Definition of dear in English:

dear

adjective

  • 1Regarded with deep affection.

    ‘a dear friend’
    ‘he is very dear to me’
    • ‘And there was charity attached to it, something that was dear to his heart.’
    • ‘It took me a long time to learn the value of friends and I now have many who are very dear to me.’
    • ‘She is talented and very dear to me, but our concepts of music are totally different.’
    • ‘What a shame dear ol ' TinTin couldn't make it this time!’
    • ‘I was nervous, certainly; afraid I might lose something dear to me.’
    • ‘They like to hold on tightly to what they value as near and dear to them.’
    • ‘Naomi… my dear youngest sister… farewell for now, " he murmured.’
    • ‘Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own (Ethics of the Fathers 2: 15).’
    • ‘Early this morning, that bar, which was very dear to me, my family and my friends, burned to the ground.’
    • ‘She'd hate to leave her friends… they were so dear to her.’
    • ‘Francesca supposed she was lucky to have avoided losing anyone dear to her.’
    • ‘She joined a whole secret league of the hunters after being separated from a friend very dear to her.’
    • ‘She went quietly about her daily life and was held in fond regard by her dear friends.’
    • ‘The land where the plane had landed, everything belonging to it was intensely dear to me, ‘he wrote.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A country especially dear to me, as my wife's homeland.’
    • ‘Yet there are surely more things close and dear to the human heart than are dreamed of in Carver's fiction.’
    • ‘"Some dear friends from a Verdi opera were kind enough to donate these.’
    • ‘I gave everything of myself in support of the beliefs I held so dear.’
    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’
      • ‘Please dear reader, read the last paragraph once more.’
      • ‘An excellent idea, dear fellow, to not have a television.’
      • ‘Charles, my dear fellow, you've no idea how wonderful that made me feel.’
      • ‘"Are you suggesting, dear sir, that we spoke to a ghost?’
      • ‘Dear reader, to all of these questions I can provide no answers.’
      • ‘"It is so good to see you, as well, brother dear.’
      • ‘There engraved on the trunk was this… "Here, dear friend, I stand."’
      • ‘"Dinner is ready sister dear, " Mikael announces, poking his head around the door.’
      • ‘"No… No please dear god… " she cried.’
      • ‘Please dear God let Pakistan win some medals this time.’
      • ‘Never fear dear reader, I am alive and well.’
      • ‘Today, dear reader, I have two words for you: night sweats.’
      • ‘No, dear friend… such things happen, and they happen right here in Mumbai.’
      • ‘I congratulate you, my dear fellow, I really do.’
      • ‘Thank you for staying here dear sirs, hope you had a nice time, please do visit us again.’
      • ‘My apologies, dear sir, and thank you for revealing truth to me!’
      • ‘"So brother dear… " I started, propping myself on my pillow.’
      • ‘"Well, for one thing, mother dear, I'm not a dog.’
      • ‘But disappear not in my ocean of thoughts, for I will always love you dear Unc.’
      • ‘"Gee, nice to see you too dear brother, " Benji said grinning.’
      beloved, loved, much loved, darling, adored, cherished, precious
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    2. 1.2 Used in the polite form of address at the start of a letter.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the letter began ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’, you should sign off ‘Yours faithfully’.’
      • ‘Dear Friend: First, I want to tip my hat to you.’
      • ‘The letter opened, "Dear Mother and Dad," and described the recent activity of the 7th Marines.’
      • ‘Dear BI Career Consultants: How can we measure the true impact of technology on learning and student success?’
      • ‘The letter began, "Dear Sir, This year I spent my summer holidays on the Isle of Lylt."’
      • ‘"Dear friends world over, Nepal is closed for the time being.’
    3. 1.3 Endearing; sweet.
      ‘a dear little puppy’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How could Garfield be so cruel to that dear little mouse?’
      • ‘It's still a dumb haircut even on his dear little genius head.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was quite a pleasant excursion for the dear little thing.’
      • ‘It would seem that Sammy's dear little darling sister has struck again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Inevitably, she decided that a newly painted windowsill would be the better for dear little paw-prints and was duly shouted at.’
      • ‘One of them gave me the most poisonous looks, but later she came to me and said ‘what a dear little child.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It wasn't that Uncle Henry's house wasn't pretty, but I did miss my dear little swing.’
      • ‘That was the year James was born, and we bought our first new car, a dear little red Mini.’
      • ‘They both smiled at him a good deal, and one of them referred to me as ‘your dear little girl.’’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘I have some advice for members out of this dear little book, which is called The Little Book of Calm.’
      • ‘Here I might be in trouble with the law again, for my dear little Jack Russell terrier Polly has had her tail docked.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What happened to the dear little boy who used to play with you in the street?’
      • ‘I've seen it happen more than once to some very dear, sweet people, and it's really heartbreaking to watch.’
      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!’
    • ‘He had extraordinary luck; he met a dealer with just what he needed, although he paid a dear price for them.’
    • ‘Tax payers are getting tired of always having to pay the dear price for the conduct of irresponsible and insensitive members of the public.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They say these payments make it too dear to shoot films in the republic.’
    • ‘His wife dying, his children scattered, he has paid a dear price for his act of defiance.’
    • ‘A Philadelphia customer admired the company's cut glass but hesitated to buy any because it was ‘most extravagantly dear.’’
    • ‘Customers think organic food is too dear.’
    • ‘The passenger was not happy with the Metrolink service, and said ticket prices were very dear.’
    • ‘But Americans had to pay a dear price for that questionable privilege.’
    • ‘We are ready to pay a very dear price for this peace.’
    • ‘She was forced to pay the £4 taxi fare from her benefits, which soon became too dear.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Premiums are dear, typically in the range of $1 million per $25 million coverage.’
    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’
    • ‘I thought you'd want what I want - sorry, my dear.’
    • ‘Well dear are you sure you'll be okay if I send you alone?’
    • ‘"Now dear, it is quite alright to cry in situations like these.’
    • ‘Never let it be said that I don't have high expectations of you, my dears.’
    • ‘So he says to the first, ‘How much do you love me, my dear?’’
    • ‘On hearing our lament for a country gone frankly insane, she simply suggested, ‘Well, dears, why don't you move here?’
    • ‘It was fine, dear, but please do be polite to your sister and let her finish.’
    • ‘After a moment had passed she smiled and said, " Of course, dear!"’
    • ‘‘Well, be careful where you go, my dears,’ she warned.’
    • ‘A young nurse put me to bed and said: ‘Would you like a nice cuppa tea, dear?’’
    • ‘"I hope you know how much we love you dear, " she said as she hugged her daughter.’
    • ‘Make sure you don't spoil your dinner, dears.’
    • ‘‘You're awfully late, dear,’ Prince Alfonso was heard to mutter in English.’
    • ‘"Sorry, Dear, " smiled Izumi, contradicting her husband.’
    • ‘Then, she looked at my friend and said, ‘But you need a bigger pair, my dear.’’
    • ‘I'll do anything, for you, dear, anything, 'cause you mean everything to me.’
    • ‘"Good morning dear, " they both said as the three exchanged kisses.’
    • ‘I restated my plight and asked: who might you be, my dear?’
    • ‘"He'll be fine, don't worry dear, " Trudy confirmed.’
    • ‘"Ok dear, I'll leave you here with Cassandra while I go finish some preparations.’
    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’
      • ‘The poor old dear was probably out of her mind with worry by now.’
      • ‘And people look as if the poor old dear has said something obscene.’
      • ‘But Sara didn't know how she could cheer the little dear's father.’
      • ‘Oh, he is such a dear.’
      • ‘Yes unfortunately she died sometime in the night, poor old 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?’
      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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet this costs the bank dear, because it carefully screens out companies which would like a Co-op account but which breach its guidelines.’
    • ‘The continuing dispute has, however, still cost the company dear.’
    • ‘Fraud Squad officers from North Yorkshire police say they have encountered reports of several ‘scams’ which have cost local people dear.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Motoring organisations have been worried by new legislation, which is awaiting its second reading in the European Parliament, that could cost motorists dear.’
    • ‘Common sense (which is a surprisingly rare commodity) tells us we should buy cheap and sell dear.’
    • ‘Buy cheap and sell dear, and that goes for people and the results of their labour.’
    • ‘The decline in service standards - which unions blame on a shortage of trained staff - are likely to cost the company dear.’
    • ‘An immature and petulant display by the centre-back cost his side dear as the game progressed.’
    • ‘But the combination of political spin and media hype cost investors dear.’
    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’
    • ‘A few miles further on they will drive calmly past the carnage they have caused, and remark primly to each other ‘Oh dear!’’
    • ‘Yes - the number had been disconnected - oh dear!’
    • ‘And she said, oh, dear, to think I am to blame for that.’
    • ‘If you're a card-holder then you might be thinking ‘Oh dear!’’
    • ‘They described Jackson as ‘a bespectacled Australian’ - 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then they went and ruined it all by upgrading to a new site - 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/