of his weight for him.’
    • ‘Osteoarthritis, which is due to wear and tear, is more common in the elderly and in the lower limbs that bear the body's weight.’
    • ‘It supported nothing, but was stout enough to have once borne a considerable weight, and likely, he thought, to have been a roof beam.’
    • ‘Joints move and bear a load: your weight, in other words.’
    support, carry, hold up, prop up, keep up, bolster up
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    1. 2.1 Take responsibility for.
      ‘no one likes to bear the responsibility for such decisions’
      ‘the expert's fee shall be borne by the tenant’
      • ‘Mr Thomas said that the finding could leave Mr Morgan with a huge financial cost that he would have to bear himself.’
      • ‘Maybe it is time that the cost was borne by the people who can pay and provide relief for the those who cannot pay.’
      • ‘This will not be borne by the owners; it will be passed on to the clients.’
      • ‘If he bears the weight of history's censure, he remained a small cog inside the wheel of Loch's strategy, the dash for improvement by the noble couple and the general challenge to the Highlands by modernity.’
      • ‘Everyone in society (except a couple of innocent landowners) gets some benefit, but only a few people bear the cost.’
      • ‘For as we involve ourselves, we bear the responsibility even for results we did not anticipate.’
      • ‘Country people have borne the brunt of the lifting of tariffs and withdrawal of state, government, bank and business services from the regions.’
      • ‘So it's a diversion from jail and you've got that saving, and the main aim is to save those diffused costs which are borne by victims.’
      • ‘Somebody in the band needs to bear the responsibility for keeping time, and keeping everybody else in the same ballpark.’
      • ‘This was because the risk of injury should be borne by the person who created the nuisance rather than a person who was using the highway in a proper manner.’
      • ‘I didn't want to bear the responsibility for this.’
      • ‘He accused the top officials of blaming each other with no one willing to bear the responsibility.’
      • ‘The cost will be borne by the people who are busy using candles and hot water bottles so that they do not use up power the local authority has asked them to save.’
      • ‘And yet it's the safe majority who bear the undue weight of the government's ‘revenue raising’.’
      • ‘You must also bear the responsibility for maintaining a secure site and liability for the content of the site.’
      • ‘The focus here is on the major cost components of injury that individuals would be expected to bear themselves, notably loss of earnings and pain and suffering.’
      • ‘The cost of operas in the past was borne largely by wealthy patrons, using the money which they extracted from the common people to fund their lifestyle.’
      • ‘But we can still ask whether the cost has to be borne by people who will never see the benefits.’
      • ‘The bees are moral agents, he argues, and must bear the responsibility for their own actions.’
      • ‘They were paid Regular Force wages only on the day they deployed, and their families bore the cost.’
      sustain, carry, support, shoulder, uphold, absorb, take on
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    2. 2.2 Be able to accept or stand up to.
      ‘it is doubtful whether either of these distinctions would bear scrutiny’
      • ‘The question of whether she could once again bear the weight of expectation and public scrutiny were answered last season.’
      • ‘The idea that the growing number of clubs standing on football's equivalent of death row are somehow the unfortunate victims of a natural disaster does not bear scrutiny.’
      • ‘They are keeping quiet until their products are really ready to bear scrutiny.’
      • ‘Such a view will not bear scrutiny either, for reasons to be discussed later; Wittgenstein indeed opens the Philosophical Investigations with a lengthy refutation of it.’
      • ‘Few would impeach any society's humanistic obligation to care for those who actually bear the weight of battle.’
      • ‘But to shackle the BBC in the pursuit of original journalism would be entirely wrong - so long as the editorial processes bear scrutiny.’
      • ‘The accusation that the king aimed at increasing the royal prerogative or deliberately connived at secret influence will not bear scrutiny.’
      • ‘Can Kylie bear the weight of fantasy required to sustain such a role?’
      • ‘The cost of intermediation and the cost of finance might be lower for the government as guarantor because it is better able to bear risks.’
      • ‘Sadly, such a picture does not bear scrutiny, especially in the so-called top clubs, where discrimination on the grounds of age and sex is not only routine, but all too often is revelled in.’
      • ‘Coulthard is the man most accustomed to it and he has proved, with every maturing year in the game, that he is capable of bearing the weight of expectation.’
      withstand, stand up to, stand, put up with, take, cope with, handle, resist, sustain, absorb, accept
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  • 3Endure (an ordeal or difficulty)

    ‘she bore the pain stoically’
    • ‘She would not be able to bear another tense, sleepless night.’
    • ‘Yet she bore her pain stoically, neither asking nor expecting him to help her through it.’
    • ‘Whatever happened to knights being able to bear a little hardship, I'd like to know?’
    • ‘As for England's quarter-final exit, he bears the pain stoically.’
    • ‘It is borne especially by the families left behind.’
    • ‘Those risk-takers who attempt this method bear the ignominy of the dreaded spot if they fail.’
    • ‘For many people it keeps getting harder to bear their desperation quietly.’
    • ‘I love my mother and I don't think I would ever be able to bear it if I lost her.’
    • ‘He sobbed into the snow, not being able to bear the agony any longer.’
    • ‘This year, they bore the weight of many expectations, and it may rather have crushed them.’
    • ‘Barbosa, the keeper who failed to save Brazil from Uruguay in the 1950 final, still bears his disgrace.’
    • ‘People bore the tribulations of the subsequent years with astonishing patience.’
    • ‘As if no longer able to bear the echoes of horrors past, Kalin stopped his history lesson and looked at me for the first time in over an hour.’
    • ‘He resigned in the midst of it because he too was ethical and couldn't bear it anymore.’
    • ‘They know no better than to constantly bear whatever pain and suffering comes to them.’
    • ‘The miners seemed to bear their suffering stoically, though their conditions were very bad indeed.’
    • ‘But, you see, it's the woman that bears the difficulties of the pregnancy.’
    • ‘His family bore an incredible hardship during the trials.’
    • ‘Any arms sales must seek the approval of all relevant departments and be able to bear pressure from organizations of every sort in society.’
    • ‘Men and women perform as equals, taking turns to bear the weight in lifts and jumps, and sometimes appearing to fight each other for the privilege.’
    • ‘Being able to bear frustration is one level of dealing with it.’
    endure, tolerate, put up with, stand, suffer, abide, submit to, experience, undergo, go through, countenance, brook, brave, weather, support
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    1. 3.1with modal and negative Manage to tolerate (a situation or experience)
      ‘she could hardly bear his sarcasm’
      with infinitive ‘I cannot bear to see you hurt’
      • ‘Grant and Malinda could hardly bear their separation, and Grant longed to see his five children, one of whom was born during the war.’
      • ‘Cassie stood outside no longer able to bear the cloud of tension.’
      • ‘Unable to bear the situation any longer, Zhang Jianya turned to the court, alleging that Zhang Chun had criminally infringed upon his reputation.’
      • ‘Tori could hardly bear it, how cute he looked with his mussed hair and confused expression.’
      • ‘They were yearning to know whom he had finally chosen and could hardly bear to stay in the dark until that night, wondering if he'd made the right choice.’
      • ‘It was pouring with rain, so the mouse's hair was all spiky and we picked it up in a glass and took it into the front garden but could hardly bear to put it down because it was so cute.’
      • ‘I can't bear suspense in movies and books.’
      • ‘We all feel that we can no longer bear the situation as it is.’
      • ‘The countryside gradually lost its brightness as the green grass faded into yellows and the flowers dried up and died, not able to bear the chilly temperatures.’
      • ‘He said it was never the triumph, or the sensation of winning that drove me, just he couldn't bear himself when he lost.’
      • ‘He said my skin was so smooth he couldn't bear it.’
      • ‘I am so up and down at the moment that I can hardly bear myself.’
      • ‘No one really came to that dump to eat, so she was never really that busy, but work got so monotonous that with every passing day it seemed like she wouldn't be able to bear it.’
      • ‘I didn't go as often as I should because I couldn't bear it.’
      • ‘I shut my eyes tightly, not being able to bear the look of anguish on Adrian's face.’
      • ‘The pain got worse, and Raina could hardly bear it.’
      • ‘Most people could not bear the thought of having their every move captured on film let alone watched by millions of television viewers.’
      • ‘What I am saying really is that most people ask me how can I bear it, because they feel that they themselves couldn't bear it but they could if it happened to them.’
      • ‘I don't think I'll be able to bear it if he talks to me.’
      • ‘Close as they were, the two could hardly bear to talk about Darwin's view of life.’
      tolerate, stand, put up with, stomach, swallow, brook, undergo, accept, approve of, endorse, allow, admit, permit
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    2. 3.2cannot bear someone/something Strongly dislike.
      ‘I can't bear caviar’
      • ‘Having belonged to him once, I cannot bear myself.’
      • ‘Rather, women in contemporary India are also ‘subjected to the suppressed anger of the middle-class man’ who ‘needs his wife's salary to savour the goodies, yet cannot bear her independence.’’
      • ‘The Montserrat population cannot bear any tax increases at this time.’
      • ‘I have been here for 18 years and cannot bear the thought of leaving.’
      • ‘She said: ‘I have two boys who still believe in Christmas and, even though I cannot bear the thought of doing it without their daddy, I cannot let them down.’’
      • ‘I cannot bear the plethora of tacky, pointless, plasticky, badly constructed, playthings that are manufactured these days.’
      • ‘Every book I have written overflows with that loathing, and I cannot bear the sight of guns.’
      • ‘To this day, one of my colleagues cannot bear the sound of rubber plimsolls on a wooden floor.’
      • ‘As Dostoevsky once remarked, Russians cannot bear their own freedom; they seek someone before whom to bend their knee.’
      • ‘He begs Achilles to send him to battle quickly (oka); he cannot bear Achilles' intractable patience.’
      • ‘Aglaia cannot bear Nastasia taking precedence.’
      • ‘I enjoys the cars in North America but cannot bear the boring life there.’
      • ‘‘If you cannot bear your name being mentioned in criticisms, then you'd better go home and be an ordinary citizen,’ she said.’
      • ‘Yeah, I bought that album with them on sofas, but can't bear her voice now.’
      • ‘Emilia cannot bear him, and William appears to loathe her.’
      • ‘Also, he cannot bear other people's misfortune.’
      • ‘This, just because a handful of people (who are probably tone deaf anyway) cannot bear the noise!’
      • ‘If Miss Field and her neighbours cannot bear the racket, they should consider moving out to the silent suburbs.’
      • ‘I cannot bear the thought of having to use something that resembles tracing paper and is as absorbent as a £10.00 note!’
  • 4Give birth to (a child)

    ‘she bore sixteen daughters’
    with two objects ‘his wife had borne him a son’
    • ‘Gwenifer had married and had borne her first child, a son.’
    • ‘Yet Zev had not returned her to the outside world as most Wolves did when their women were not able to bear them heirs.’
    • ‘Other men are deceived by wives who bear children through adulterous liaisons and who mislead them into thinking that the children are theirs.’
    • ‘You must know that his wife passed away five years ago and they bore no children.’
    • ‘Is it that they only want to find a submissive wife who will bear children and become homemakers?’
    • ‘He was not happy and started seeing another girl who bore his child in April 1999.’
    • ‘In 1851 he married Fanny Lucy Wightman, who was to bear six children, three of whom predeceased him.’
    • ‘She was the woman who would bear his children, raise and nurture them.’
    • ‘Despite what was certainly an extremely unhappy existence, Caroline managed to bear Christian a son and heir in 1768, the future King Frederick VI.’
    • ‘We are the same sex and therefore, cannot bear children so possible arguments against it due to possible birth defects certainly do not apply.’
    • ‘Arrangements for women who bore children or reared infants in prison were negligible.’
    • ‘I myself had never had sisters or brothers - my mother had lost the ability to bear children at my birth.’
    • ‘The failure of a woman to bear children (particularly sons) is a frequent cause for divorce.’
    • ‘The drama tells the story of a king who takes a second wife because his Chinese queen is unable to bear children.’
    • ‘For in just two days my own wife is due to bear her second child.’
    • ‘This person had borne her, and done little else.’
    • ‘She was going to try to be a good wife, bear children, and be happy.’
    • ‘Herschel will leave nothing behind him because his late wife refused to bear children.’
    • ‘Many mothers did not want to bear children, especially girls, last year because Ram children were seen as destined to lead miserable lives.’
    • ‘The risk of bearing a child with certain chromosomal birth defects increases as a woman ages.’
    give birth to, bring forth, deliver, be delivered of, have, mother, create, produce, spawn
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    1. 4.1 (of a tree or plant) produce (fruit or flowers)
      ‘a squash that bears fruit shaped like cucumbers’
      • ‘Plants can bear flowers and fruits at the same time, and die after fruiting.’
      • ‘The 25-foot-tall tree bears lavender flowers in summer, and in fall, leaves turn brilliant red.’
      • ‘Trees bearing fruits or nuts can provide an excellent source of food for many species of wildlife.’
      • ‘This tall, bamboo-like grass bears dense panicles of flowers in late summer and fall.’
      • ‘Honestly, you'd think that after almost 20 years, a tree bearing golden fruit would actually stop being such an attention grabber.’
      • ‘Apple trees, you see, are one of the few trees that will bear usable fruit within live years of being planted.’
      • ‘Many fruit species bear an abundance of flowers producing a surplus of fruits that the tree is unable to support.’
      • ‘But, the birds can be brought back, if the authorities take up the planting of suitable varieties of plants, trees bearing berries and fruit.’
      • ‘True to its name, the ‘moottil pazham’ tree bears fruits only on the lower part of the trunk.’
      • ‘In a large garden consider the merits of trees bearing green fruit.’
      • ‘Moreover the trees bear fruits from October to February.’
      • ‘Even the most crooked apple tree can eventually bear good fruit.’
      • ‘The trees bearing rudraksha fruits are found in the Himalayan region, Nepal, and also in Indonesia and belong to the Eleo Carpus Ganitras type of plants.’
      • ‘It can even keep a tree from bearing any fruit at all.’
      • ‘Choose flowers that produce nectar; trees, shrubs and vines that bear fruit; or plants bearing nuts or seed that birds and other wildlife eat.’
      • ‘Even so every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.’
      • ‘The tree of liberty bears beautiful flowers, but its roots are delicate; they will grow only in suitable ground.’
      • ‘The small tree bears its fruits indiscriminately on twigs, branches, or trunk.’
      • ‘The trees grown in pots bear fruits, shed their leaves and flower around the same time as they do under natural conditions.’
      • ‘It dramatically speeds up the planting of community gardens and orchards with higher-yielding trees bearing better-quality fruits.’
      • ‘Down the whitened streets, past the whitened cars, whitened trees still bearing leaves, whitened people, we discussed society and art, and the act of creating.’
      produce, yield, give forth, give, provide, supply, generate, afford, furnish, bestow
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  • 5no object, with adverbial of direction Turn and proceed in a specified direction.

    ‘bear left and follow the old drove road’
    • ‘Follow the forestry track until you emerge from the woods, cross the bridge over a burn, then bear right up the rough, stony and often wet track which rises steeply to the Bealach na Sroine.’
    • ‘Turn right here, over a stile in the hedgerow, and bear north-eastwards across the pasture to the next stile in 250 yards.’
    • ‘Bear left when the road forks onto Lacey Drive, and then get over on the right.’
    • ‘Turn off the road as if entering the driving range but bear left - the building is straight ahead of you with a big sign in the front of it!’
    • ‘The wide forest trail begins to bear west and continues Westerly to the 5K mark which is 100m before the minor trail junction (which leads to the summit road).’
    • ‘Nature should have told him that when he heads south from Alaska during his herd's annual autumn migration to warmer water, he has to bear right at San Francisco.’
    • ‘Drive two miles along the paved road and bear right at the fork.’
    • ‘The path bears right again to curve round under the summit.’
    • ‘Bear south, then climb the steps to the northwest.’
    veer, curve, swerve, incline, turn, fork, diverge, deviate, bend
    View synonyms


Until the 18th century borne and born were simply variant forms of the past participle of bear, used interchangeably with no distinction in meaning. By around 1775, however, the present distinction in use had become established. At that time borne became the standard past participle used in all the senses listed in this dictionary entry, e.g. she has borne you another son, the findings have been borne out, and so on. Born became restricted to just one very common use, which remains the case today: in the passive, without by, as the standard, neutral way to refer to birth: she was born in 1965, he was born lucky, or I was born and bred in Gloucester


  • bear the burden of

    • Suffer the consequences of.

      ‘taxpayers bear the burden of government's mistakes’
      • ‘Everyone should agree that the burden of debt borne by many of the world's poorest nations is a serious barrier to long-term development and social justice.’
      • ‘Science cannot bear the burden we place upon it.’
      • ‘It was a lionization of the ‘good man,’ who quietly bears the burden for his neighbor.’
      • ‘The first thing that he thought about was still not how to calm down the immense dissatisfaction with the burden borne by the villagers.’
      • ‘If so, why do taxpayers need to substantially bear the burden of liability in case of accidents?’
      • ‘It seems that Marco, a well dressed, polite gentleman, has borne the burden for all these years, becoming infamous in Italy for that particular sitter.’
      • ‘A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection.’
      • ‘She said the delegation would raise issues about the burden borne by council tax payers towards the cost of the floods and the fact that many houses in Rawcliffe were still not habitable.’
      • ‘USF now bears a substantial burden of proving the serious charges it has lodged against its faculty member.’
      • ‘Italy, for example, is bearing a debt burden worth more than 106% of its annual output.’
      • ‘They are often left bearing the emotional burdens of those who are presuming to guide them, be it teacher or parent.’
      • ‘We believe society is bearing a burden for the individual behavioral choices of the smokers.’
      • ‘That liberty and freedom are something worth fighting for, worth bearing a burden for.’
      • ‘My concern is who is bearing the tax burden in those countries?’
      • ‘It is not only mothers who suffer when they fail to rise to the challenge of working what amounts to a double shift, since it is they who must bear the double burden of working and raising a family.’
      • ‘The software architecture bears the burden of explicitly monitoring safety-critical data to ensure that the data has not been corrupted.’
      • ‘Should the leaders gathered in Lusaka fail to tackle this problem, then measures must be put in place to assist countries bearing this burden.’
      • ‘What we do know is that he or she bore a dreadful burden, the stuff of every parent's nightmares.’
      • ‘For more than half a century, the people of the town that surrounds the US marine corps' base on Japan's southernmost island have borne the burden of the American presence, but not any more.’
      • ‘Corruption has become a way of life but he who bears the burden has a face.’
  • bear fruit

    • Yield positive results.

      ‘plans for power-sharing may be about to bear fruit’
      • ‘Inventor 11 might just be a milestone for Autodesk, where the promises and potential of a system finally start to bear fruit.’
      • ‘His experience of Japan in 1937-38 and his own exhibition on Tokyo bore fruit in his Mussoorie productions.’
      • ‘But the effort is yet to bear fruit.’
      • ‘His steady and competent effort bore fruit beyond estimate and stand today in near and distant places as generous monuments to his skill.’
      • ‘Despite their doubts in his project, his strong sense of faith bore fruit and now, 30 years on, his son continues the work and people from far and near visit his orchard’
      yield results, get results, succeed, meet with success, be successful, be effective, be profitable, work, go as planned
      View synonyms
  • bear a hand

    • archaic Help in a task or enterprise.

      • ‘Although it is not experienced in every part of the world, it also bears a hand in the battle for food.’
      • ‘Duty Officers always turned to the topside watch and said… ‘Son, bear a hand and assist this under-the-weather fellow into the boat.’’
      • ‘With us the demands of ship work on our bare minimum crews do not allow of a duty signaller; he must bear a hand with the rest to straighten out the day's work.’
      • ‘Your task is first to be part of the solution by not being a compounding part of the problem, and then to be able to bear a hand in helping others.’
      • ‘When danger threatened there was resort to prayer, but work soon followed as the passengers bore a hand with the crew.’
      • ‘I should have been very miserable had not Marah made me work with the men, hauling the ropes, swabbing down the decks, scrubbing the paintwork, and even bearing a hand at the tiller.’
      • ‘People crowded in from the dance-hall; odds & ends from the harbor bore a hand, and the girls took refuge behind the bar, squealing.’
      • ‘Premier Wen Jiabao bore a hand in retrieving salaries for migrant workers, practising the ‘people first’ approach.’
      • ‘Beneath the heavy, vicious nose of a Navy Corsair fighter, WAVE mechanics bear a hand in engine maintenance as they drain the oil preparatory to filling it with new oil.’
  • bear someone malice (or ill will)

    • with negativeWish someone harm.

      ‘he was only doing his job and I bore him no malice’
      • ‘But thenceforth he bore ill will towards Rollant; it seemed to him that he would never be happy while he lived because of the disgrace he had brought upon him.’
      • ‘If by that we mean a person who bears ill will toward Jews, and who, if given an opportunity, would harm the Jewish people, the answer is clearly no.’
      • ‘It should be obvious, but perhaps deserves mentioning, that none bore ill will toward the UN; none wanted the Security Council to fail in reaching a consensus.’
      • ‘And I don't bear ill will to anybody, as well as I don't bear it to myself.’
      • ‘If one therefore bore ill will towards someone then it follows that we would wish to injure them, and our intention towards them would be destructive or evil.’
      • ‘Searching for some solace, some clue that would let him know she had been happy with him, she had not bore ill will for him, that she loved him unconditionally.’
      • ‘Attell said it was cooling cocoa butter and, for many years, bore ill will towards Kilbane for this charge, which Kilbane often repeated.’
      • ‘I may or may not bear ill will toward the law school on whose waitlist I currently languish, behind individuals whose qualifications are, at best, questionably superior to my own.’
      • ‘But I don't know one veteran in my chapter who bears ill will against the Vietnamese people.’
      • ‘If Joseph bore ill will toward them did they really think they would win him over with a bag of pistachio nuts?’
      • ‘Geser tells a tale about the Virgin of Byzantium to whom somebody bore ill will and put a spell.’
      • ‘We do not know whether Boyd bore ill will toward the woman, but it is possible that he did not.’
      • ‘And among my acquaintances who ended up in Vietnam, none bore ill will or felt betrayed by civilian anti-war protest.’
      • ‘I did not like his looks at any time, and lately especially he had seemed to bear me malice.’
      • ‘If you bear me malice, wish me the opposite of luck, whatever that might be: destiny or skill, I suppose!’
      • ‘I should not bear ill will even against those those who have offended against me, and I must avoid getting into a rage, and I must make a firm effort in that direction.’
      • ‘Like most power struggles, the end result is that someone ‘loses’ and bears ill will from that point onward.’
      • ‘This tale turns on the assumption that the thieves bear ill will towards their victims, and the convenient explanation is the difference in race.’
      • ‘The athlete might pray humbly to perform with dignity, not to disparage or bear ill will toward opponents, and to set a positive example.’
  • bear a relation (or relationship) to

    • with negativeBe logically consistent with.

      ‘the map didn't seem to bear any relation to the roads’
      • ‘In fact, very little of what happens in Dreamer bears a relationship to something that happened in real life, so the ‘true story’ part of the equation is a red herring.’
      • ‘At various points in his book, he declares himself incensed by the presumption that the Iris by his side is not Iris, but a generic Alzheimer's sufferer who bears no real relation to that entity.’
      • ‘All lost weight, but the amount of weight lost bore no relation to whether participants were on a diet or not.’
      • ‘But, in women, their sleep patterns didn't seem to bear a relationship to whether or not they got diabetes.’
      • ‘But the tax bore no relation to ability to pay; within a locality every adult was charged the same amount, although millions of poor people got rebates.’
  • bear a resemblance (or similarity) to

    • Resemble.

      ‘the campus bore a faint resemblance to a military camp’
      • ‘Although their songs might lack the Seattle angst, their music bears a resemblance to the departed scene.’
      • ‘Some of the subs bear resemblance to the Biskup submarine due to its long perspective.’
      • ‘Miss Jackson is extremely tall and skinny with a very long neck, and while her body shape reminds me of a giraffe, her facial features bear a resemblance to that of a cross between a beaver and a duck.’
      • ‘A photograph of a man bearing a resemblance to Mr Bond, circulated in March last year, appears on the Interpol website.’
      • ‘What has happened to recent Evo's is that the car bears less and less resemblance to its road going counterpart and has become too recognizable IMHO.’
      • ‘The collapse of the Nasdaq bubble left the United States in a situation that bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the Japan of a decade ago.’
      • ‘Charlie couldn't help noticing that he bore a resemblance to Jerome.’
      • ‘Although dwarfed in height, it bears a resemblance to skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Centre in New York.’
      • ‘Composed of a wiry, nervous line, these creatures bear a resemblance to birds only in their beaks and feathered silhouettes; they appear closer to deformations of nature.’
      • ‘Later he was kept in jail for three days because he bore a resemblance to a photofit shown on Crimewatch.’
      • ‘What you need is a disguise that bears a resemblance to, say, Alan Dershowitz - an attorney who prefers rich, famous clients and seems to spend more time in broadcast studios than courtrooms.’
      • ‘It is odd that today's strange vehicles should bear a close resemblance to those seen by a scornful poet at London's Rotten Row a couple of generations earlier.’
      • ‘North Sumatra Police announced on Tuesday that 27-year-old Zulfan, who bears a resemblance to one of the three sketches of suspects in the Oct.12.’
      • ‘When a tiny girl bearing an uncanny resemblance to Cindy Lou-Who whispered that she liked dolls and told us her name was Becca Larson, I announced that it was time for a game.’
      • ‘He continued to ‘search’ passersby for the beautiful face he remembered from their brief, hostile acquaintance, but none of those he passed bore a resemblance to the missing lady.’
      • ‘The bolt shroud is Mauser-like but with a three position horizontal safety, which bears a resemblance to that of the Winchester M70.’
      • ‘The cop bore a resemblance to someone she used to know.’
      • ‘The reason is that I bear a resemblance to her father.’
      • ‘Sightings at a holiday resort in Norfolk have proved incorrect and a woman bearing a resemblance to Carly seen at the Notting Hill Carnival was traced.’
      • ‘Main's method of meditation bears a similarity to, but has some differences from, centering prayer as practiced and taught by Keating.’
  • bear witness (or testimony) to

    • 1Testify to.

      ‘little is left to bear witness to the past greatness of the city’
      • ‘Yes, after the many horrors he's bore witness to, I'm not surprised as to why he is so reclusive.’
      • ‘A case in point - only a week after the legislation was brought into place I personally bore witness to what could only be termed as pure stupidity as little boy racers took to the water in one of our main ports.’
      • ‘Damien ate cartloads of food every day - I bore witness to that - but never gained the body mass to prove it.’
      • ‘But, if you do that, you are not actually bearing witness to what has happened to them and it is extremely difficult.’
      • ‘The sober person will bear witness to all the messy foibles of your evening.’
      • ‘Dhaka is a city with architecture that bears witness to more than 400 years of her history.’
      • ‘It has not been an easy process and all of you can bear testimony to that.’
      • ‘I think the California energy crisis a few years back bears testimony to that.’
      • ‘My children bear witness as to how successful this is.’
      • ‘And I'd also add that the experience of Matt Cooper, who I represent, sort of bears witness to what can happen.’
      • ‘Millions of Americans gather around their television each year in early May to bear witness to what has become known as the greatest two minutes in sport.’
      • ‘Here you are bearing witness to actually terrible suffering in Australia.’
      • ‘A couple of bars still stand nearby, bearing silent witness to the passing of better days.’
      • ‘A friendly and very respectable man, the attendance at his funeral in Newbridge last week, bore testimony to his popularity in the local community.’
      • ‘He quickly summons his friends to bear witness to what they see, and, ever the methodical investigator, he even goes so far as to get them to write down what they observe and then sign their affidavits.’
      • ‘There is definitely money - 4x4 vehicles, restaurants, hotels and mansions on Luanda's beachfront bear testimony to that.’
      • ‘The old clock still works accurately bearing witness to nearly a century that is behind it.’
      • ‘The monument bears witness to 54 women who have gone missing from downtown Vancouver streets - some 15 miles from the farm - in the last two decades.’
      • ‘It breaks my heart to bear witness to what has become of T & T's social fabric as the result of the relentless pursuit of material rewards and possessions at the expense of all else.’
      • ‘I have been checking in with Win since he moved into Room 607, to bear witness to what can happen when someone society has given up on is given a fresh start.’
      testify to, be evidence of, be proof of, attest to, confirm, evidence, prove, vouch for
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1State or show one's belief in.
        ‘people bearing witness to Jesus’
        • ‘And his recent works, exhibited at the newly-opened Kashi Art Gallery in Bazar Road of Mattancherry, also bear testimony to his beliefs.’
        • ‘Of particular interest was Dennis Tupicoff's His Mother's Voice, based on a radio interview with an Australian mother bearing witness to how she discovered the sudden death of her 16-year-old son.’
        • ‘The preacher does not just bear witness to some creed - he bears witness to the truths that live in his heart and, in so doing, communicates these living truths to the hearts of others.’
        • ‘Her Edinburgh studio bears witness to this immersion in Scapa Flow.’
        • ‘We must learn from them as they bear witness to and engage the biblical witness to God's revelation.’
        • ‘The Saatchi advertising and point of sale material bears witness to the trust and passion between the 40 founding friends.’
        • ‘Poetry, in its modern role of having to suffice for the amorphous outside of other discourses, in its scavenging role as witness of the unsaid and unsayable, bears witness to rejection.’
        • ‘Faith demands a commitment to bear witness to belief in a real and practical way.’
        • ‘This life-which is bearing witness to faith-is revealed in scripture, celebrated in worship, and lived in the service of others, what I would call hospitality and care.’
        • ‘It's as if people are bearing testimony with their hair that God lives and is angry.’
        • ‘You stand in a long and honourable tradition of Christians bearing witness to the love of Christ in hard and dangerous places.’
        • ‘As a monument to the power of one man to bear witness to the Gospel - and to share that witness with millions of others - his papacy was one of the greatest ever.’
        • ‘Today's women are bombarded by images of ever-shrinking stars who seem to bear testimony to the belief that to be thin is to be happy and successful.’
        • ‘Her conversion in September bears witness to her own new found beliefs.’
  • be borne in on (or upon)

    • Come to be realized by.

      ‘the folly of her action was borne in on her’
      • ‘Elinor has her full complement of sensibility, though her capacity and her cause for suffering is late to be borne in on her inattentive family.’
      • ‘As I listened it began to be borne in on me that he was talking complete nonsense, and that I had better have a bit of a think about it.’
      • ‘The truth has been borne in upon them through their own brave stand that there can be no normal sport in an abnormal society.’
      • ‘The truth of that observation will, I think, be borne in on anyone who has watched the BBC tape, as I have.’
      • ‘Tracing the musical genealogy of any given nationalistic genre is no easy task, particularly when there are many influences brought to bear upon it.’
      • ‘He ran hard for a quarter of a mile, and at the end of that distance it began to be borne in upon him as a strange and curious thing that there were so few people about, and that there were no shops open.’
      • ‘He was a splendid worker but influence was brought to bear on him, which eventually made him decide to resign from the mission and enter the mining business.’
  • not bear thinking about

    • Be too terrible to contemplate.

      ‘what had happened to her before dying did not bear thinking about’
      • ‘What could so easily have happened to him doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘Mrs Marriner added: ‘At the time, we could almost see a funny side to it but what might have happened if my mother's condition had been more serious doesn't bear thinking about.’’
      • ‘First of all the appointment of Hamilton as the FAI's head-hunter caused mild surprise but the alternative candidate to fill that particular position doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘I'm not worried about anything else because what could have happened doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘At nine o'clock that morning, when she'd gone out to hang the wash to dry, she hadn't been able to bear the thought of staying inside all day working.’
      • ‘But many elderly people cannot bear the thought of giving up a long-established family home and moving.’
      • ‘He said: ‘What they could have done to me if I hadn't given them the keys doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about, unless you happen to be the supremely gifted chronicler of all our worst nightmares.’
      • ‘I think it is a horrible, awful road; yesterday's crash just doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘She said: ‘The number of times we have been targeted by vandals doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘The distress suffered by the residents - elderly residents of that home - doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘To have to disassemble what we have built doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘However, it's gone on for so long right now that if it is meant as a distraction, we're so royally screwed that it doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘The fact we could have been in there doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘While I am admittedly spoilt by a 15-minute cycle through parkland to work, the claustrophobia of standing armpit-to-armpit in recycled air morning and night doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘It just doesn't bear thinking about, does it?’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about what the statistics will be at the end of 2004.’
      • ‘In Cuba, for most people the future doesn't bear thinking about (more long months with no money).’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about what could happen.’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about what else could have happened and I have nothing but praise for our young member of staff who was slightly injured.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • bear away

    • Change course away from the wind.

      ‘we have borne away a little to make best speed’
  • bear down

    • (of a woman in labour) exert downwards pressure in order to push the baby out.

      • ‘You may have a strong urge to push or bear down with each contraction.’
      • ‘‘Some women actually worsen incontinence problems by bearing down rather than pulling the muscle up and in,’ she says.’
      • ‘The pain is intense and the urge to bear down and push the baby out starts now.’
      • ‘She could feel the pressure bearing down; she so desperately wanted to push but prior experience told her not to.’
      • ‘The uncontrollable urge to push took over and I bore down hard.’
  • bear down on

    • 1Move directly towards someone or something in a purposeful or intimidating manner.

      ‘at a canter they bore down on the mass of men ahead’
      • ‘England's captain Vickery stuck out a leg and tripped Emerick as he bore down on the try-line early in the first half of Saturday's game.’
      • ‘Experts said the talented footballer either fell off his bike and was hit, or purposely threw himself off it when he spotted the car bearing down on him.’
      • ‘Years ago, as I walked with a veteran guide called Cecil Evans, the two of us were confronted by a bull elephant that bore down on us with a terrible, strident scream.’
      • ‘The Australian-born athlete picked off her peers moving through the field with ease before bearing down on victory in the closing stages.’
      • ‘So, we had to work really hard to get people's attention to get them to move as a result of this awesome storm that was bearing down on us.’
      • ‘It's richly mounted, solidly acted, tautly directed - and bears down on you with a vengeance, just like that red-eyed hound from hell.’
      • ‘When Harry saw her bearing down on him with an intent look he quickly scarpered and spent the rest of the evening hiding from her.’
      • ‘We have a rebel attack vessel bearing down on us.’
      • ‘Just before the attack ended, one of the attackers bore down on Mr Najeib and bit his face, it was alleged.’
      • ‘As the Dalek bears down on him, the Doctor tries to warn the colonists that the Daleks are dedicated to the destruction of all human life.’
      • ‘Standing up, Matt almost missed his chance as Haldis bore down on him quickly, but he leapt up as the assassin approached, his right foot sailing into the air at the side of the killer's head.’
      • ‘Dander up and with the wind at their backs Dulwich showed little sympathy for their guests' plight, the Aylesbury box a veritable battle area as wave upon wave of Dulwich's attacks bore down on goal.’
      • ‘All too often Carlow attackers were allowed to bear down on goal unhindered.’
      • ‘Villa's offside trap had initially broken down to allow Henry to bear down on the Villa goal and after he cut back inside Ronnie Johnsen, he clipped his shot against the inside of the post.’
      • ‘This storm is bearing down on Jamaica, not making direct landfall, but we're seeing enough thunderstorm activity that we may see mudslides as a result.’
      • ‘Whenever I am in possession, Piranhas in blue shirts bear down on upon me like juggernauts.’
      • ‘From there the aircraft bore down on Manhattan.’
      • ‘THE US was preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Dennis last night as it bore down on the Gulf Coast after killing up to 32 people across the Caribbean.’
      • ‘Katherine saw another soldier bearing down on a helpless woman.’
      • ‘As the great beasts bore down on their attacker, their focus was taken away by the sound of an unfamiliar roar.’
      • ‘The alien life-form was inexorably bearing down on him, unstoppable, merciless and purposeful.’
      • ‘As he twisted the key, Ethan bore down on him, shoelaces flapping, pants cuffs fraying against the pavement, the uncased Strat clamped under one arm.’
      • ‘Huge wildfires still are tearing across the region, bearing down on more homes and threatening more lives.’
      • ‘Alone or in clusters, attackers bear down on him at breakneck speed, their razor-sharp blades ripping into the white ice.’
      • ‘He felt Mrs Yin had first braked unnecessarily in front of him and when he tried to overtake she accelerated, forcing him to drop back because the car coming in the opposite direction was bearing down on him.’
      advance on, close in on, move in on, converge on, approach, come close to, come closer to, move close to, move closer to, draw near to, draw nearer to, press on towards
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Take strict measures to deal with.
        ‘a commitment to bear down on inflation’
        • ‘This scheme appears to contradict the commitment to bear down on night noise.’
        • ‘The purpose of the operation is to bear down on what we believe to be concentrations of insurgents and their equipment.’
        • ‘He was especially eager to bear down on the then-flaccid economy.’
        • ‘In Phase Two of the ETS we need not only to bear down on carbon emissions (which means tighter caps all round), but also to ensure a more transparent way of allocating the emission allowances in the first place.’
        • ‘This support was not just for the benefits that membership would bring in bearing down on inflation, but also for the fiscal discipline and wider advantages it would bring, particularly for business.’
  • bear off

    • Change course away from the wind.

      • ‘Then bear off slightly, steering away from the wind (tiller away from the sails) until the sail just stops luffing.’
      • ‘Of course, once you catch a wave be sure to bear off and use it to sail down to the mark and increase your VMG.’
      • ‘I bore off under full sail and never came close to burying the boat's rail.’
      • ‘Whenever the boat slows down it pays to ease the sheet, bear off a couple of degrees and then point up again once the boat has regained speed.’
      • ‘Suddenly she leapt into overdrive as I bore off 20 or so degrees to allow for the extra sail area and increase in apparent wind.’
  • bear on

    • 1Be relevant to (something)

      ‘two kinds of theories which bear on literary studies’
      • ‘She brings the historian's craft to bear on the study of the epidemic raging at that time, and her account is both enthralling and meticulous.’
      • ‘Hendrickson skillfully incorporates relevant readings that bear on whether or not WPR requirements were met.’
      • ‘This study has absolutely no bearing on the relative therapeutic potency of butterbur and cetirizine in hay fever.’
      • ‘Both look at how extra economic factors have a bearing on labour relations.’
      • ‘Taranto's column also bears on our report from Thomas Lipscomb immediately below regarding the masks of John Kerry.’
      • ‘Does this have any bearing on the relationship between Informatica and Composite?’
      • ‘This study also bears on the nature and importance of changes in the configurational entropy on binding.’
      • ‘In this paper I want to take up certain Hindu formulations of the rasa theory which bear on aesthetic experiences, for several reasons.’
      • ‘Voltinism bears on the hypothesis, especially in regard to T2 species, in two respects.’
      • ‘So much for the outline of the theory as it bears on our present interests.’
      • ‘The science that studies it will bear on a certain kind of being, immovable substance, immaterial being, not on being as being.’
      • ‘Third, our results bear on current approaches and findings in the network literature.’
      • ‘Here again the literary dimensions of the dialogue are presented as bearing on its philosophical content.’
      • ‘In this paper, we reviewed the extant literature that appears to bear on this point.’
      • ‘Several literatures bear on the relationship between gender and New Age beliefs and practices.’
      • ‘A direct consequence of this theory of embryological origin bears on the question of species transformism.’
      • ‘One of the most valuable aspects of his work is that it brings English thinking to bear on the art and theory of Continental European modernism.’
      • ‘Here we review the animal and human studies that bear on this complex, yet common, clinical conundrum.’
      • ‘The representing homomorphisms allow the scientist to bring the powerful resources of set theory to bear on the surrogates.’
      • ‘Walker's method of attending closely to cultural contexts and bringing questions of gender to bear on the study of violent crimes yields some striking results.’
      be relevant to, appertain to, pertain to, relate to, have a bearing on, have relevance to, apply to, be pertinent to, have reference to, concern, be concerned with, have to do with, be connected with
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1with adverbialBe a burden on.
        ‘the extension of VAT to domestic fuel will bear hard on the low-paid’
        • ‘Immigrant children and youth are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, and so their prospects bear heavily on the well-being of the country.’
        • ‘In fruits and vegetables, the stimulation of ethylene production by cuts or bruises may be very large and bear considerably on storage effectiveness.’
        • ‘The turns and toils of life bear heavy on the soul of man.’
        • ‘These menu costs will bear heavily on small-medium sized enterprises.’
        • ‘These last are the levies which bear most heavily on the poor, who pay no income tax.’
  • bear something out

    • Support or confirm something.

      ‘this assumption is not borne out by any evidence’
      • ‘I think this prediction really bore itself out.’
      • ‘I'm not sure that my observation bears this assumption out, but if it is true, some thought should be given to the condition of ethics in the United States.’
      • ‘We assume that statesmen think and act in terms of interest defined as power, and the evidence of history bears that assumption out.’
      • ‘Reducing seal populations or eliminating them, contributes nothing to the recovery of fisheries, as the Canadian experience bears out.’
      • ‘I know that the Minister will bear these figures out and support me in this, because the growth in vehicle traffic grows greater than inflation every year.’
      • ‘Don Banks of Sports wrote: ‘The old debate about the offense selling tickets but defense winning championships bore itself out fittingly Sunday.’’
      • ‘But he also detects the familiar, steely resolve of a Chancellor who is convinced that they will be borne out.’
      • ‘Lai notes that the mathematical treatment was as realistic as possible, using the full so-called Navier-Stokes fluid mechanics equation, but he hopes that experimental confirmation will bear the scheme out.’
      • ‘Their opposition to slavery is borne out in Richard Popkin's studies of eighteenth-century racism.’
      • ‘Clearly, if what we've been reporting bears itself out with facts on the ground, Sistani, his prestige already high, becomes even that much higher and he really walks away with tremendous political clout, should he choose to wield it.’
      • ‘In fact these assumptions are not borne out by the events that subsequently unfolded.’
      • ‘Disc One is subtitled ‘Song Cycle No.1 for Rural Michigan ’, and the implication is that its 10 songs, recorded from 1996 to 1999, were intended to form a unified body of work, a promise that actually bears itself out pretty well.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, as this article suggests and experience tends to bear out, the masses do judge certain subjects to be more important than others.’
      • ‘Public opinion polls bear out this growing tolerance.’
      • ‘But ultimately he decided to hire us, and it bore itself out well.’
      • ‘Everything in Seymour's professional experience would seem to bear out Miller's contention.’
      • ‘Several of these early assumptions were not borne out in the final programme.’
      • ‘I had a different view in relation to Steve Martin and sadly I've been misled in terms of what he told me, but again that's human nature bearing itself out.’
      • ‘Most crucially, Ella Mae's and Peaches's assessment of socially and morally retrogressive nature of black man-white woman relationships bears itself out in Jones's eventual choice of Madge over Alice.’
      • ‘Election problems in various states such as Ohio, Virginia, Texas, California, and Florida bear them out, justifying a growing unease with electronic voting.’
      confirm, corroborate, substantiate, endorse, vindicate, give credence to, support, ratify, warrant, uphold, justify, prove, authenticate, verify
      View synonyms
  • bear up

    • Remain cheerful in the face of adversity.

      ‘she's bearing up remarkably well’
      • ‘Through it all, Ho has been bearing up as well as he can.’
      • ‘In my mind, dignity comes from bearing up under suffering we meet throughout our lives rather than letting it destroy us, and from facing fears rather than caving in to them.’
      • ‘It's a learning experience for sure, something you have to bear up for and get through.’
      • ‘She is bearing up very well, but she has had a tremendous shock.’
      • ‘He is really upset that his mum is suddenly gone, but he is bearing up really well, I am very proud of him, and I am sure his mum would be too.’
      • ‘Your Mom goes shopping with Dottie and Betty, and over low-fat frozen-yogurt in the food court they worry about how Gloria's been bearing up since her Frank went into the hospital.’
      • ‘‘I hope he is personally bearing up under the strain of all of this and obviously we will hear more this afternoon,’ he said.’
      • ‘They are very determined and they're bearing up well but their freedom has been taking away from them.’
      • ‘Edmond bore up bravely and I think even enjoyed himself quite a bit, despite a tap-dancing scene which exceeded my tolerance as well.’
      • ‘His wife is okay and bearing up at the moment and we are just very shocked by what has happened and don't really know what to say.’
      • ‘We are in touch with him and his is bearing up well and keeping himself busy.’
      • ‘He told me the Queen was bearing up bravely but that Charles couldn't speak to anyone at the moment.’
      • ‘‘Farmers are bearing up to the crisis remarkably well,’ said Mr Gullett.’
      • ‘She added: ‘Tina is bearing up as well as can be expected.’’
      • ‘The children are bearing up as well as can be expected.’
      • ‘That, and a few personal asides on how he is bearing up under the pressure he has been under over the past few months, should have sufficed as a justification for the 45 bill each member of the lobby had to stump up for the three courses.’
      • ‘Well, she is bearing up as well as she can simply because between her and my father they never left anything unsaid, particularly their love for each other.’
      • ‘A police spokeswoman said: ‘They're bearing up well considering the circumstances, but are obviously very anxious for Danielle's welfare.’’
      • ‘The victim is bearing up reasonably well considering her ordeal.’
      • ‘It'll be interesting to see how he bears up under this and what happens.’
      cope, persevere, manage, endure
      View synonyms
  • bear with

    • Be patient or tolerant with.

      ‘bear with me a moment while I make a phone call’
      • ‘For the next 48 hours, she bore with my frettings.’
      • ‘He has suffered a very long illness which he bore with resignation and courage.’
      • ‘The unprecedented scale of the bar's popularity even took us by surprise and I thank all our trade customers for bearing with us while supply caught up with demand.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The project is progressing well and motorists are being very co-operative. We want to thank them and members of the public for the way they have been bearing with us in this immensely interesting time for the city.’’
      • ‘Thank you for bearing with us, Mr Virdi, while we considered your reaction to Sir Anthony's brief statement.’
      • ‘We are grateful to people for bearing with us as we did the repairs.’
      • ‘Mr Gavin said: ‘We would like to thank staff, parents and pupils, and the community education service, for bearing with us during this time’’
      • ‘He begins to suffer from confusion, which he bears with great patience and the most moving anxiety.’
      • ‘The death took place on Monday, May 16, of Tommy Staunton, Sraheen following a long illness which he bore with great dignity and acceptance under the loving care of his wife Bridie and family.’
      • ‘Please bear with me, as I spend most of the brief time left making my case, not rebutting yours.’
      • ‘The old rationale for bearing with mere authoritarians has crumbled away with the passing of the expansionist Marxist-Leninist totalitarians.’
      • ‘She passed to her eternal reward on Wednesday, 14th Aug., after a long illness which she bore with great strength and dignity.’
      • ‘At least till then, the Usilampatti hospital patients may have to bear with the bread.’
      • ‘Gerry died after a long illness which he bore with great courage.’
      • ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love.’
      • ‘So she doubtless bore with some equanimity the news that Mr Smith has also been freed up to spend more time with his Munros.’
      • ‘The VIP tickets rocked, and I'd like to thank my wife for bearing with me while I pointed out every other journalist, colleague and showbiz I knew over the 8 hours we were there, stretched out having a picnic in front of 190,000 other people.’
      • ‘I'd like to thank local residents for bearing with us and for supporting recycling so enthusiastically.’
      • ‘Thank you for your patience in bearing with me this far.’
      • ‘Mr Proctor said: ‘Not only would we like to praise the commitment and dedication of all our hospital staff during this difficult period, but we would also like to thank our patients, their families and friends for bearing with us.’’
      be patient with, show forbearance towards, make allowances for, tolerate, put up with, endure, suffer
      View synonyms


Old English beran, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit bharati, Greek pherein, and Latin ferre.




Main definitions of bear in English

: bear1bear2



  • 1A large, heavy mammal that walks on the soles of its feet, having thick fur and a very short tail. Bears are related to the dog family but most species are omnivorous.

    Family Ursidae: several genera and species

    • ‘Dinerstein believes bears, wolves, bison, and elk are the way to go if the goal is to restore the grandeur of the Pleistocene to the Great Plains.’
    • ‘The bear, wolf, coyote, fisher, wolverine, otter, and lynx prey upon the beaver who is, nevertheless, a powerful antagonist when at bay.’
    • ‘Scenes on the mugs include mountain lions, whitetail deer, bears, rainbow trout and geese.’
    • ‘This means more bear sightings, more run-ins with humans and increasing property damage.’
    • ‘In some parts of America, people like to hunt deer, elk and bears, while in other areas they hunt wild boars.’
    • ‘These bears are omnivores and food is a top priority in their lives.’
    • ‘Multiple bear species, including polar bears and grizzlies, have been crossbred in zoos.’
    • ‘The five national and sixty six provincial parks contain a healthy population of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, bears, wolves, bison and woodland caribou.’
    • ‘Polar bears are closely related to bears like the grizzly, but are considered marine mammals since they have adopted a marine lifestyle.’
    • ‘When bears or mountain lions are killed, others come to take their territory, perpetuating the problem.’
    • ‘Occasionally the bears eat small mammals, fish, and insects for extra protein (brown bear fun facts).’
    • ‘The London zoo has an extensive collection of birds, small mammals, bears and hippos, and apes and monkeys.’
    • ‘If there were no genetic potential in the bear family to grow really thick fur, then no bears would ever have inhabited the Arctic.’
    • ‘In the morning, new tracks tell us that a bear walked right past our tent, probably following its usual route.’
    • ‘Coyotes, foxes, bears, mountain lions, and bobcats all prey on livestock.’
    • ‘He also described other cats, wolves, bears, peccaries, camels, and many other vertebrates from La Brea; the picture on the right depicts him in the field at La Brea.’
    • ‘In Squamish, cougar and bear sightings continue to increase as the animals' nearby natural habitat continues to decrease.’
    • ‘From North America came squirrels and raccoons, bears and bison, eagles and an elk.’
    • ‘Recent DNA analysis indicates that giant pandas are more closely related to bears and red pandas are more closely related to raccoons.’
    • ‘Hair samples that have been recovered from alleged Bigfoot encounters have turned out to come from elk, bears or cows.’
    1. 1.1 A teddy bear.
      • ‘The bears are collected at local fire and police departments in Massachusetts, but you can donate too.’
      • ‘Cuddly bears, toy cars, and children's books are all desperately needed for a special NSPCC Christmas party.’
      • ‘She handed him a small Icee bear toy, a silly straw, and a stack of tattoos.’
      • ‘I was close enough to listen to his patter as he gave the girl a cuddly little toy bear.’
      • ‘He had a little toy bear in his left hand, which was the side facing up.’
      • ‘At Mama's urging, Sister makes a wish on a star for a toy bear.’
      • ‘The incident was reported in the Washington Post and an enterprising Brooklyn toyshop owner had the brain wave of creating a toy bear named Teddy's Bear.’
      • ‘The GWR FM morning crew will be selling cuddly bears to raise money for Swindon Cares.’
      • ‘It has raised more than £1m through the sale of toy bears.’
      • ‘Alan and Patricia Campbell, authors of a popular series of children's books featuring a toy bear called Bromley, take a different line.’
      • ‘So, you could say I am having the best of my childhood now, buying bears, jigsaw puzzles, paper dolls and what have you.’
      • ‘Fay designed her own bear collection and after she died a New Zealand bear artist designed a teddy in her memory.’
      • ‘My stuffed bear, Cid, has quite a bit of built in presence into him.’
      • ‘For $16 I bought a bear and a tiny plastic phone at my local toy store.’
      • ‘Back to the toy stall and a battered old bear grabs your attention and you can't resist putting your hand into your pocket again.’
      • ‘Mandy grabbed Frizzy and Teddy, the bear that Mark won for her.’
      • ‘By the summer of 1906, toy bears attracted crowds of little boys and their parents along boardwalks at the seaside resorts of the Jersey Shore.’
      • ‘As a boy he cared more for the Yankees' star Mickey Mantle than for a toy bear.’
      • ‘Howard handed Schwarzenegger a pair of RM Williams boots, while the governor gave the Australian leader a toy bear.’
      • ‘Why use a friendly, cuddly bear, which is usually a toy and associated with young children, and exploit that?’
    2. 1.2informal A nickname for Russia.
  • 2A large, heavy, cumbersome man.

    ‘a lumbering bear of a man’
    • ‘When you spend a good time alone, like a week, without hardly saying a word to anyone, with hardly any phone calls, you tend to retreat into lumbering bear mode.’
    • ‘It's not fun, it does hurt, abominably, and I do feel like a lumbering bear, huffing and puffing like Pooh on a bad day.’
    • ‘Old Ottokar Brandt (Siegfried Rumann of Grand Hotel), a great bear of a man whose crippled left arm once played a gifted violin, has taught his daughter all he knows of music.’
    • ‘O'Mara, a disgruntled bear of a man, contends that the case rests entirely on the credibility of Hearst, which is shaky at best.’
    • ‘Did you ever hear someone describe a big, lumbering, warm-hearted bear of a guy?’
    1. 2.1informal A gay or bisexual man with a burly physique and a large amount of body hair.
      ‘a bar frequented by bears’
    2. 2.2dated, informal A rough, bad-mannered, or uncouth person.
      ‘if I make a mistake he goes mad with rage—he's a bear’
      • ‘He can't come across as the bad news bear, lest people decide they don't want to listen to doomsday prophesies for the next four years.’
      • ‘At least my mother never mentioned I was a bear in the morning, getting up and ready for the school bus.’
      • ‘This time Mrs. Blade calls in and she is a bear in the morning.’
      • ‘‘I go out with my mates a lot,’ she says when I suggest she might just be a little bit of a square bear.’
      • ‘He was a bear to get along with sometimes, and temperamental as the very devil, but underneath it all he was really a good man and a great man.’
    3. 2.3US informal Something that is very difficult or unpleasant to deal with.
      ‘the car is an absolute bear to operate at low speeds’
      • ‘He was a bear to get along with sometimes, and temperamental as the very devil, but underneath it all he was really a good man and a great man.’
      • ‘‘I go out with my mates a lot,’ she says when I suggest she might just be a little bit of a square bear.’
      • ‘This time Mrs. Blade calls in and she is a bear in the morning.’
      • ‘At least my mother never mentioned I was a bear in the morning, getting up and ready for the school bus.’
      • ‘He can't come across as the bad news bear, lest people decide they don't want to listen to doomsday prophesies for the next four years.’
  • 3Stock Market
    A person who sells shares hoping to buy them back later at a lower price.

    Often contrasted with bull (sense 3 of the noun)
    • ‘During a bear market the bears rule, and bulls don't stand a chance.’
    • ‘Turmoil on international stock means stock market bulls and bears have persuasive arguments, but which prognosis do you believe?’
    • ‘The bears were in control then but paid the price by staying short the market.’
    • ‘Thus, according to the gold bears, Gold Stocks are in a bear market with the current rally described as a bear market rally.’
    • ‘The bottom-shunners, the market's many bears, fall back on fundamentals.’
    • ‘Second, there is bias favoring bull speculators in the bond market vis-à-vis the bears.’
    • ‘Some of the best in the bond market say a bond bear could be at hand.’
    • ‘But the bears priced at the bottom level will not be vintage, and certainly will not be by any of these makers.’
    • ‘Every fact and expert opinion that I read has convinced me that the real drop in our economy will be a severe depression that lies ahead when the bears are in full control of the stock market.’
    • ‘The last bear in question was fund manager Tony Dye.’
    • ‘All of the late 1990's bears are now in such a deep hope.’
    • ‘Back then, a plunge in Impressionist prices touched off an art market crash; bears fret that the same thing could happen now if contemporary art prices go south.’
    • ‘When it falls below the center line, the bears are the market's leaders.’
    • ‘The same also holds true if bears push prices down but cannot achieve a close near the low, in which case a buy signal is issued.’
    • ‘This means the bears are losing their grip on the market and simple inertia is driving prices lower.’
    • ‘If bears cannot close the market near the lows during a bear market, they are weaker than they would appear on the surface.’
    • ‘Bear power, by contrast, is the capacity of bears to push prices below the moving average.’
    • ‘If prices fall to a new low but bear power shows a higher bottom, prices are falling and bears become weaker.’
    • ‘But will the market fall fast and hard as so many bears are forecasting?’
    • ‘Not surprisingly few paid attention to the bears until the stock markets peaked in early 2000 and the crash began.’


  • like a bear with a sore head

    • informal (of a person) very irritable.

      ‘he'll be like a bear with a sore head when he gets up’
      • ‘Like most ‘rugby widows’ she has become accustomed to the endless training nights, Sundays at home with the kids - and me parading round the house before games like a bear with a sore head (so that's why she's been calling me Victor Meldrew).’
      • ‘Six long weeks after bringing the curtain down on an 11-year stay at Swinton, Barrow is like a bear with a sore head.’
      • ‘And then Dave's hayfever kicks in again, sending him to bed like a bear with a sore head.’
      • ‘He's like a bear with a sore head when he's been on the beers.’
      • ‘When he finally made it he was like a bear with a sore head.’
      • ‘You're worried too, but you're not acting like a bear with a sore head.’
      • ‘Carol, to her deep chagrin, has no job, yet, and proves like a bear with a sore head until she finds one.’
      • ‘I shouldn't be yelling at you, I'm like a bear with a sore head today.’
      • ‘You've been moping around like a bear with a sore head for ages!’
      • ‘His youngest son was like a bear with a sore head, determined to rattle as many people as possible.’
  • loaded for bear

    • informal Fully prepared for any eventuality, especially a confrontation or challenge.

      ‘as my ancestors were wont to say, watch out, John Bull, I'm loaded for bear!’
      • ‘For Lehman, the Pike staff ‘came in loaded for bear.’’
      • ‘We're in the midst of a major exercise and the B52's are all prepped and ready to go; loaded for bear and ready to crush an imaginary foe.’
      • ‘I think it goes without question that you know that Penske is going to be loaded for bear because it's in their backyard.’
      • ‘The Democrats are loaded for bear on the domestic side, and Bush better be ready.’
      • ‘Loge, of Brentwood, Calif., has gone to the late rounds at just about every event he's attended and is loaded for bear.’
      • ‘With Garciaparra expected back later this month and Martinez apparently over his usual midseason health scare, the Sox could be loaded for bear like never before in the second half of the season.’
      • ‘It'll tell you that the 2000 Redskins were loaded for bear, that the 2001 Rams couldn't be stopped and that Michael Vick was destined to change the way the quarterback position is played.’
      • ‘Expedition No 2 sees the intrepid trio bound for the Congo after Goliath Tigerfish, loaded for bear.’
      • ‘Manucci's mouth is loaded for bear, and he manages to keep insulting and lying to them even under torture or threat of death.’
      • ‘Now, additionally armed with the Sony DSC-T1 pocket camera, I'm 5 megapixels across the board and loaded for bear.’
      • ‘Sure, several nations are now loaded for bear, but they all insist that they would never be the first to touch off a nuclear conflict.’
      • ‘Ashcroft went before the Commission loaded for bear.’
      • ‘This was a one-squadron show so we were out in force and loaded for bear.’
      • ‘I had a mid-afternoon case of the sleepies and now I'm wide-awake and loaded for bear.’
      • ‘No subtlety, no finesse, just 30 guys showing up, loaded for bear and ready to die.’
      • ‘There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.’
  • poke the bear

    • Deliberately provoke or antagonize someone, especially someone more powerful than oneself.

      ‘take a lesson from predecessors who have tried to challenge the company's gigantic corporate clients—don't poke the bear’


Old English bera, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch beer and German Bär.