Definition of sear in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘As the heat of the coals seared Ian's shoulder, Nick's hands tightened around Ian's throat and he couldn't breathe.’
    • ‘Worse, the horns radiated heat, searing his hands.’
    • ‘The ball was white-hot, it seared her flesh, burned all it touched.’
    • ‘His right leg was seared raw and burned almost to the bone in places.’
    • ‘As we spray and sprinkle, acrid smoke fills our eyes and heat sears our lungs.’
    • ‘He bent his head and seared her lips with a kiss that burned to her core.’
    • ‘Rodgers lay on his back, the hot concrete searing his sores but easing his muscles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How will those hardy minions survive the summer blasts of arctic air conditioning in between the bouts of broiling street heat beneath searing serge?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All I could do was watch my hand as it was seared by the heat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Data has come from flight recorders submerged in saltwater and seared by 1,000-degree temperatures.’
    • ‘The metal where Cath's hands grabbed suddenly flashed hot, searing her skin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Flames climbed one wall of the room and I choked and hacked as heat and smoke seared my lungs; blistering my skin.’
    • ‘Three years ago, Laurence Docherty's disappointment at being left out of the Sydney squad seared his mind.’
    • ‘Heat from the engine seared my side and my back, and I squirmed, trying to avoid the burning.’
    • ‘I grabbed a hold of it and started to slide but quickly felt the heat of the metal searing my hands from friction.’
    scorch, burn, singe, scald, char
    distress, grieve, sadden, make miserable, make wretched, upset, trouble, harrow, cause anguish to, afflict, perturb, disturb
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Fix (an image or memory) permanently in someone's mind or memory.
      ‘the unfortunate childhood encounter is seared on his memory’
      • ‘These are horrifying times for immigrants, with photographic images seared in their minds of foreigners being burned alive by elated crowds.’
      • ‘Images, of course, seared into our memory.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But underneath the searing humour runs a strain of deep discontent at the lives of the dispossessed in society.’
      • ‘The graphic details of it I just don't think are good for people to sear into their minds.’
      • ‘The event was "seared" into his memory.’
      • ‘Instead, it was seared into the minds of voters that the GOP was the Party of Sore Losers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No lip sync for her, only vocals thatsearedstraight into the heart.’
      • ‘This march to the south seared his soul.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every word of both letters was seared into his memory.’
      • ‘But the full story of Partition and its searing human impact had to wait for Sahni's celebrated novel Tamas.’
      • ‘To talking to Judith for four hours, a conversation fashioned into the searing performance text, voiced by Lata.’
      • ‘One searing lesson we Jews in Israel have learned from this war of terror is the fragility of life.’
      • ‘This war has already given us searing television images.’
      • ‘It is a searing look at what an immensely complicated task it is to forgive the unforgiveable.’
      • ‘For better or worse, Vietnam remains seared in our national consciousness.’
    2. 1.2Fry (food) quickly at a high temperature so that it will retain its juices in subsequent cooking.
      ‘seared chicken livers’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her main course of fresh striped bass had been seared so that the skin was slightly crispy, enclosing a melt-in-your-mouth fillet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dave had dished-up seared sirloin steak, topped with a sauce of sautéed onion, mushrooms and red wine, as an accompaniment to the Merlot.’
      • ‘This cooking method allows small pieces of food to be seared and cooked very superficially, thus retaining their texture and flavour.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The meat was seared crisp around the edges, with just a hint of rosiness at its center.’
      • ‘New cooks will learn blanching and searing and how to sauté.’
      • ‘To ensure its tenderness, the loin was first seared then cooked at a very low temperature for a couple of hours.’
      • ‘Season ribs with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on all sides.’
      • ‘Lightly coat sweetbreads in flour and sear until golden brown and crisp.’
      • ‘Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and sear scallops lightly on each side.’
      • ‘It is sensationally simple: ripe grapes are simply tossed into a pan into which you have seared Italian-style pork sausages.’
      • ‘Season the frogs' legs, dip in the eggs, coat with the bread crumbs, and sear on both sides until golden brown about three minutes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I had seared tuna steak which was absolutely stunning.’
      • ‘This allows food to sear and cook quickly, which augments flavors.’
      • ‘Season chickens and sear until brown on all sides, remove from pot and set aside.’
      • ‘He offers this simple tenderloin - quickly sautéed to sear the outside but not melt the marbling inside - for a special holiday meal.’
      • ‘To prepare her meat, she seared a 2-pound chuck roast and 4 country-style ribs in a large Dutch oven.’
      flash-fry, seal, brown, fry quickly, grill quickly, toast
      View synonyms
  • 2[no object, with adverbial of direction] (of pain) be experienced as a sudden, burning sensation.

    ‘a crushing pain seared through his chest’
    • ‘Pain seared throughout her entire body, he had cut her chest with his now long claws.’
    • ‘Suddenly pain seared through his right cheek, bringing back his senses in a wave of madness.’
    • ‘But, before she could even help with the fight, she felt a sharp pain searing through her left arm.’
    • ‘Blaise slowly got to his feet, pain searing through his head.’
    • ‘Suddenly a burning pain seared through the centre of her forehead, just above her dark eyebrows.’
    • ‘A sharp pain seared through my chest that might or might not have been related to being fresh out of a fight.’
    • ‘I nodded slightly, starting to sit up, ignoring the twinges of pain searing across my whole upper body.’
    • ‘My chest sears with pain at your words, sending a cold shiver down my spine.’
    • ‘The sudden attack shocked him, and he felt pain sear up his leg as he stepped away.’
    • ‘Pain was still searing throughout his left shoulder.’
    • ‘As pain sears through my leg, I release the rope and slump to the river bed, closing my eyes in pain.’
    • ‘Suddenly a fiery pain seared through Cliff's right side.’
    • ‘Her abdomen was a sea of agony, flames of red-hot pain searing out from the convulsed muscles.’
    • ‘Suddenly a jolt of pain seared through my body, like flames being ignited.’
    • ‘The slightest movement sent pain searing through her body.’
    • ‘Pain sears from my stomach as he embraces me but nevertheless it feels really good to be in Brian's arm.’
    • ‘Sanjeet screamed in agony, pain searing throughout his entire body.’
    • ‘Chiren yelled, pain searing all the way up to his neck.’
    • ‘She groaned, arching back suddenly as pain seared through her side.’
    • ‘I flinch as a sudden burst of pain sears through me.’
  • 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. 3.1Make (someone's conscience or feelings) insensitive.
      ‘a long career of ambition, craft, and despotic rule never utterly seared his conscience’
      • ‘A person with a seared conscience no longer has feelings toward God or His eternal laws.’
      • ‘Have we as a people had our conscience so seared that atrocities such as this cause not an eyebrow to even raise?’


  • variant spelling of sere
    • ‘The high pastureland was lush with grass, sere now after the summer's heat.’
    • ‘I saw long summer grasses, faded and sere, and trees shaped by the wind.’
    • ‘Hyacinth and Narcissus stand by, wan and sere.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But a certain bitter aura also hung about the flower; the last in bloom among sere grasses, fallen leaves, and rimy dawns.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘The flowers will die, sere stalks suggesting bones or ashes.’
    • ‘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.’


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