Definition of dear in English:

dear

adjective

  • 1Regarded with deep affection.

    ‘a dear friend’
    ‘he is very dear to me’
    • ‘A country especially dear to me, as my wife's homeland.’
    • ‘The land where the plane had landed, everything belonging to it was intensely dear to me, ‘he wrote.’’
    • ‘Early this morning, that bar, which was very dear to me, my family and my friends, burned to the ground.’
    • ‘They like to hold on tightly to what they value as near and dear to them.’
    • ‘What a shame dear ol ' TinTin couldn't make it this time!’
    • ‘Naomi… my dear youngest sister… farewell for now, " he murmured.’
    • ‘It took me a long time to learn the value of friends and I now have many who are very dear to me.’
    • ‘Yet there are surely more things close and dear to the human heart than are dreamed of in Carver's fiction.’
    • ‘She'd hate to leave her friends… they were so dear to her.’
    • ‘She is talented and very dear to me, but our concepts of music are totally different.’
    • ‘I gave everything of myself in support of the beliefs I held so dear.’
    • ‘She joined a whole secret league of the hunters after being separated from a friend very dear to her.’
    • ‘Francesca supposed she was lucky to have avoided losing anyone dear to her.’
    • ‘And there was charity attached to it, something that was dear to his heart.’
    • ‘I admittedly was pretty uneducated about this disease but it has piqued my interest in the last few months as these clients are close relatives of someone very dear to me.’
    • ‘She went quietly about her daily life and was held in fond regard by her dear friends.’
    • ‘I was nervous, certainly; afraid I might lose something dear to me.’
    • ‘Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own (Ethics of the Fathers 2: 15).’
    • ‘Likewise, we want our lives to reflect those values and goals which are dear to us, and it is a source of pleasure to us when this is so.’
    • ‘"Some dear friends from a Verdi opera were kind enough to donate these.’
    beloved, loved, much loved, darling, adored, cherished, precious
    precious, treasured, valued, prized, cherished, special, favourite, favoured
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Used in speech as a polite or affectionate form of address.
      ‘Martin, my dear fellow’
      • ‘My apologies, dear sir, and thank you for revealing truth to me!’
      • ‘Dear reader, to all of these questions I can provide no answers.’
      • ‘"Gee, nice to see you too dear brother, " Benji said grinning.’
      • ‘"So brother dear… " I started, propping myself on my pillow.’
      • ‘"Are you suggesting, dear sir, that we spoke to a ghost?’
      • ‘"It is so good to see you, as well, brother dear.’
      • ‘Today, dear reader, I have two words for you: night sweats.’
      • ‘No, dear friend… such things happen, and they happen right here in Mumbai.’
      • ‘"No… No please dear god… " she cried.’
      • ‘There engraved on the trunk was this… "Here, dear friend, I stand."’
      • ‘An excellent idea, dear fellow, to not have a television.’
      • ‘I congratulate you, my dear fellow, I really do.’
      • ‘But disappear not in my ocean of thoughts, for I will always love you dear Unc.’
      • ‘Never fear dear reader, I am alive and well.’
      • ‘"Well, for one thing, mother dear, I'm not a dog.’
      • ‘Please dear reader, read the last paragraph once more.’
      • ‘Please dear God let Pakistan win some medals this time.’
      • ‘Charles, my dear fellow, you've no idea how wonderful that made me feel.’
      • ‘Thank you for staying here dear sirs, hope you had a nice time, please do visit us again.’
      • ‘"Dinner is ready sister dear, " Mikael announces, poking his head around the door.’
      beloved, loved, much loved, darling, adored, cherished, precious
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Used in the polite form of address at the start of a letter.
      • ‘If the letter began ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’, you should sign off ‘Yours faithfully’.’
      • ‘"Dear friends world over, Nepal is closed for the time being.’
      • ‘The letter opened, "Dear Mother and Dad," and described the recent activity of the 7th Marines.’
      • ‘By the way, I thought I remembered that right at the end of "Thirteen Days", JFK was dictating a letter beginning "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Anderson.’
      • ‘The letter began, "Dear Sir, This year I spent my summer holidays on the Isle of Lylt."’
      • ‘Dear Friend: First, I want to tip my hat to you.’
      • ‘Dear BI Career Consultants: How can we measure the true impact of technology on learning and student success?’
    3. 1.3 Endearing; sweet.
      ‘a dear little puppy’
      • ‘Inevitably, she decided that a newly painted windowsill would be the better for dear little paw-prints and was duly shouted at.’
      • ‘Or perhaps she felt that I am a simpleton who would welcome such kittens in his inbox, and that when I saw its dear little ears I would be happy.’
      • ‘You wouldn't believe how much I spend each week on assorted nuts and seeds to feed the dear little birds, not forgetting the cost of bird boxes and bird tables, some of which these days have proper tiled roofs and are as big as a house.’
      • ‘One of them gave me the most poisonous looks, but later she came to me and said ‘what a dear little child.’’
      • ‘What happened to the dear little boy who used to play with you in the street?’
      • ‘That was the year James was born, and we bought our first new car, a dear little red Mini.’
      • ‘I've seen it happen more than once to some very dear, sweet people, and it's really heartbreaking to watch.’
      • ‘They both smiled at him a good deal, and one of them referred to me as ‘your dear little girl.’’
      • ‘I have some advice for members out of this dear little book, which is called The Little Book of Calm.’
      • ‘It's still a dumb haircut even on his dear little genius head.’
      • ‘Here I might be in trouble with the law again, for my dear little Jack Russell terrier Polly has had her tail docked.’
      • ‘We delivered our little dog into the tender care of the vet, and we needed to know that, whatever the outcome for our dear little dog Sally, we had the provisions set out in the Veterinarians Bill.’
      • ‘I'm staying at a dear little guesthouse a bit of a way out for a couple of days and perhaps we could meet at one of the fringe meetings Boris will be addressing?’
      • ‘In the course of the last half hour the sheep have been efficiently caught by Dr Biswell, and I have fired a nasty looking white gloop down their dear little throats with a syringe.’
      • ‘But Jimmy Grimble smells like a sweet and innocuous film from the get-go, thus we know someone's going to get their comeuppance, and it isn't dear little Jimmy.’
      • ‘How could Garfield be so cruel to that dear little mouse?’
      • ‘It would seem that Sammy's dear little darling sister has struck again.’
      • ‘But eventually, even a Labrador's jaw will tire, at which point the dear little animal will inevitably leave the thing where it can most conveniently be fallen over by someone carrying a full mug of hot liquid.’
      • ‘It was quite a pleasant excursion for the dear little thing.’
      • ‘It wasn't that Uncle Henry's house wasn't pretty, but I did miss my dear little swing.’
      endearing, adorable, lovable, appealing, engaging, charming, enchanting, captivating, winsome, winning, attractive, lovely, nice, pleasant, delightful, angelic, sweet, darling
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  • 2British Expensive.

    ‘five pounds—that's a bit dear!’
    • ‘His wife dying, his children scattered, he has paid a dear price for his act of defiance.’
    • ‘The end result will lead to sharp cuts in pensions, endowments and other investment returns for its members, who will now have to pay a dear price for a series of catastrophic management blunders.’
    • ‘Customers think organic food is too dear.’
    • ‘He had extraordinary luck; he met a dealer with just what he needed, although he paid a dear price for them.’
    • ‘I don't use the blank rune any longer, but before the Age of the Internet when information was dear and costly, I used it and didn't have a problem with it.’
    • ‘We are ready to pay a very dear price for this peace.’
    • ‘The passenger was not happy with the Metrolink service, and said ticket prices were very dear.’
    • ‘Premiums are dear, typically in the range of $1 million per $25 million coverage.’
    • ‘Tax payers are getting tired of always having to pay the dear price for the conduct of irresponsible and insensitive members of the public.’
    • ‘They say these payments make it too dear to shoot films in the republic.’
    • ‘She was forced to pay the £4 taxi fare from her benefits, which soon became too dear.’
    • ‘A Philadelphia customer admired the company's cut glass but hesitated to buy any because it was ‘most extravagantly dear.’’
    • ‘But Americans had to pay a dear price for that questionable privilege.’
    expensive, costly, high-cost, high-priced, highly priced, big-budget, overpriced, exorbitant, extortionate
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noun

  • 1Used as an affectionate or friendly form of address.

    ‘don't you worry, dear’
    • ‘"Sorry, Dear, " smiled Izumi, contradicting her husband.’
    • ‘‘Well, be careful where you go, my dears,’ she warned.’
    • ‘Make sure you don't spoil your dinner, dears.’
    • ‘I restated my plight and asked: who might you be, my dear?’
    • ‘Then, she looked at my friend and said, ‘But you need a bigger pair, my dear.’’
    • ‘On hearing our lament for a country gone frankly insane, she simply suggested, ‘Well, dears, why don't you move here?’
    • ‘‘You're awfully late, dear,’ Prince Alfonso was heard to mutter in English.’
    • ‘Well dear are you sure you'll be okay if I send you alone?’
    • ‘"He'll be fine, don't worry dear, " Trudy confirmed.’
    • ‘A young nurse put me to bed and said: ‘Would you like a nice cuppa tea, dear?’’
    • ‘"Ok dear, I'll leave you here with Cassandra while I go finish some preparations.’
    • ‘Never let it be said that I don't have high expectations of you, my dears.’
    • ‘"I hope you know how much we love you dear, " she said as she hugged her daughter.’
    • ‘I'll do anything, for you, dear, anything, 'cause you mean everything to me.’
    • ‘After a moment had passed she smiled and said, " Of course, dear!"’
    • ‘It was fine, dear, but please do be polite to your sister and let her finish.’
    • ‘"Now dear, it is quite alright to cry in situations like these.’
    • ‘I thought you'd want what I want - sorry, my dear.’
    • ‘"Good morning dear, " they both said as the three exchanged kisses.’
    • ‘So he says to the first, ‘How much do you love me, my dear?’’
    darling, dearest, love, beloved, loved one, sweetheart, sweet, precious, treasure
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    1. 1.1 A sweet or endearing person.
      ‘Harry's a dear’
      • ‘Oh, he is such a dear.’
      • ‘Sanjuro, I am sure you are much more mature than my own son, so could you be a good sweet dear and pass me that bundt cake pan?’
      • ‘The poor old dear was probably out of her mind with worry by now.’
      • ‘But Sara didn't know how she could cheer the little dear's father.’
      • ‘Yes unfortunately she died sometime in the night, poor old dear.’
      • ‘And people look as if the poor old dear has said something obscene.’
      lovable person, adorable person, endearing person
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adverb

British
  • At a high cost.

    ‘they buy property cheaply and sell dear’
    • ‘If nothing else, Sircam and Nimda have established one thing: when it comes to viruses, ignorant staff can cost your company dear.’
    • ‘But the combination of political spin and media hype cost investors dear.’
    • ‘Motoring organisations have been worried by new legislation, which is awaiting its second reading in the European Parliament, that could cost motorists dear.’
    • ‘Buy cheap and sell dear, and that goes for people and the results of their labour.’
    • ‘Fraud Squad officers from North Yorkshire police say they have encountered reports of several ‘scams’ which have cost local people dear.’
    • ‘The continuing dispute has, however, still cost the company dear.’
    • ‘An immature and petulant display by the centre-back cost his side dear as the game progressed.’
    • ‘The decline in service standards - which unions blame on a shortage of trained staff - are likely to cost the company dear.’
    • ‘Common sense (which is a surprisingly rare commodity) tells us we should buy cheap and sell dear.’
    • ‘Yet this costs the bank dear, because it carefully screens out companies which would like a Co-op account but which breach its guidelines.’
    • ‘Then came the long years of the cold war which saw the Soviet Union continue to blindly follow communism even though that pursuit cost it and its people dear.’
    • ‘If a merchant is one who buys cheap and sells dear, Kirch broke that golden rule by buying dear with money he didn't have.’
    at a high price, at an excessive price, at an exorbitant price, at high cost, at great cost
    View synonyms

exclamation

  • Used in expressions of surprise, dismay, or sympathy.

    ‘oh dear, I've upset you’
    • ‘She started painting when she was told she was box office poison, and she thought, Oh, dear, it's going to be a long, sad period of life, and I've got to do something or I'll go crazy.’
    • ‘They described Jackson as ‘a bespectacled Australian’ - oh dear!’
    • ‘Yes - the number had been disconnected - oh dear!’
    • ‘If you're a card-holder then you might be thinking ‘Oh dear!’’
    • ‘I've had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to war, thinking oh, dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will hear what I'm saying.’
    • ‘And she said, oh, dear, to think I am to blame for that.’
    • ‘Then they went and ruined it all by upgrading to a new site - oh dear!’
    • ‘A few miles further on they will drive calmly past the carnage they have caused, and remark primly to each other ‘Oh dear!’’

Phrases

  • for dear life

Origin

Old English dēore, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dier ‘beloved’, also to Dutch duur and German teuer ‘expensive’.

Pronunciation

dear

/dɪə/