Definition of dear in English:

dear

adjective

  • 1Regarded with deep affection:

    ‘a dear friend’
    ‘he is very dear to me’
    • ‘She joined a whole secret league of the hunters after being separated from a friend very dear to her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Francesca supposed she was lucky to have avoided losing anyone dear to her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It took me a long time to learn the value of friends and I now have many who are very dear to me.’
    • ‘They like to hold on tightly to what they value as near and dear to them.’
    • ‘I gave everything of myself in support of the beliefs I held so dear.’
    • ‘What a shame dear ol ' TinTin couldn't make it this time!’
    • ‘Naomi… my dear youngest sister… farewell for now, " he murmured.’
    • ‘The land where the plane had landed, everything belonging to it was intensely dear to me, ‘he wrote.’’
    • ‘Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own (Ethics of the Fathers 2: 15).’
    • ‘I was nervous, certainly; afraid I might lose something dear to me.’
    • ‘She went quietly about her daily life and was held in fond regard by her dear friends.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And there was charity attached to it, something that was dear to his heart.’
    • ‘She is talented and very dear to me, but our concepts of music are totally different.’
    • ‘Early this morning, that bar, which was very dear to me, my family and my friends, burned to the ground.’
    • ‘"Some dear friends from a Verdi opera were kind enough to donate these.’
    • ‘A country especially dear to me, as my wife's homeland.’
    beloved, loved, much loved, darling, adored, cherished, precious
    precious, treasured, valued, prized, cherished, special, favourite, favoured
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    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.’
      • ‘I congratulate you, my dear fellow, I really do.’
      • ‘"Gee, nice to see you too dear brother, " Benji said grinning.’
      • ‘"So brother dear… " I started, propping myself on my pillow.’
      • ‘But disappear not in my ocean of thoughts, for I will always love you dear Unc.’
      • ‘Dear reader, to all of these questions I can provide no answers.’
      • ‘Today, dear reader, I have two words for you: night sweats.’
      • ‘Charles, my dear fellow, you've no idea how wonderful that made me feel.’
      • ‘There engraved on the trunk was this… "Here, dear friend, I stand."’
      • ‘No, dear friend… such things happen, and they happen right here in Mumbai.’
      • ‘Thank you for staying here dear sirs, hope you had a nice time, please do visit us again.’
      • ‘"No… No please dear god… " she cried.’
      • ‘Please dear God let Pakistan win some medals this time.’
      • ‘"Well, for one thing, mother dear, I'm not a dog.’
      • ‘"Are you suggesting, dear sir, that we spoke to a ghost?’
      • ‘"It is so good to see you, as well, brother dear.’
      • ‘"Dinner is ready sister dear, " Mikael announces, poking his head around the door.’
      • ‘Never fear dear reader, I am alive and well.’
      • ‘My apologies, dear sir, and thank you for revealing truth to me!’
      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.
      • ‘If the letter began ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’, you should sign off ‘Yours faithfully’.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘"Dear friends world over, Nepal is closed for the time being.’
      • ‘Dear Friend: First, I want to tip my hat to you.’
    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.’
      • ‘I've seen it happen more than once to some very dear, sweet people, and it's really heartbreaking to watch.’
      • ‘I have some advice for members out of this dear little book, which is called The Little Book of Calm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What happened to the dear little boy who used to play with you in the street?’
      • ‘It would seem that Sammy's dear little darling sister has struck again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One of them gave me the most poisonous looks, but later she came to me and said ‘what a dear little child.’’
      • ‘It's still a dumb haircut even on his dear little genius head.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How could Garfield be so cruel to that dear little mouse?’
      • ‘Here I might be in trouble with the law again, for my dear little Jack Russell terrier Polly has had her tail docked.’
      • ‘That was the year James was born, and we bought our first new car, a dear little red Mini.’
      • ‘It wasn't that Uncle Henry's house wasn't pretty, but I did miss my dear little swing.’
      • ‘It was quite a pleasant excursion for the dear little thing.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They both smiled at him a good deal, and one of them referred to me as ‘your dear little girl.’’
      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!’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘They say these payments make it too dear to shoot films in the republic.’
    • ‘Customers think organic food is too dear.’
    • ‘Tax payers are getting tired of always having to pay the dear price for the conduct of irresponsible and insensitive members of the public.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had extraordinary luck; he met a dealer with just what he needed, although he paid a dear price for them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His wife dying, his children scattered, he has paid a dear price for his act of defiance.’
    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’
    • ‘‘You're awfully late, dear,’ Prince Alfonso was heard to mutter in English.’
    • ‘After a moment had passed she smiled and said, " Of course, dear!"’
    • ‘"Now dear, it is quite alright to cry in situations like these.’
    • ‘On hearing our lament for a country gone frankly insane, she simply suggested, ‘Well, dears, why don't you move here?’
    • ‘"Good morning dear, " they both said as the three exchanged kisses.’
    • ‘"Sorry, Dear, " smiled Izumi, contradicting her husband.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘It was fine, dear, but please do be polite to your sister and let her finish.’
    • ‘I restated my plight and asked: who might you be, my dear?’
    • ‘"Ok dear, I'll leave you here with Cassandra while I go finish some preparations.’
    • ‘Then, she looked at my friend and said, ‘But you need a bigger pair, my dear.’’
    • ‘"He'll be fine, don't worry dear, " Trudy confirmed.’
    • ‘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?’’
    • ‘"I hope you know how much we love you dear, " she said as she hugged her daughter.’
    • ‘A young nurse put me to bed and said: ‘Would you like a nice cuppa tea, dear?’’
    • ‘‘Well, be careful where you go, my dears,’ she warned.’
    • ‘Make sure you don't spoil your dinner, dears.’
    • ‘I'll do anything, for you, dear, anything, 'cause you mean everything to me.’
    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’
      • ‘Yes unfortunately she died sometime in the night, poor old dear.’
      • ‘The poor old dear was probably out of her mind with worry by now.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Oh, he is such a dear.’
      • ‘But Sara didn't know how she could cheer the little dear's father.’
      • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Buy cheap and sell dear, and that goes for people and the results of their labour.’
    • ‘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 decline in service standards - which unions blame on a shortage of trained staff - are likely to 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.’
    • ‘Common sense (which is a surprisingly rare commodity) tells us we should buy cheap and sell dear.’
    • ‘Motoring organisations have been worried by new legislation, which is awaiting its second reading in the European Parliament, that could cost motorists 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.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘They described Jackson as ‘a bespectacled Australian’ - 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!’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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/