Definition of sear in English:



[with object]
  • 1Burn or scorch the surface of (something) with a sudden, intense heat.

    ‘the water got so hot that it seared our lips’
    figurative ‘a sharp pang of disappointment seared her’
    • ‘But the effect of her forgetfulness was that her successor, Stephen Lander, took the heat of some searing criticism for decisions for which he had no responsibility.’
    • ‘Heat from the engine seared my side and my back, and I squirmed, trying to avoid the burning.’
    • ‘Rodgers lay on his back, the hot concrete searing his sores but easing his muscles.’
    • ‘Flames climbed one wall of the room and I choked and hacked as heat and smoke seared my lungs; blistering my skin.’
    • ‘Worse, the horns radiated heat, searing his hands.’
    • ‘The metal where Cath's hands grabbed suddenly flashed hot, searing her skin.’
    • ‘As the heat of the coals seared Ian's shoulder, Nick's hands tightened around Ian's throat and he couldn't breathe.’
    • ‘How will those hardy minions survive the summer blasts of arctic air conditioning in between the bouts of broiling street heat beneath searing serge?’
    • ‘I grabbed a hold of it and started to slide but quickly felt the heat of the metal searing my hands from friction.’
    • ‘The other kind of trailer is the one that knocks your socks off, stands your hair on end, sears the retina and leaves you gasping.’
    • ‘Even though the sun was near the horizon, it still sent out waves of intense heat that seared the ground until it was bone dry.’
    • ‘All I could do was watch my hand as it was seared by the heat.’
    • ‘The ball was white-hot, it seared her flesh, burned all it touched.’
    • ‘Three years ago, Laurence Docherty's disappointment at being left out of the Sydney squad seared his mind.’
    • ‘I never once believed I was in the presence of real grief (the kind that sears the soul and burns the heart), just a Hollywood-generated masquerade.’
    • ‘Data has come from flight recorders submerged in saltwater and seared by 1,000-degree temperatures.’
    • ‘His right leg was seared raw and burned almost to the bone in places.’
    • ‘He bent his head and seared her lips with a kiss that burned to her core.’
    • ‘He could see the furnaces where he had worked, the heat from the bright, white hot metal searing the faces of the workmen as they poured and ladled it into the casting moulds.’
    • ‘As we spray and sprinkle, acrid smoke fills our eyes and heat sears our lungs.’
    scorch, burn, singe, scald, char
    distress, grieve, sadden, make miserable, make wretched, upset, trouble, harrow, cause anguish to, afflict, perturb, disturb
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Fix (an image or memory) permanently in someone's mind or memory.
      ‘the unfortunate childhood encounter is seared on his memory’
      • ‘This war has already given us searing television images.’
      • ‘The Net doesn't affect us like a searing image on the television, galvanizing a nation.’
      • ‘It's most searing experience remains the Vietnam War.’
      • ‘But underneath the searing humour runs a strain of deep discontent at the lives of the dispossessed in society.’
      • ‘No lip sync for her, only vocals thatsearedstraight into the heart.’
      • ‘For better or worse, Vietnam remains seared in our national consciousness.’
      • ‘It is a searing look at what an immensely complicated task it is to forgive the unforgiveable.’
      • ‘The graphic details of it I just don't think are good for people to sear into their minds.’
      • ‘Images, of course, seared into our memory.’
      • ‘The following morning, a searing migraine slices through my brain vacated by opiates.’
      • ‘There was no hope for Mr. Bingley to be hers, and that knowledge seared her heart.’
      • ‘Every word of both letters was seared into his memory.’
      • ‘Instead, it was seared into the minds of voters that the GOP was the Party of Sore Losers.’
      • ‘This march to the south seared his soul.’
      • ‘My mind is seared by the memory of our arrival at the orphanage, a group of girls aged 7 to 10, smiling, laughing, waving to us from a balcony.’
      • ‘To talking to Judith for four hours, a conversation fashioned into the searing performance text, voiced by Lata.’
      • ‘These are horrifying times for immigrants, with photographic images seared in their minds of foreigners being burned alive by elated crowds.’
      • ‘The event was "seared" into his memory.’
      • ‘One searing lesson we Jews in Israel have learned from this war of terror is the fragility of life.’
      • ‘But the full story of Partition and its searing human impact had to wait for Sahni's celebrated novel Tamas.’
    2. 1.2 Fry (food) quickly at a high temperature so that it will retain its juices in subsequent cooking.
      ‘sear the chicken livers in a pan for a few minutes on each side’
      • ‘Lightly coat sweetbreads in flour and sear until golden brown and crisp.’
      • ‘In a heavy frying pan, briskly sear the steaks on one side until well browned, turn once and cook briefly for a medium-rare result.’
      • ‘The meat was seared crisp around the edges, with just a hint of rosiness at its center.’
      • ‘The unique characteristic of this charcoal is that it can heat up to a very high temperature, which helps sear the meat and lock in its juice.’
      • ‘Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and sear scallops lightly on each side.’
      • ‘Season ribs with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on all sides.’
      • ‘This allows food to sear and cook quickly, which augments flavors.’
      • ‘To ensure its tenderness, the loin was first seared then cooked at a very low temperature for a couple of hours.’
      • ‘Her main course of fresh striped bass had been seared so that the skin was slightly crispy, enclosing a melt-in-your-mouth fillet.’
      • ‘He offers this simple tenderloin - quickly sautéed to sear the outside but not melt the marbling inside - for a special holiday meal.’
      • ‘It is sensationally simple: ripe grapes are simply tossed into a pan into which you have seared Italian-style pork sausages.’
      • ‘New cooks will learn blanching and searing and how to sauté.’
      • ‘To prepare her meat, she seared a 2-pound chuck roast and 4 country-style ribs in a large Dutch oven.’
      • ‘Season chickens and sear until brown on all sides, remove from pot and set aside.’
      • ‘They pluck out thick slices of tandoori chicken seared over flaming coals, dip them in mint chutney and stuff them into the mouth with passion.’
      • ‘Season the frogs' legs, dip in the eggs, coat with the bread crumbs, and sear on both sides until golden brown about three minutes.’
      • ‘I had seared tuna steak which was absolutely stunning.’
      • ‘Dave had dished-up seared sirloin steak, topped with a sauce of sautéed onion, mushrooms and red wine, as an accompaniment to the Merlot.’
      • ‘Lightly press both sides of the tuna into the sea salt and coarsely cracked black pepper, and sear the tuna on one side until browned.’
      • ‘This cooking method allows small pieces of food to be seared and cooked very superficially, thus retaining their texture and flavour.’
      flash-fry, seal, brown, fry quickly, grill quickly, toast
      View synonyms
  • 2no object, with adverbial of direction (of pain) be experienced as a sudden, burning sensation.

    ‘a crushing pain seared through his chest’
    • ‘I nodded slightly, starting to sit up, ignoring the twinges of pain searing across my whole upper body.’
    • ‘Chiren yelled, pain searing all the way up to his neck.’
    • ‘Suddenly pain seared through his right cheek, bringing back his senses in a wave of madness.’
    • ‘Sanjeet screamed in agony, pain searing throughout his entire body.’
    • ‘She groaned, arching back suddenly as pain seared through her side.’
    • ‘As pain sears through my leg, I release the rope and slump to the river bed, closing my eyes in pain.’
    • ‘Pain was still searing throughout his left shoulder.’
    • ‘I flinch as a sudden burst of pain sears through me.’
    • ‘Her abdomen was a sea of agony, flames of red-hot pain searing out from the convulsed muscles.’
    • ‘My chest sears with pain at your words, sending a cold shiver down my spine.’
    • ‘Pain seared throughout her entire body, he had cut her chest with his now long claws.’
    • ‘Blaise slowly got to his feet, pain searing through his head.’
    • ‘The sudden attack shocked him, and he felt pain sear up his leg as he stepped away.’
    • ‘Suddenly a jolt of pain seared through my body, like flames being ignited.’
    • ‘The slightest movement sent pain searing through her body.’
    • ‘But, before she could even help with the fight, she felt a sharp pain searing through her left arm.’
    • ‘Suddenly a fiery pain seared through Cliff's right side.’
    • ‘A sharp pain seared through my chest that might or might not have been related to being fresh out of a fight.’
    • ‘Suddenly a burning pain seared through the centre of her forehead, just above her dark eyebrows.’
    • ‘Pain sears from my stomach as he embraces me but nevertheless it feels really good to be in Brian's arm.’
  • 3archaic Cause to wither.

    ‘when summer sears the plains’
    • ‘Scattered along fertile valleys, between sands and snows, most Afghan people farm land which is seared by 40 Centigrade summers, and is snowbound by the long, cold winters.’
    1. 3.1 Make (someone's conscience or feelings) insensitive.
      ‘a long career of ambition, craft, and despotic rule never utterly seared his conscience’
      • ‘Have we as a people had our conscience so seared that atrocities such as this cause not an eyebrow to even raise?’
      • ‘A person with a seared conscience no longer has feelings toward God or His eternal laws.’


  • variant spelling of sere
    • ‘Inspired by this statement, Porter tried to make art out of decay, to make, he explained, ‘the sere, brown leaves of winter’ seem ‘as beautiful as the fresh green of spring.’’
    • ‘Approaching the small township of Pripyat, downwind from the disaster, we passed through a belt of pinewoods, sere and withered, the needles distorted as if scorched by unseen flame.’
    • ‘The high pastureland was lush with grass, sere now after the summer's heat.’
    • ‘The flowers will die, sere stalks suggesting bones or ashes.’
    • ‘Hyacinth and Narcissus stand by, wan and sere.’
    • ‘But a certain bitter aura also hung about the flower; the last in bloom among sere grasses, fallen leaves, and rimy dawns.’
    • ‘I saw long summer grasses, faded and sere, and trees shaped by the wind.’
    • ‘He was lying on a small camp-bedstead in a corner between the fireplace and the wall, and in a glass on a mantelpiece was an arum lily, sere and yellow, which drooped lamentably down over his head.’


Old English sēar (adjective), sēarian (verb), of Germanic origin.