Main definitions of bear in US English:

: bear1bear2


verbbore, borne

[with object]
  • 1(of a person) carry.

    ‘he was bearing a tray of brimming glasses’
    ‘the warriors bore lances tipped with iron’
    • ‘The shield maiden would bear the maiden warrior's shield in battle, hence the name.’
    • ‘He will not be laughed at by the overwhelming majority of Australians and later he might decide to accept one name, but the most important thing is that the child bears your genetics.’
    • ‘Young children bearing the medals of their grandparents, along with police, Army cadets, scouts and guides also took part in the march.’
    • ‘Fortunately, Mom returned bearing a tray on which lay a sort of square closed pastry and a glass of 7UP.’
    • ‘An hour or so later, the doors opened again to admit a new aerial servant bearing a fresh tray of food.’
    • ‘He nods at the doorman, smiles at the maid bearing a tray upstairs.’
    • ‘The team arrived into Ballina train station to encounter a mass of loyal fans and supporters bearing flags and bunting.’
    • ‘The Selfridges car park was given a makeover for the occasion: vehicles were replaced by a catwalk, bright lights and waiters bearing trays of champagne.’
    • ‘For statistical analyses, recombinant families bearing the same marker genotypes were grouped together.’
    • ‘Arjun Chhatkuli, CEO of Himalayan Humanity, started out as a porter bearing the luggage of tourists during long treks.’
    • ‘A bench stood ready by the firepit, and at once a man bearing a tray crowded with brass cups was before us.’
    • ‘Boys bearing trays loaded with water bottles and cans of soft drink are hurrying towards us.’
    • ‘It wasn't the late arrival of a dealer or a waitress bearing another tray of sandwiches or pints.’
    • ‘The butler reappeared instantly bearing a silver tea tray with a glass of ice and a pitcher of cold water, which he poured into the glass and offered to me.’
    • ‘When he returned, Guy was bearing a tray with a bowl of soup and a mug of something else.’
    • ‘Down on the lawn, all that citronella is coating diners' tongues, and the waiters bearing trays of Cristal are working overtime.’
    • ‘People bearing placards and tracts appeared outside the assembly halls.’
    • ‘The lord himself and his daughter would often attend, bringing with them house servants bearing trays of food and drink.’
    • ‘By the time he had finished, servants bearing trays and platters of food filed into the hall and set the food upon the tables around the fire pit.’
    • ‘Anna held a tea service and Sarah bore a tray with a small mound of sandwiches from which the crusts had been delicately cut.’
    • ‘She was saved an explanation at that moment by the door opening to reveal a nurse bearing a tray with a tea pot, a strainer, a teabag, and two handle-less cups.’
    • ‘The pain of the early hour is alleviated by a member of staff bearing a tray of tea - who will wait until you take the tray, in case the roaming baboons get their hands on your home-baked cookies.’
    carry, bring, transport, move, convey, take, fetch, haul, lug, shift
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a vehicle or boat) convey (passengers or cargo)
      ‘steamboats bear the traveler out of Kerrerra Sound’
      • ‘Hundreds of mourners stood at the pier of Arranmore Island yesterday afternoon as the ferry bearing Mr McGowan's remains docked.’
      • ‘Every now and then official vehicles bearing ministers of government appeared on the scene.’
      • ‘Mr King says the car bearing it, pictured above, was probably steam-powered.’
      • ‘Massed pipes and drums from 14 regiments accompanied the gun carriage bearing the Queen Mother from Westminster Hall to the Abbey in a moving spectacle of pomp and pageantry.’
      • ‘It seemed that everyone doubted the market for liquor all the way out here, and that few ships came bearing a load such as ours.’
      • ‘There are more ocean-going vessels bearing such goods than one might imagine, nearly all holding insurance premiums against pirates.’
      • ‘Is it clear that all five bore numbers being borne by vehicles with which Reynolds had dealt.’
      • ‘Lester spent a quiet night in the pen getting used to his new look and the next day was hoisted up on the back of a flatbed truck bearing a load of young women in white evening dresses, myself included.’
      • ‘These fleet-of-foot canines think nothing of sprinting round a four-mile trail at 18 miles an hour, dragging a sledge bearing their human ‘musher’.’
      • ‘At last, the delivery day came, and the truck bearing the sofa arrived.’
      • ‘Allied vehicles bearing ammunition and supplies bogged down in the snow.’
      • ‘For many this is limited to an occasional walk during a mainly vehicle borne safari but others, like John Stevens, prefer to concentrate on walking and tracking animals.’
      • ‘There, we'd toss in stones to watch the splashes, fill our water pistols with the murky brown water, and float leaf boats bearing wormy passengers.’
      • ‘Land convoys and helicopters bore Western evacuees to Yamoussoukro, where US military cargo planes waited to fly them to Abidjan, or neighbouring Ghana.’
      • ‘A Talmud scholar was traveling on a ship bearing a group of merchants to a distant city.’
      • ‘The car was a platinum black Audi A4 bearing three passengers and a partly-loaded boot.’
    2. 1.2 Have or display as a visible mark or feature.
      ‘many of the papers bore his flamboyant signature’
      ‘a small boat bearing a white flag’
      • ‘Cai bears unmistakable features of his Western heritage, with his thinning light-coloured hair, deep blue eyes and high nose.’
      • ‘To achieve this, fifty retailers in the city must stock Fairtrade products and 25 catering outlets offer food bearing the Fairtrade mark.’
      • ‘Dating from 1465 to 1487, the Chenghua doucai jar bears the special tian mark and is decorated with red and yellow elephants dancing among waves.’
      • ‘After what seemed an eternity, a transport helicopter bearing the insignia of the United States Navy appeared in the distance and headed straight for them.’
      • ‘Allied ground forces in Normandy used a white star for the same reason, and in the Gulf war in 1990-1 Allied vehicles bore a distinguishing chevron.’
      • ‘Looking up from the banks of the Danube River you will be charmed by the majesty of Bratislava Castle, which bears features of several distinct architectural styles.’
      • ‘The scene game to an abrupt end and with it came the clarity that the girl bore a striking resemblance to herself at that age.’
      • ‘A private interstate highway system - say, one accessible only to cars bearing fish emblems - would have done nothing to reshape the landscape of the United States.’
      • ‘Apart from seeing the happenings from her eyes/brain, the faces on the people bore a striking resemblance to our own, except for the hair and eye color.’
      • ‘In fact, holidaymakers in Tenerife will now be able to see delivery vans bearing the company's logo on the roads, just like home.’
      • ‘Using the final digit of the vehicle number (odd or even), designate alternate days that vehicles bearing such numbers will be allowed to park in the city.’
      • ‘Outwardly healthy, the animal bore no visible wounds or signs of illness.’
      • ‘A short time later Ripley was seen to get into his pick-up truck bearing a distinctive Native American Indian emblem and used for transporting broken-down coaches.’
      • ‘They not only show fine workmanship but also bear engraved marks.’
      • ‘Paulino Gimenez was cleaning a painting that he believed was by a little known contemporary of Goya's when he uncovered hidden features bearing the unmistakable mark of the Spanish master.’
      • ‘It could be just the proud mum in me talking, but I think the kid bears a striking resemblance to Sheila E.’
      • ‘Because of these genes some families bear the same characteristics.’
      • ‘What sort of degenerate would ignore the flashing lights of a vehicle clearly bearing the insignia of the Florida Highway Patrol?’
      • ‘Before being freed, she was fitted with a special leg ring bearing unique identification marks, which can be clearly seen through binoculars.’
      • ‘Its gates opened to any person who was born with the marking and he taught them why they had been marked, why they were set apart from any other ordinary person not bearing that marking.’
      display, exhibit, show, present, set forth, be marked with, carry, have
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Be called by (a name or title)
      ‘he bore the surname Tiller’
      • ‘York has always enjoyed a special relationship with the Queen Mother, due to her bearing the city's name in her title.’
      • ‘There's an investment banking firm that bears his name.’
      • ‘The merchant bank thus created still bears his name - Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.’
      • ‘The Locarno, which was once a ballroom and Corn Exchange, is owned by businessman Gael Mackenzie, the proprietor of the growing chain of bars which bear his name.’
      • ‘All members have a personal profile, agreed between us when we meet, which bears your first name only.’
      • ‘Pioneers in steel, oil, railroads, banking etc. have created foundations that bear their names.’
      • ‘Gehrig was ill and later died of a disease that would bear his name even after it received its formal title, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.’
      • ‘There are many streets bearing his name, and more than one has caused vociferous opposition from some interest groups.’
      • ‘Weatherby has two new calibers, Steyr has a new proprietary round and Marlin finally has a second cartridge bearing its name.’
      • ‘But Mr Beaumont believes the city owes Hudson a public apology and a more salubrious memorial than the ‘dreadful’ street which bears his name.’
      • ‘He pointed to mugs, pens, paper hankies, the desk lamp, and calendar, all of which bore the trade names of antidepressants he had heard of.’
      • ‘Now, more than three years after the movie, comes the first title bearing the name Gladiator (although, it's not based on the movie).’
      • ‘The second schedule bore the title ‘Technical Services Schedule’.’
      • ‘One of the Foreign Service's major awards bears his name.’
      • ‘Dalton's statue - holding an historic, football-shaped molecule - is the first thing visitors see at the main entrance to the town hall and a city centre street bears his name.’
      • ‘Most of the people who came to the church in those days lived in Grey Town, Christianpet and of course, Addis Street, which bears the name of the founder of the church.’
      • ‘There were three of us; each 16 months apart, each bearing an archangel's name as the middle moniker.’
      • ‘A Memorial Center is dedicated to him, the stadium has been renamed in his honor, and a street now bears his name.’
      • ‘In the literary world, Catriona actually only turns up in Stevenson's sequel to Kidnapped, which bears her name as its title.’
      • ‘Mr Mackenzie, best known as proprietor of the Wood Street bar which bears his name, could not be contacted for comment.’
    4. 1.4bear oneselfwith adverbial Carry or conduct oneself in a particular manner.
      ‘she bore herself with dignity’
      • ‘Remember how proudly they bore themselves on the talk shows?’
      • ‘Despite the valour of Galway's British contingent - the 6th and 9th Foot bore themselves especially well - almost all Galway's 15,000 men were killed or captured.’
      • ‘Moreover, in large scale strategy the superior man will manage many subordinates dextrously, bear himself correctly, govern the country and foster the people, thus preserving the ruler's discipline.’
      • ‘Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’’
      • ‘Few were the demonic females he had meet with such a fine physical shell and yet able to bear themselves with such dignity and self-control.’
      • ‘In fact, he calls all of us to a prophetic life-a life that witnesses to the power of the Spirit through the words we speak, the ways we serve, even the way we bear ourselves.’
      • ‘He doesn't have the build for the Jackie Chan stunts he uses to repel the onslaught of his friends in crime-fighting, and he doesn't bear himself with heroic presence.’
      • ‘Have you not heard of bearing yourself like this is a shame?’
      • ‘He bore himself with a slow and impressive dignity, as if he took command of all things from the instant of his entrance.’
      • ‘Yet despite his fierce appearance and the barbarous glint in his eyes, the Chief bore himself with a dignity no less than regal - so much so that Ravenna found her own father paling in comparison.’
      • ‘The samurai's focus was on how to bear himself in battle, methods for achieving victory by destroying the enemy, and for dealing with the physical, emotional, and moral consequences of both victory and defeat.’
      • ‘But still, even with the fraying edges and fading embroidery, the flag bore itself with an elegance that I had never seen before.’
      • ‘Felicity Jones bears herself with dignity as a well-controlled Mariana.’
      • ‘He bore himself regally yet treated none with contempt.’
      • ‘What it does teach him is how he can best bear himself when danger comes his way.’
      conduct oneself, carry oneself, acquit oneself, act, behave, perform
      View synonyms
  • 2Support.

    ‘walls that cannot bear a stone vault’
    • ‘Broilers are subjected to breeding regimes which produce birds unable to bear their own weight.’
    • ‘The website would not have borne this weight of traffic without the radical restructuring that was completed only last month.’
    • ‘The sheer look in her eyes caused him to lose his balance, letting the wall bear all of his weight for him.’
    • ‘Moving as one unit, they bore the massive weight of the scanner and slid it gently over the box.’
    • ‘Perhaps they were deliberately designed to appear incapable of bearing the weight of this great rectangular zeppelin, or perhaps it was simply an oversight to make them seem so spindly.’
    • ‘You can't possibly blow it up, the mesh is mutually supporting, every girder bears the weight of everything above it.’
    • ‘Their leg, hip, and abdominal muscles become more flexible, and the back is strengthened to bear the additional weight.’
    • ‘Instead the chains - which can bear a weight of 68 tonnes each - crank into action, lowering and raising the Hull tidal barrier into position.’
    • ‘Joints move and bear a load: your weight, in other words.’
    • ‘Osteoarthritis, which is due to wear and tear, is more common in the elderly and in the lower limbs that bear the body's weight.’
    • ‘The two human figures are depicted astride donkeys, who bear the load of their human cargo with bent legs.’
    • ‘The softwood and chipboard shelves were ‘wholly inadequate’ to bear the weight.’
    • ‘Since no horse could be found to bear her weight she used to career about after hounds in Windsor Great Park in a small chariot.’
    • ‘Now is the time to lay foundations capable of bearing the top weight.’
    • ‘It supported nothing, but was stout enough to have once borne a considerable weight, and likely, he thought, to have been a roof beam.’
    • ‘The Economist compares New York City to Atlas, bearing the weight of the world on its shoulders.’
    • ‘This would also take the load off the Residency Road ramp, which will henceforth have to bear the load of descending traffic that was earlier split between the two down ramps.’
    • ‘The surgeon then instructs the patient to continue wearing the brace while beginning to bear full weight on the surgical leg.’
    • ‘On his back, he bore the weight of two long, black, leathery wings that could easily smother a human each.’
    • ‘He may be big, but not big enough to bear the weight of two or even three men's work.’
    support, carry, hold up, prop up, keep up, bolster up
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Take responsibility for.
      ‘no one likes to bear the responsibility for such decisions’
      ‘the expert's fee shall be borne by the tenant’
      • ‘He accused the top officials of blaming each other with no one willing to bear the responsibility.’
      • ‘This was because the risk of injury should be borne by the person who created the nuisance rather than a person who was using the highway in a proper manner.’
      • ‘Maybe it is time that the cost was borne by the people who can pay and provide relief for the those who cannot pay.’
      • ‘But we can still ask whether the cost has to be borne by people who will never see the benefits.’
      • ‘You must also bear the responsibility for maintaining a secure site and liability for the content of the site.’
      • ‘The cost will be borne by the people who are busy using candles and hot water bottles so that they do not use up power the local authority has asked them to save.’
      • ‘The cost of operas in the past was borne largely by wealthy patrons, using the money which they extracted from the common people to fund their lifestyle.’
      • ‘Mr Thomas said that the finding could leave Mr Morgan with a huge financial cost that he would have to bear himself.’
      • ‘And yet it's the safe majority who bear the undue weight of the government's ‘revenue raising’.’
      • ‘Somebody in the band needs to bear the responsibility for keeping time, and keeping everybody else in the same ballpark.’
      • ‘Everyone in society (except a couple of innocent landowners) gets some benefit, but only a few people bear the cost.’
      • ‘Country people have borne the brunt of the lifting of tariffs and withdrawal of state, government, bank and business services from the regions.’
      • ‘I didn't want to bear the responsibility for this.’
      • ‘The bees are moral agents, he argues, and must bear the responsibility for their own actions.’
      • ‘If he bears the weight of history's censure, he remained a small cog inside the wheel of Loch's strategy, the dash for improvement by the noble couple and the general challenge to the Highlands by modernity.’
      • ‘The focus here is on the major cost components of injury that individuals would be expected to bear themselves, notably loss of earnings and pain and suffering.’
      • ‘For as we involve ourselves, we bear the responsibility even for results we did not anticipate.’
      • ‘They were paid Regular Force wages only on the day they deployed, and their families bore the cost.’
      • ‘This will not be borne by the owners; it will be passed on to the clients.’
      • ‘So it's a diversion from jail and you've got that saving, and the main aim is to save those diffused costs which are borne by victims.’
      sustain, carry, support, shoulder, uphold, absorb, take on
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    2. 2.2 Be able to accept or stand up to.
      ‘it is doubtful whether either of these distinctions would bear scrutiny’
      • ‘Such a view will not bear scrutiny either, for reasons to be discussed later; Wittgenstein indeed opens the Philosophical Investigations with a lengthy refutation of it.’
      • ‘The cost of intermediation and the cost of finance might be lower for the government as guarantor because it is better able to bear risks.’
      • ‘The question of whether she could once again bear the weight of expectation and public scrutiny were answered last season.’
      • ‘Few would impeach any society's humanistic obligation to care for those who actually bear the weight of battle.’
      • ‘Coulthard is the man most accustomed to it and he has proved, with every maturing year in the game, that he is capable of bearing the weight of expectation.’
      • ‘Sadly, such a picture does not bear scrutiny, especially in the so-called top clubs, where discrimination on the grounds of age and sex is not only routine, but all too often is revelled in.’
      • ‘The idea that the growing number of clubs standing on football's equivalent of death row are somehow the unfortunate victims of a natural disaster does not bear scrutiny.’
      • ‘But to shackle the BBC in the pursuit of original journalism would be entirely wrong - so long as the editorial processes bear scrutiny.’
      • ‘Can Kylie bear the weight of fantasy required to sustain such a role?’
      • ‘They are keeping quiet until their products are really ready to bear scrutiny.’
      • ‘The accusation that the king aimed at increasing the royal prerogative or deliberately connived at secret influence will not bear scrutiny.’
      withstand, stand up to, stand, put up with, take, cope with, handle, resist, sustain, absorb, accept
      View synonyms
  • 3Endure (an ordeal or difficulty)

    ‘she bore the pain stoically’
    • ‘As for England's quarter-final exit, he bears the pain stoically.’
    • ‘Men and women perform as equals, taking turns to bear the weight in lifts and jumps, and sometimes appearing to fight each other for the privilege.’
    • ‘She would not be able to bear another tense, sleepless night.’
    • ‘The miners seemed to bear their suffering stoically, though their conditions were very bad indeed.’
    • ‘For many people it keeps getting harder to bear their desperation quietly.’
    • ‘Those risk-takers who attempt this method bear the ignominy of the dreaded spot if they fail.’
    • ‘His family bore an incredible hardship during the trials.’
    • ‘He sobbed into the snow, not being able to bear the agony any longer.’
    • ‘I love my mother and I don't think I would ever be able to bear it if I lost her.’
    • ‘They know no better than to constantly bear whatever pain and suffering comes to them.’
    • ‘As if no longer able to bear the echoes of horrors past, Kalin stopped his history lesson and looked at me for the first time in over an hour.’
    • ‘Being able to bear frustration is one level of dealing with it.’
    • ‘But, you see, it's the woman that bears the difficulties of the pregnancy.’
    • ‘Yet she bore her pain stoically, neither asking nor expecting him to help her through it.’
    • ‘He resigned in the midst of it because he too was ethical and couldn't bear it anymore.’
    • ‘This year, they bore the weight of many expectations, and it may rather have crushed them.’
    • ‘People bore the tribulations of the subsequent years with astonishing patience.’
    • ‘Whatever happened to knights being able to bear a little hardship, I'd like to know?’
    • ‘Any arms sales must seek the approval of all relevant departments and be able to bear pressure from organizations of every sort in society.’
    • ‘Barbosa, the keeper who failed to save Brazil from Uruguay in the 1950 final, still bears his disgrace.’
    • ‘It is borne especially by the families left behind.’
    endure, tolerate, put up with, stand, suffer, abide, submit to, experience, undergo, go through, countenance, brook, brave, weather, support
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1with modal and negative Manage to tolerate (a situation or experience)
      ‘she could hardly bear his sarcasm’
      with infinitive ‘I cannot bear to see you hurt’
      • ‘Unable to bear the situation any longer, Zhang Jianya turned to the court, alleging that Zhang Chun had criminally infringed upon his reputation.’
      • ‘The pain got worse, and Raina could hardly bear it.’
      • ‘I am so up and down at the moment that I can hardly bear myself.’
      • ‘Grant and Malinda could hardly bear their separation, and Grant longed to see his five children, one of whom was born during the war.’
      • ‘It was pouring with rain, so the mouse's hair was all spiky and we picked it up in a glass and took it into the front garden but could hardly bear to put it down because it was so cute.’
      • ‘I can't bear suspense in movies and books.’
      • ‘Cassie stood outside no longer able to bear the cloud of tension.’
      • ‘I don't think I'll be able to bear it if he talks to me.’
      • ‘Tori could hardly bear it, how cute he looked with his mussed hair and confused expression.’
      • ‘He said it was never the triumph, or the sensation of winning that drove me, just he couldn't bear himself when he lost.’
      • ‘What I am saying really is that most people ask me how can I bear it, because they feel that they themselves couldn't bear it but they could if it happened to them.’
      • ‘We all feel that we can no longer bear the situation as it is.’
      • ‘I didn't go as often as I should because I couldn't bear it.’
      • ‘He said my skin was so smooth he couldn't bear it.’
      • ‘I shut my eyes tightly, not being able to bear the look of anguish on Adrian's face.’
      • ‘The countryside gradually lost its brightness as the green grass faded into yellows and the flowers dried up and died, not able to bear the chilly temperatures.’
      • ‘Close as they were, the two could hardly bear to talk about Darwin's view of life.’
      • ‘Most people could not bear the thought of having their every move captured on film let alone watched by millions of television viewers.’
      • ‘No one really came to that dump to eat, so she was never really that busy, but work got so monotonous that with every passing day it seemed like she wouldn't be able to bear it.’
      • ‘They were yearning to know whom he had finally chosen and could hardly bear to stay in the dark until that night, wondering if he'd made the right choice.’
      tolerate, stand, put up with, stomach, swallow, brook, undergo, accept, approve of, endorse, allow, admit, permit
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2cannot bear someone/something Strongly dislike.
      ‘I can't bear caviar’
      • ‘Every book I have written overflows with that loathing, and I cannot bear the sight of guns.’
      • ‘Rather, women in contemporary India are also ‘subjected to the suppressed anger of the middle-class man’ who ‘needs his wife's salary to savour the goodies, yet cannot bear her independence.’’
      • ‘‘If you cannot bear your name being mentioned in criticisms, then you'd better go home and be an ordinary citizen,’ she said.’
      • ‘Emilia cannot bear him, and William appears to loathe her.’
      • ‘Aglaia cannot bear Nastasia taking precedence.’
      • ‘I cannot bear the thought of having to use something that resembles tracing paper and is as absorbent as a £10.00 note!’
      • ‘Having belonged to him once, I cannot bear myself.’
      • ‘Also, he cannot bear other people's misfortune.’
      • ‘If Miss Field and her neighbours cannot bear the racket, they should consider moving out to the silent suburbs.’
      • ‘The Montserrat population cannot bear any tax increases at this time.’
      • ‘I enjoys the cars in North America but cannot bear the boring life there.’
      • ‘He begs Achilles to send him to battle quickly (oka); he cannot bear Achilles' intractable patience.’
      • ‘To this day, one of my colleagues cannot bear the sound of rubber plimsolls on a wooden floor.’
      • ‘I cannot bear the plethora of tacky, pointless, plasticky, badly constructed, playthings that are manufactured these days.’
      • ‘She said: ‘I have two boys who still believe in Christmas and, even though I cannot bear the thought of doing it without their daddy, I cannot let them down.’’
      • ‘As Dostoevsky once remarked, Russians cannot bear their own freedom; they seek someone before whom to bend their knee.’
      • ‘Yeah, I bought that album with them on sofas, but can't bear her voice now.’
      • ‘This, just because a handful of people (who are probably tone deaf anyway) cannot bear the noise!’
      • ‘I have been here for 18 years and cannot bear the thought of leaving.’
  • 4Give birth to (a child)

    ‘she bore six daughters’
    with two objects ‘his wife had borne him a son’
    • ‘She was the woman who would bear his children, raise and nurture them.’
    • ‘The risk of bearing a child with certain chromosomal birth defects increases as a woman ages.’
    • ‘Gwenifer had married and had borne her first child, a son.’
    • ‘The failure of a woman to bear children (particularly sons) is a frequent cause for divorce.’
    • ‘For in just two days my own wife is due to bear her second child.’
    • ‘The drama tells the story of a king who takes a second wife because his Chinese queen is unable to bear children.’
    • ‘Is it that they only want to find a submissive wife who will bear children and become homemakers?’
    • ‘In 1851 he married Fanny Lucy Wightman, who was to bear six children, three of whom predeceased him.’
    • ‘This person had borne her, and done little else.’
    • ‘You must know that his wife passed away five years ago and they bore no children.’
    • ‘Yet Zev had not returned her to the outside world as most Wolves did when their women were not able to bear them heirs.’
    • ‘Arrangements for women who bore children or reared infants in prison were negligible.’
    • ‘He was not happy and started seeing another girl who bore his child in April 1999.’
    • ‘Many mothers did not want to bear children, especially girls, last year because Ram children were seen as destined to lead miserable lives.’
    • ‘Despite what was certainly an extremely unhappy existence, Caroline managed to bear Christian a son and heir in 1768, the future King Frederick VI.’
    • ‘I myself had never had sisters or brothers - my mother had lost the ability to bear children at my birth.’
    • ‘She was going to try to be a good wife, bear children, and be happy.’
    • ‘We are the same sex and therefore, cannot bear children so possible arguments against it due to possible birth defects certainly do not apply.’
    • ‘Other men are deceived by wives who bear children through adulterous liaisons and who mislead them into thinking that the children are theirs.’
    • ‘Herschel will leave nothing behind him because his late wife refused to bear children.’
    give birth to, bring forth, deliver, be delivered of, have, mother, create, produce, spawn
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    1. 4.1 (of a tree or plant) produce (fruit or flowers)
      ‘a squash that bears fruit shaped like cucumbers’
      • ‘Plants can bear flowers and fruits at the same time, and die after fruiting.’
      • ‘Even so every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.’
      • ‘Apple trees, you see, are one of the few trees that will bear usable fruit within live years of being planted.’
      • ‘Choose flowers that produce nectar; trees, shrubs and vines that bear fruit; or plants bearing nuts or seed that birds and other wildlife eat.’
      • ‘The small tree bears its fruits indiscriminately on twigs, branches, or trunk.’
      • ‘The trees grown in pots bear fruits, shed their leaves and flower around the same time as they do under natural conditions.’
      • ‘The trees bearing rudraksha fruits are found in the Himalayan region, Nepal, and also in Indonesia and belong to the Eleo Carpus Ganitras type of plants.’
      • ‘Even the most crooked apple tree can eventually bear good fruit.’
      • ‘It can even keep a tree from bearing any fruit at all.’
      • ‘True to its name, the ‘moottil pazham’ tree bears fruits only on the lower part of the trunk.’
      • ‘In a large garden consider the merits of trees bearing green fruit.’
      • ‘This tall, bamboo-like grass bears dense panicles of flowers in late summer and fall.’
      • ‘Many fruit species bear an abundance of flowers producing a surplus of fruits that the tree is unable to support.’
      • ‘It dramatically speeds up the planting of community gardens and orchards with higher-yielding trees bearing better-quality fruits.’
      • ‘Down the whitened streets, past the whitened cars, whitened trees still bearing leaves, whitened people, we discussed society and art, and the act of creating.’
      • ‘But, the birds can be brought back, if the authorities take up the planting of suitable varieties of plants, trees bearing berries and fruit.’
      • ‘The tree of liberty bears beautiful flowers, but its roots are delicate; they will grow only in suitable ground.’
      • ‘Moreover the trees bear fruits from October to February.’
      • ‘The 25-foot-tall tree bears lavender flowers in summer, and in fall, leaves turn brilliant red.’
      • ‘Trees bearing fruits or nuts can provide an excellent source of food for many species of wildlife.’
      • ‘Honestly, you'd think that after almost 20 years, a tree bearing golden fruit would actually stop being such an attention grabber.’
      produce, yield, give forth, give, provide, supply, generate, afford, furnish, bestow
      View synonyms
  • 5no object, with adverbial of direction Turn and proceed in a specified direction.

    ‘bear left and follow the old road’
    • ‘Bear left when the road forks onto Lacey Drive, and then get over on the right.’
    • ‘Follow the forestry track until you emerge from the woods, cross the bridge over a burn, then bear right up the rough, stony and often wet track which rises steeply to the Bealach na Sroine.’
    • ‘Turn off the road as if entering the driving range but bear left - the building is straight ahead of you with a big sign in the front of it!’
    • ‘Bear south, then climb the steps to the northwest.’
    • ‘Nature should have told him that when he heads south from Alaska during his herd's annual autumn migration to warmer water, he has to bear right at San Francisco.’
    • ‘Turn right here, over a stile in the hedgerow, and bear north-eastwards across the pasture to the next stile in 250 yards.’
    • ‘The wide forest trail begins to bear west and continues Westerly to the 5K mark which is 100m before the minor trail junction (which leads to the summit road).’
    • ‘Drive two miles along the paved road and bear right at the fork.’
    • ‘The path bears right again to curve round under the summit.’
    veer, curve, swerve, incline, turn, fork, diverge, deviate, bend
    View synonyms


In the early 17th century, borne and born were simply variant forms of the past participle of bear used interchangeably with no distinction in meaning. By around 1775, however, the present distinction in use had become established. At that time, borne became the standard past participle used in all the senses listed in this dictionary entry, e.g., she has borne you another son, the findings have been borne out, and so on. Born became restricted to just one very common use (which remains the case today), in the passive, without by, as the standard, neutral way to refer to birth: she was born in 1965, he was born lucky, or I was born and bred in Boston


  • bear the burden of

    • Suffer the consequences of.

      • ‘Italy, for example, is bearing a debt burden worth more than 106% of its annual output.’
      • ‘The first thing that he thought about was still not how to calm down the immense dissatisfaction with the burden borne by the villagers.’
      • ‘It seems that Marco, a well dressed, polite gentleman, has borne the burden for all these years, becoming infamous in Italy for that particular sitter.’
      • ‘A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection.’
      • ‘For more than half a century, the people of the town that surrounds the US marine corps' base on Japan's southernmost island have borne the burden of the American presence, but not any more.’
      • ‘Should the leaders gathered in Lusaka fail to tackle this problem, then measures must be put in place to assist countries bearing this burden.’
      • ‘If so, why do taxpayers need to substantially bear the burden of liability in case of accidents?’
      • ‘It was a lionization of the ‘good man,’ who quietly bears the burden for his neighbor.’
      • ‘Everyone should agree that the burden of debt borne by many of the world's poorest nations is a serious barrier to long-term development and social justice.’
      • ‘What we do know is that he or she bore a dreadful burden, the stuff of every parent's nightmares.’
      • ‘Corruption has become a way of life but he who bears the burden has a face.’
      • ‘We believe society is bearing a burden for the individual behavioral choices of the smokers.’
      • ‘She said the delegation would raise issues about the burden borne by council tax payers towards the cost of the floods and the fact that many houses in Rawcliffe were still not habitable.’
      • ‘Science cannot bear the burden we place upon it.’
      • ‘They are often left bearing the emotional burdens of those who are presuming to guide them, be it teacher or parent.’
      • ‘That liberty and freedom are something worth fighting for, worth bearing a burden for.’
      • ‘USF now bears a substantial burden of proving the serious charges it has lodged against its faculty member.’
      • ‘The software architecture bears the burden of explicitly monitoring safety-critical data to ensure that the data has not been corrupted.’
      • ‘It is not only mothers who suffer when they fail to rise to the challenge of working what amounts to a double shift, since it is they who must bear the double burden of working and raising a family.’
      • ‘My concern is who is bearing the tax burden in those countries?’
  • bear fruit

    • Yield positive results.

      ‘plans for power-sharing may be about to bear fruit’
      • ‘Despite their doubts in his project, his strong sense of faith bore fruit and now, 30 years on, his son continues the work and people from far and near visit his orchard’
      • ‘But the effort is yet to bear fruit.’
      • ‘His steady and competent effort bore fruit beyond estimate and stand today in near and distant places as generous monuments to his skill.’
      • ‘His experience of Japan in 1937-38 and his own exhibition on Tokyo bore fruit in his Mussoorie productions.’
      • ‘Inventor 11 might just be a milestone for Autodesk, where the promises and potential of a system finally start to bear fruit.’
      yield results, get results, succeed, meet with success, be successful, be effective, be profitable, work, go as planned
      View synonyms
  • bear a hand

    • archaic Help in a task or enterprise.

      • ‘Although it is not experienced in every part of the world, it also bears a hand in the battle for food.’
      • ‘Premier Wen Jiabao bore a hand in retrieving salaries for migrant workers, practising the ‘people first’ approach.’
      • ‘Your task is first to be part of the solution by not being a compounding part of the problem, and then to be able to bear a hand in helping others.’
      • ‘With us the demands of ship work on our bare minimum crews do not allow of a duty signaller; he must bear a hand with the rest to straighten out the day's work.’
      • ‘People crowded in from the dance-hall; odds & ends from the harbor bore a hand, and the girls took refuge behind the bar, squealing.’
      • ‘When danger threatened there was resort to prayer, but work soon followed as the passengers bore a hand with the crew.’
      • ‘I should have been very miserable had not Marah made me work with the men, hauling the ropes, swabbing down the decks, scrubbing the paintwork, and even bearing a hand at the tiller.’
      • ‘Duty Officers always turned to the topside watch and said… ‘Son, bear a hand and assist this under-the-weather fellow into the boat.’’
      • ‘Beneath the heavy, vicious nose of a Navy Corsair fighter, WAVE mechanics bear a hand in engine maintenance as they drain the oil preparatory to filling it with new oil.’
  • bear someone malice (or ill will)

    • with negativeWish someone harm.

      • ‘Geser tells a tale about the Virgin of Byzantium to whom somebody bore ill will and put a spell.’
      • ‘But thenceforth he bore ill will towards Rollant; it seemed to him that he would never be happy while he lived because of the disgrace he had brought upon him.’
      • ‘And among my acquaintances who ended up in Vietnam, none bore ill will or felt betrayed by civilian anti-war protest.’
      • ‘I may or may not bear ill will toward the law school on whose waitlist I currently languish, behind individuals whose qualifications are, at best, questionably superior to my own.’
      • ‘Attell said it was cooling cocoa butter and, for many years, bore ill will towards Kilbane for this charge, which Kilbane often repeated.’
      • ‘Searching for some solace, some clue that would let him know she had been happy with him, she had not bore ill will for him, that she loved him unconditionally.’
      • ‘I should not bear ill will even against those those who have offended against me, and I must avoid getting into a rage, and I must make a firm effort in that direction.’
      • ‘And I don't bear ill will to anybody, as well as I don't bear it to myself.’
      • ‘It should be obvious, but perhaps deserves mentioning, that none bore ill will toward the UN; none wanted the Security Council to fail in reaching a consensus.’
      • ‘But I don't know one veteran in my chapter who bears ill will against the Vietnamese people.’
      • ‘We do not know whether Boyd bore ill will toward the woman, but it is possible that he did not.’
      • ‘If one therefore bore ill will towards someone then it follows that we would wish to injure them, and our intention towards them would be destructive or evil.’
      • ‘If Joseph bore ill will toward them did they really think they would win him over with a bag of pistachio nuts?’
      • ‘Like most power struggles, the end result is that someone ‘loses’ and bears ill will from that point onward.’
      • ‘This tale turns on the assumption that the thieves bear ill will towards their victims, and the convenient explanation is the difference in race.’
      • ‘If you bear me malice, wish me the opposite of luck, whatever that might be: destiny or skill, I suppose!’
      • ‘The athlete might pray humbly to perform with dignity, not to disparage or bear ill will toward opponents, and to set a positive example.’
      • ‘I did not like his looks at any time, and lately especially he had seemed to bear me malice.’
      • ‘If by that we mean a person who bears ill will toward Jews, and who, if given an opportunity, would harm the Jewish people, the answer is clearly no.’
  • bear a relation (or relationship) to

    • with negativeBe logically consistent with.

      ‘the map didn't seem to bear any relation to the roads’
      • ‘At various points in his book, he declares himself incensed by the presumption that the Iris by his side is not Iris, but a generic Alzheimer's sufferer who bears no real relation to that entity.’
      • ‘In fact, very little of what happens in Dreamer bears a relationship to something that happened in real life, so the ‘true story’ part of the equation is a red herring.’
      • ‘But the tax bore no relation to ability to pay; within a locality every adult was charged the same amount, although millions of poor people got rebates.’
      • ‘But, in women, their sleep patterns didn't seem to bear a relationship to whether or not they got diabetes.’
      • ‘All lost weight, but the amount of weight lost bore no relation to whether participants were on a diet or not.’
  • bear a resemblance (or similarity) to

    • Resemble.

      • ‘It is odd that today's strange vehicles should bear a close resemblance to those seen by a scornful poet at London's Rotten Row a couple of generations earlier.’
      • ‘When a tiny girl bearing an uncanny resemblance to Cindy Lou-Who whispered that she liked dolls and told us her name was Becca Larson, I announced that it was time for a game.’
      • ‘The reason is that I bear a resemblance to her father.’
      • ‘Although their songs might lack the Seattle angst, their music bears a resemblance to the departed scene.’
      • ‘Charlie couldn't help noticing that he bore a resemblance to Jerome.’
      • ‘What you need is a disguise that bears a resemblance to, say, Alan Dershowitz - an attorney who prefers rich, famous clients and seems to spend more time in broadcast studios than courtrooms.’
      • ‘Miss Jackson is extremely tall and skinny with a very long neck, and while her body shape reminds me of a giraffe, her facial features bear a resemblance to that of a cross between a beaver and a duck.’
      • ‘Composed of a wiry, nervous line, these creatures bear a resemblance to birds only in their beaks and feathered silhouettes; they appear closer to deformations of nature.’
      • ‘He continued to ‘search’ passersby for the beautiful face he remembered from their brief, hostile acquaintance, but none of those he passed bore a resemblance to the missing lady.’
      • ‘Some of the subs bear resemblance to the Biskup submarine due to its long perspective.’
      • ‘The collapse of the Nasdaq bubble left the United States in a situation that bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the Japan of a decade ago.’
      • ‘The bolt shroud is Mauser-like but with a three position horizontal safety, which bears a resemblance to that of the Winchester M70.’
      • ‘Later he was kept in jail for three days because he bore a resemblance to a photofit shown on Crimewatch.’
      • ‘What has happened to recent Evo's is that the car bears less and less resemblance to its road going counterpart and has become too recognizable IMHO.’
      • ‘Although dwarfed in height, it bears a resemblance to skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Centre in New York.’
      • ‘A photograph of a man bearing a resemblance to Mr Bond, circulated in March last year, appears on the Interpol website.’
      • ‘Sightings at a holiday resort in Norfolk have proved incorrect and a woman bearing a resemblance to Carly seen at the Notting Hill Carnival was traced.’
      • ‘North Sumatra Police announced on Tuesday that 27-year-old Zulfan, who bears a resemblance to one of the three sketches of suspects in the Oct.12.’
      • ‘The cop bore a resemblance to someone she used to know.’
      • ‘Main's method of meditation bears a similarity to, but has some differences from, centering prayer as practiced and taught by Keating.’
  • bear witness (or testimony) to

    • Testify to.

      ‘little is left to bear witness to the past greatness of the city’
      • ‘It has not been an easy process and all of you can bear testimony to that.’
      • ‘The monument bears witness to 54 women who have gone missing from downtown Vancouver streets - some 15 miles from the farm - in the last two decades.’
      • ‘I have been checking in with Win since he moved into Room 607, to bear witness to what can happen when someone society has given up on is given a fresh start.’
      • ‘The old clock still works accurately bearing witness to nearly a century that is behind it.’
      • ‘The sober person will bear witness to all the messy foibles of your evening.’
      • ‘Yes, after the many horrors he's bore witness to, I'm not surprised as to why he is so reclusive.’
      • ‘It breaks my heart to bear witness to what has become of T & T's social fabric as the result of the relentless pursuit of material rewards and possessions at the expense of all else.’
      • ‘A friendly and very respectable man, the attendance at his funeral in Newbridge last week, bore testimony to his popularity in the local community.’
      • ‘A couple of bars still stand nearby, bearing silent witness to the passing of better days.’
      • ‘Here you are bearing witness to actually terrible suffering in Australia.’
      • ‘And I'd also add that the experience of Matt Cooper, who I represent, sort of bears witness to what can happen.’
      • ‘My children bear witness as to how successful this is.’
      • ‘Damien ate cartloads of food every day - I bore witness to that - but never gained the body mass to prove it.’
      • ‘I think the California energy crisis a few years back bears testimony to that.’
      • ‘A case in point - only a week after the legislation was brought into place I personally bore witness to what could only be termed as pure stupidity as little boy racers took to the water in one of our main ports.’
      • ‘He quickly summons his friends to bear witness to what they see, and, ever the methodical investigator, he even goes so far as to get them to write down what they observe and then sign their affidavits.’
      • ‘But, if you do that, you are not actually bearing witness to what has happened to them and it is extremely difficult.’
      • ‘Dhaka is a city with architecture that bears witness to more than 400 years of her history.’
      • ‘There is definitely money - 4x4 vehicles, restaurants, hotels and mansions on Luanda's beachfront bear testimony to that.’
      • ‘Millions of Americans gather around their television each year in early May to bear witness to what has become known as the greatest two minutes in sport.’
      testify to, be evidence of, be proof of, attest to, confirm, evidence, prove, vouch for
      View synonyms
  • be borne in upon

    • Come to be realized by.

      ‘the folly of her action was borne in on her with devastating precision’
      • ‘Elinor has her full complement of sensibility, though her capacity and her cause for suffering is late to be borne in on her inattentive family.’
      • ‘The truth of that observation will, I think, be borne in on anyone who has watched the BBC tape, as I have.’
      • ‘The truth has been borne in upon them through their own brave stand that there can be no normal sport in an abnormal society.’
      • ‘He was a splendid worker but influence was brought to bear on him, which eventually made him decide to resign from the mission and enter the mining business.’
      • ‘As I listened it began to be borne in on me that he was talking complete nonsense, and that I had better have a bit of a think about it.’
      • ‘He ran hard for a quarter of a mile, and at the end of that distance it began to be borne in upon him as a strange and curious thing that there were so few people about, and that there were no shops open.’
      • ‘Tracing the musical genealogy of any given nationalistic genre is no easy task, particularly when there are many influences brought to bear upon it.’
  • bear arms

    • 1Carry firearms.

      • ‘Under a federal statute, Bean was entitled to have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms consider his application for restoration of his right to bear arms.’
      • ‘All in all there were 17 men including himself capable of bearing arms.’
      • ‘On the fifth floor reside lawful insurgents - combatants who meet the Geneva criteria of openly bearing arms, who wear a distinctive insignia or marking, who abide by the laws of war, and who are organized under responsible leadership.’
      • ‘Many had borne arms or given aid to George III's armies.’
      • ‘And, importantly, you can monitor what ‘the other side’ is up to, the legislation they are promoting, and the lies they are spreading to further infringe on your fight to keep and bear arms.’
      • ‘This latter belief is attested in the Hutterites' refusal to bear arms or to participate in existing social and political institutions, either through membership or leadership in such activities.’
      • ‘Instead, let us remove all those unconstitutional federal and state restrictions, regulations and laws removing our ‘individual’ right to keep and bear arms.’
      • ‘Licensed firearm holders could bear arms still.’
      • ‘He snapped his fingers and the two Goblins bearing arms leapt forward.’
      • ‘Other demands were formal consultation and recognition of all roleplayers on the legal use and ownership of licensed firearms, recognition of the right to keep and bear arms and the enforcement of the existing arms Act.’
      • ‘Peasants did, however, assert their liberty and did so as warriors despite the presumed prohibition of peasants bearing arms.’
      • ‘His father broke peace with us and bore arms against us.’
      • ‘They both turned around at the same time to find three red-coated guards bearing arms closing in on them.’
      • ‘When Moore argues against the right to bear arms he sets forth an admirable stance, but then soon he also begins bellyaching about how public schools kicked kids out of class for bringing what were perceived as weapons to school.’
      • ‘Or is he one of a new breed of proponents of self-reliance, preaching that the right to bear arms must go hand-in-hand with the responsibility to manufacture and maintain firearms as safely as possible?’
      • ‘For all of the foregoing reasons, we now hold there is a state created right to bear arms which includes the right to carry a handgun with a license, provided that all of the requirements of the Indiana Firearms Act are met.’
      • ‘Twentieth-century American laws limiting the right to bear arms are largely a response to the rise in firearm-related crime and are usually upheld by the courts.’
      • ‘As a noncombatant, I do not bear arms, but I wear the same uniform as those service members who are trained to kill with precision and efficiency and to devise plans to destroy an enemy's infrastructure with missiles and bombs.’
      • ‘Colonial officials fined them for refusing to serve in the militia, but since they were economically productive and otherwise law-abiding, most colonial governments eventually exempted them from personally bearing arms.’
      • ‘In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of a bearing arms for one's country.’
    • 2Wear or display a coat of arms.

      • ‘The practice of bearing arms evolved in the twelfth century, when the nobility began to decorate their shields with animals, birds or geometrical shapes.’
      • ‘They were staunch Jacobites, and even after Culloden they continued to bear arms and wear the white cockade.’
      • ‘Bearing arms is an honour and people who bear arms have something to be proud of; armigers are encouraged to display them in every way they can.’
      • ‘Obviously proving one's right to bear Arms had significant impact, both economically and socially on a family.’
      • ‘Although daughters and sons inherit the right to bear arms for themselves personally, the right passes only through the male line: hence, a son transmits the arms to his children, but a daughter, while bearing them for herself, does not transmit them to her children.’
  • bear someone a grudge

    • Nurture a feeling of resentment against someone.

      • ‘Around that time, Aston showed his cruel streak by sawing off the hand of a soldier just because he bore him a grudge.’
      • ‘In Ruff's architectural photographs, and especially in his stereographs, it is precisely the absence of an overt uncanniness, of a suggestion that the world is alive and bearing us a grudge, that is uncanny.’
      • ‘And if a midshipman bears a grudge against a sailor, how easy for him, by cunning practices, born of a boyish spite, to have him degraded at the gangway.’
      • ‘Asked by Gamble, prosecuting, if she bore Insp Frost a grudge, Percy said: ‘I don't bear a grudge against him.‘’
      • ‘A murder mystery with Sean Connery as the gruff, starchy boss of an army base, forced to team up with a copper who bears a grudge against him.’
  • bear the stamp of

    • Be clearly identifiable with.

      ‘every work of mine must inevitably bear the stamp of my own personality’
      • ‘Brown's recent work, Grace, bears the stamp of Ailey's traditional modern dance aesthetic and will be a Lincoln Center Festival performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.’
      • ‘Although the taxation policy clearly bears the stamp of the Freedom Party, it has stirred up opposition within the party's ranks.’
      • ‘Even when environmentalists have rejected the faith of their childhood, their actions and convictions often bear the stamp of their religious upbringing.’
      • ‘The new government programme and personnel clearly bear the stamp of the IMF.’
      • ‘The Christian miracles, he felt, clearly bore the stamp of God upon them.’
      • ‘The undergraduates in my Spelman seminar were born into a different country from the elders, but all of us bore the stamp of where and when we had matured.’
      • ‘Products that come from well-managed forests may bear the stamp of the Forest Stewardship Council.’
      • ‘Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries most of America's leading historians still bore the stamp of New England.’
      • ‘Practically all major offensive operations of the Red Army between 1942 and 1945 bear the stamp of his talent as military commander.’
      • ‘The average reader thus thinks the study bears the stamp of approval of an independent academic scholar, when in fact this is nothing more than an illusion.’
      • ‘Rather than bearing the stamp of one strong individual person, our choices are guided by a range of considerations and perspectives.’
      • ‘Poe's ‘tales of terror’ are both horrifying and unforgettable; they bear the stamp of deeply felt nightmares.’
      • ‘Since everything to emerge from Western civilization bears the stamp of patriarchy, the argument goes, Western civilization is inherently suspect.’
      • ‘Napoleon wanted a new look, clean and severe and bearing the stamp of his preference for masculine and military effects.’
      • ‘The school is the Illinois Institute of Technology, still bearing the stamp of its mid-20th century modernist origins.’
      • ‘Developers apparently saw little of the picturesque charm of decaying New England fishing villages founded in the age of sail in Great Lakes fishing villages that bore the stamp of industrialization.’
      • ‘But his voice tells another story: raspy and gruff, it still bears the stamp of his native Louisiana.’
      • ‘Not only are they dealing with a legal bureaucracy that bears the stamp of communist inefficiency and an absence of accountability, but the judicial system set up in the wake of communism's collapse is also uniquely resistant to change.’
      • ‘Although her novels have recurrent patterns and themes, each bears the stamp of a unique and illuminating talent.’
      • ‘Their stamps bear the stamp of respect the humanity had for the Mahatma.’
  • does not bear thinking about

    • Is too terrible to contemplate.

      • ‘To have to disassemble what we have built doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘She said: ‘The number of times we have been targeted by vandals doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘I'm not worried about anything else because what could have happened doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘The fact we could have been in there doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about what could happen.’
      • ‘It just doesn't bear thinking about, does it?’
      • ‘But many elderly people cannot bear the thought of giving up a long-established family home and moving.’
      • ‘While I am admittedly spoilt by a 15-minute cycle through parkland to work, the claustrophobia of standing armpit-to-armpit in recycled air morning and night doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘Mrs Marriner added: ‘At the time, we could almost see a funny side to it but what might have happened if my mother's condition had been more serious doesn't bear thinking about.’’
      • ‘The distress suffered by the residents - elderly residents of that home - doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘First of all the appointment of Hamilton as the FAI's head-hunter caused mild surprise but the alternative candidate to fill that particular position doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘However, it's gone on for so long right now that if it is meant as a distraction, we're so royally screwed that it doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘He said: ‘What they could have done to me if I hadn't given them the keys doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘What could so easily have happened to him doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about what else could have happened and I have nothing but praise for our young member of staff who was slightly injured.’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about, unless you happen to be the supremely gifted chronicler of all our worst nightmares.’
      • ‘It doesn't bear thinking about what the statistics will be at the end of 2004.’
      • ‘In Cuba, for most people the future doesn't bear thinking about (more long months with no money).’
      • ‘I think it is a horrible, awful road; yesterday's crash just doesn't bear thinking about.’
      • ‘At nine o'clock that morning, when she'd gone out to hang the wash to dry, she hadn't been able to bear the thought of staying inside all day working.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • bear away

    • Change course away from the wind.

      ‘we have borne away a little to make best speed’
  • bear down

    • 1(of a woman in labor) exert downward pressure in order to push the baby out.

      • ‘You may have a strong urge to push or bear down with each contraction.’
      • ‘‘Some women actually worsen incontinence problems by bearing down rather than pulling the muscle up and in,’ she says.’
      • ‘The uncontrollable urge to push took over and I bore down hard.’
      • ‘She could feel the pressure bearing down; she so desperately wanted to push but prior experience told her not to.’
      • ‘The pain is intense and the urge to bear down and push the baby out starts now.’
      1. 1.1Put pressure on someone or something.
        ‘he bore down and allowed the Bears only one more run’
  • bear down on

    • 1Move directly toward someone or something in a purposeful or intimidating manner.

      • ‘Katherine saw another soldier bearing down on a helpless woman.’
      • ‘As the great beasts bore down on their attacker, their focus was taken away by the sound of an unfamiliar roar.’
      • ‘As the Dalek bears down on him, the Doctor tries to warn the colonists that the Daleks are dedicated to the destruction of all human life.’
      • ‘Dander up and with the wind at their backs Dulwich showed little sympathy for their guests' plight, the Aylesbury box a veritable battle area as wave upon wave of Dulwich's attacks bore down on goal.’
      • ‘So, we had to work really hard to get people's attention to get them to move as a result of this awesome storm that was bearing down on us.’
      • ‘Villa's offside trap had initially broken down to allow Henry to bear down on the Villa goal and after he cut back inside Ronnie Johnsen, he clipped his shot against the inside of the post.’
      • ‘He felt Mrs Yin had first braked unnecessarily in front of him and when he tried to overtake she accelerated, forcing him to drop back because the car coming in the opposite direction was bearing down on him.’
      • ‘Whenever I am in possession, Piranhas in blue shirts bear down on upon me like juggernauts.’
      • ‘When Harry saw her bearing down on him with an intent look he quickly scarpered and spent the rest of the evening hiding from her.’
      • ‘Experts said the talented footballer either fell off his bike and was hit, or purposely threw himself off it when he spotted the car bearing down on him.’
      • ‘From there the aircraft bore down on Manhattan.’
      • ‘As he twisted the key, Ethan bore down on him, shoelaces flapping, pants cuffs fraying against the pavement, the uncased Strat clamped under one arm.’
      • ‘All too often Carlow attackers were allowed to bear down on goal unhindered.’
      • ‘It's richly mounted, solidly acted, tautly directed - and bears down on you with a vengeance, just like that red-eyed hound from hell.’
      • ‘The Australian-born athlete picked off her peers moving through the field with ease before bearing down on victory in the closing stages.’
      • ‘Alone or in clusters, attackers bear down on him at breakneck speed, their razor-sharp blades ripping into the white ice.’
      • ‘Huge wildfires still are tearing across the region, bearing down on more homes and threatening more lives.’
      • ‘THE US was preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Dennis last night as it bore down on the Gulf Coast after killing up to 32 people across the Caribbean.’
      • ‘The alien life-form was inexorably bearing down on him, unstoppable, merciless and purposeful.’
      • ‘Standing up, Matt almost missed his chance as Haldis bore down on him quickly, but he leapt up as the assassin approached, his right foot sailing into the air at the side of the killer's head.’
      • ‘Just before the attack ended, one of the attackers bore down on Mr Najeib and bit his face, it was alleged.’
      • ‘England's captain Vickery stuck out a leg and tripped Emerick as he bore down on the try-line early in the first half of Saturday's game.’
      • ‘Years ago, as I walked with a veteran guide called Cecil Evans, the two of us were confronted by a bull elephant that bore down on us with a terrible, strident scream.’
      • ‘This storm is bearing down on Jamaica, not making direct landfall, but we're seeing enough thunderstorm activity that we may see mudslides as a result.’
      • ‘We have a rebel attack vessel bearing down on us.’
      advance on, close in on, move in on, converge on, approach, come close to, come closer to, move close to, move closer to, draw near to, draw nearer to, press on towards
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Take strict measures to deal with.
        ‘a commitment to bear down on inflation’
        • ‘This scheme appears to contradict the commitment to bear down on night noise.’
        • ‘This support was not just for the benefits that membership would bring in bearing down on inflation, but also for the fiscal discipline and wider advantages it would bring, particularly for business.’
        • ‘The purpose of the operation is to bear down on what we believe to be concentrations of insurgents and their equipment.’
        • ‘In Phase Two of the ETS we need not only to bear down on carbon emissions (which means tighter caps all round), but also to ensure a more transparent way of allocating the emission allowances in the first place.’
        • ‘He was especially eager to bear down on the then-flaccid economy.’
  • bear off

    • 1Change course away from the wind.

      • ‘Of course, once you catch a wave be sure to bear off and use it to sail down to the mark and increase your VMG.’
      • ‘I bore off under full sail and never came close to burying the boat's rail.’
      • ‘Suddenly she leapt into overdrive as I bore off 20 or so degrees to allow for the extra sail area and increase in apparent wind.’
      • ‘Whenever the boat slows down it pays to ease the sheet, bear off a couple of degrees and then point up again once the boat has regained speed.’
      • ‘Then bear off slightly, steering away from the wind (tiller away from the sails) until the sail just stops luffing.’
      1. 1.1Steer away from something, typically the land.
        • ‘Now you are the leeward boat, and they must stop bearing off, or they will hit and foul you.’
        • ‘If you're going out from the beach and on a collision course with a board coming in, and that board bears off to avoid a collision, don't alter your course to obstruct the other board, thus causing a collision.’
        • ‘This tactic may also force a trailing boat to bear off below you to avoid hitting your transom, putting them in your disturbed air.’
        • ‘When we finally bore off to enter Newport that evening, I am certain that the crew had suffered far more than the boat.’
        • ‘A Cuban patrol boat trailed the H-11, but bore off, apparently discouraged by the flag.’
  • bear on

    • 1Be relevant to (something)

      ‘two kinds of theories that bear on literary studies’
      • ‘So much for the outline of the theory as it bears on our present interests.’
      • ‘Does this have any bearing on the relationship between Informatica and Composite?’
      • ‘A direct consequence of this theory of embryological origin bears on the question of species transformism.’
      • ‘In this paper, we reviewed the extant literature that appears to bear on this point.’
      • ‘Walker's method of attending closely to cultural contexts and bringing questions of gender to bear on the study of violent crimes yields some striking results.’
      • ‘This study also bears on the nature and importance of changes in the configurational entropy on binding.’
      • ‘Voltinism bears on the hypothesis, especially in regard to T2 species, in two respects.’
      • ‘Third, our results bear on current approaches and findings in the network literature.’
      • ‘The representing homomorphisms allow the scientist to bring the powerful resources of set theory to bear on the surrogates.’
      • ‘The science that studies it will bear on a certain kind of being, immovable substance, immaterial being, not on being as being.’
      • ‘One of the most valuable aspects of his work is that it brings English thinking to bear on the art and theory of Continental European modernism.’
      • ‘Taranto's column also bears on our report from Thomas Lipscomb immediately below regarding the masks of John Kerry.’
      • ‘Several literatures bear on the relationship between gender and New Age beliefs and practices.’
      • ‘She brings the historian's craft to bear on the study of the epidemic raging at that time, and her account is both enthralling and meticulous.’
      • ‘This study has absolutely no bearing on the relative therapeutic potency of butterbur and cetirizine in hay fever.’
      • ‘Both look at how extra economic factors have a bearing on labour relations.’
      • ‘In this paper I want to take up certain Hindu formulations of the rasa theory which bear on aesthetic experiences, for several reasons.’
      • ‘Hendrickson skillfully incorporates relevant readings that bear on whether or not WPR requirements were met.’
      • ‘Here we review the animal and human studies that bear on this complex, yet common, clinical conundrum.’
      • ‘Here again the literary dimensions of the dialogue are presented as bearing on its philosophical content.’
      be relevant to, appertain to, pertain to, relate to, have a bearing on, have relevance to, apply to, be pertinent to, have reference to, concern, be concerned with, have to do with, be connected with
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1with adverbialBe a burden on (someone)
        ‘a tax that will bear heavily on poorer households’
        • ‘The turns and toils of life bear heavy on the soul of man.’
        • ‘In fruits and vegetables, the stimulation of ethylene production by cuts or bruises may be very large and bear considerably on storage effectiveness.’
        • ‘These menu costs will bear heavily on small-medium sized enterprises.’
        • ‘These last are the levies which bear most heavily on the poor, who pay no income tax.’
        • ‘Immigrant children and youth are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, and so their prospects bear heavily on the well-being of the country.’
  • bear something out

    • Support or confirm something.

      ‘this assumption is not borne out by any evidence’
      • ‘I'm not sure that my observation bears this assumption out, but if it is true, some thought should be given to the condition of ethics in the United States.’
      • ‘But ultimately he decided to hire us, and it bore itself out well.’
      • ‘Everything in Seymour's professional experience would seem to bear out Miller's contention.’
      • ‘Public opinion polls bear out this growing tolerance.’
      • ‘Lai notes that the mathematical treatment was as realistic as possible, using the full so-called Navier-Stokes fluid mechanics equation, but he hopes that experimental confirmation will bear the scheme out.’
      • ‘Election problems in various states such as Ohio, Virginia, Texas, California, and Florida bear them out, justifying a growing unease with electronic voting.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, as this article suggests and experience tends to bear out, the masses do judge certain subjects to be more important than others.’
      • ‘Most crucially, Ella Mae's and Peaches's assessment of socially and morally retrogressive nature of black man-white woman relationships bears itself out in Jones's eventual choice of Madge over Alice.’
      • ‘Several of these early assumptions were not borne out in the final programme.’
      • ‘I had a different view in relation to Steve Martin and sadly I've been misled in terms of what he told me, but again that's human nature bearing itself out.’
      • ‘Their opposition to slavery is borne out in Richard Popkin's studies of eighteenth-century racism.’
      • ‘I think this prediction really bore itself out.’
      • ‘Don Banks of Sports wrote: ‘The old debate about the offense selling tickets but defense winning championships bore itself out fittingly Sunday.’’
      • ‘In fact these assumptions are not borne out by the events that subsequently unfolded.’
      • ‘Clearly, if what we've been reporting bears itself out with facts on the ground, Sistani, his prestige already high, becomes even that much higher and he really walks away with tremendous political clout, should he choose to wield it.’
      • ‘I know that the Minister will bear these figures out and support me in this, because the growth in vehicle traffic grows greater than inflation every year.’
      • ‘We assume that statesmen think and act in terms of interest defined as power, and the evidence of history bears that assumption out.’
      • ‘But he also detects the familiar, steely resolve of a Chancellor who is convinced that they will be borne out.’
      • ‘Disc One is subtitled ‘Song Cycle No.1 for Rural Michigan ’, and the implication is that its 10 songs, recorded from 1996 to 1999, were intended to form a unified body of work, a promise that actually bears itself out pretty well.’
      • ‘Reducing seal populations or eliminating them, contributes nothing to the recovery of fisheries, as the Canadian experience bears out.’
      confirm, corroborate, substantiate, endorse, vindicate, give credence to, support, ratify, warrant, uphold, justify, prove, authenticate, verify
      View synonyms
  • bear up

    • Remain cheerful in the face of adversity.

      ‘she's bearing up remarkably well’
      • ‘They are very determined and they're bearing up well but their freedom has been taking away from them.’
      • ‘‘Farmers are bearing up to the crisis remarkably well,’ said Mr Gullett.’
      • ‘Your Mom goes shopping with Dottie and Betty, and over low-fat frozen-yogurt in the food court they worry about how Gloria's been bearing up since her Frank went into the hospital.’
      • ‘We are in touch with him and his is bearing up well and keeping himself busy.’
      • ‘He is really upset that his mum is suddenly gone, but he is bearing up really well, I am very proud of him, and I am sure his mum would be too.’
      • ‘He told me the Queen was bearing up bravely but that Charles couldn't speak to anyone at the moment.’
      • ‘It'll be interesting to see how he bears up under this and what happens.’
      • ‘A police spokeswoman said: ‘They're bearing up well considering the circumstances, but are obviously very anxious for Danielle's welfare.’’
      • ‘‘I hope he is personally bearing up under the strain of all of this and obviously we will hear more this afternoon,’ he said.’
      • ‘His wife is okay and bearing up at the moment and we are just very shocked by what has happened and don't really know what to say.’
      • ‘The children are bearing up as well as can be expected.’
      • ‘She added: ‘Tina is bearing up as well as can be expected.’’
      • ‘The victim is bearing up reasonably well considering her ordeal.’
      • ‘She is bearing up very well, but she has had a tremendous shock.’
      • ‘That, and a few personal asides on how he is bearing up under the pressure he has been under over the past few months, should have sufficed as a justification for the 45 bill each member of the lobby had to stump up for the three courses.’
      • ‘Edmond bore up bravely and I think even enjoyed himself quite a bit, despite a tap-dancing scene which exceeded my tolerance as well.’
      • ‘Well, she is bearing up as well as she can simply because between her and my father they never left anything unsaid, particularly their love for each other.’
      • ‘In my mind, dignity comes from bearing up under suffering we meet throughout our lives rather than letting it destroy us, and from facing fears rather than caving in to them.’
      • ‘It's a learning experience for sure, something you have to bear up for and get through.’
      • ‘Through it all, Ho has been bearing up as well as he can.’
      cope, persevere, manage, endure
      View synonyms
  • bear with

    • Be patient or tolerant with.

      • ‘So she doubtless bore with some equanimity the news that Mr Smith has also been freed up to spend more time with his Munros.’
      • ‘For the next 48 hours, she bore with my frettings.’
      • ‘At least till then, the Usilampatti hospital patients may have to bear with the bread.’
      • ‘Thank you for bearing with us, Mr Virdi, while we considered your reaction to Sir Anthony's brief statement.’
      • ‘I'd like to thank local residents for bearing with us and for supporting recycling so enthusiastically.’
      • ‘The unprecedented scale of the bar's popularity even took us by surprise and I thank all our trade customers for bearing with us while supply caught up with demand.’
      • ‘We are grateful to people for bearing with us as we did the repairs.’
      • ‘The old rationale for bearing with mere authoritarians has crumbled away with the passing of the expansionist Marxist-Leninist totalitarians.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The project is progressing well and motorists are being very co-operative. We want to thank them and members of the public for the way they have been bearing with us in this immensely interesting time for the city.’’
      • ‘Please bear with me, as I spend most of the brief time left making my case, not rebutting yours.’
      • ‘He begins to suffer from confusion, which he bears with great patience and the most moving anxiety.’
      • ‘She passed to her eternal reward on Wednesday, 14th Aug., after a long illness which she bore with great strength and dignity.’
      • ‘Thank you for your patience in bearing with me this far.’
      • ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love.’
      • ‘The death took place on Monday, May 16, of Tommy Staunton, Sraheen following a long illness which he bore with great dignity and acceptance under the loving care of his wife Bridie and family.’
      • ‘Mr Gavin said: ‘We would like to thank staff, parents and pupils, and the community education service, for bearing with us during this time’’
      • ‘Gerry died after a long illness which he bore with great courage.’
      • ‘The VIP tickets rocked, and I'd like to thank my wife for bearing with me while I pointed out every other journalist, colleague and showbiz I knew over the 8 hours we were there, stretched out having a picnic in front of 190,000 other people.’
      • ‘He has suffered a very long illness which he bore with resignation and courage.’
      • ‘Mr Proctor said: ‘Not only would we like to praise the commitment and dedication of all our hospital staff during this difficult period, but we would also like to thank our patients, their families and friends for bearing with us.’’
      be patient with, show forbearance towards, make allowances for, tolerate, put up with, endure, suffer
      View synonyms


Old English beran, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit bharati, Greek pherein, and Latin ferre.




Main definitions of bear in US English:

: bear1bear2



  • 1A large, heavy, mammal that walks on the soles of its feet, with thick fur and a very short tail. Bears are related to the dog family but most species are omnivorous.

    Family Ursidae: several genera and species

    • ‘Recent DNA analysis indicates that giant pandas are more closely related to bears and red pandas are more closely related to raccoons.’
    • ‘In the morning, new tracks tell us that a bear walked right past our tent, probably following its usual route.’
    • ‘This means more bear sightings, more run-ins with humans and increasing property damage.’
    • ‘He also described other cats, wolves, bears, peccaries, camels, and many other vertebrates from La Brea; the picture on the right depicts him in the field at La Brea.’
    • ‘These bears are omnivores and food is a top priority in their lives.’
    • ‘Multiple bear species, including polar bears and grizzlies, have been crossbred in zoos.’
    • ‘Dinerstein believes bears, wolves, bison, and elk are the way to go if the goal is to restore the grandeur of the Pleistocene to the Great Plains.’
    • ‘Polar bears are closely related to bears like the grizzly, but are considered marine mammals since they have adopted a marine lifestyle.’
    • ‘Hair samples that have been recovered from alleged Bigfoot encounters have turned out to come from elk, bears or cows.’
    • ‘If there were no genetic potential in the bear family to grow really thick fur, then no bears would ever have inhabited the Arctic.’
    • ‘When bears or mountain lions are killed, others come to take their territory, perpetuating the problem.’
    • ‘The bear, wolf, coyote, fisher, wolverine, otter, and lynx prey upon the beaver who is, nevertheless, a powerful antagonist when at bay.’
    • ‘In some parts of America, people like to hunt deer, elk and bears, while in other areas they hunt wild boars.’
    • ‘Scenes on the mugs include mountain lions, whitetail deer, bears, rainbow trout and geese.’
    • ‘The London zoo has an extensive collection of birds, small mammals, bears and hippos, and apes and monkeys.’
    • ‘Coyotes, foxes, bears, mountain lions, and bobcats all prey on livestock.’
    • ‘The five national and sixty six provincial parks contain a healthy population of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, bears, wolves, bison and woodland caribou.’
    • ‘Occasionally the bears eat small mammals, fish, and insects for extra protein (brown bear fun facts).’
    • ‘From North America came squirrels and raccoons, bears and bison, eagles and an elk.’
    • ‘In Squamish, cougar and bear sightings continue to increase as the animals' nearby natural habitat continues to decrease.’
    1. 1.1 A teddy bear.
      • ‘My stuffed bear, Cid, has quite a bit of built in presence into him.’
      • ‘Howard handed Schwarzenegger a pair of RM Williams boots, while the governor gave the Australian leader a toy bear.’
      • ‘It has raised more than £1m through the sale of toy bears.’
      • ‘At Mama's urging, Sister makes a wish on a star for a toy bear.’
      • ‘Alan and Patricia Campbell, authors of a popular series of children's books featuring a toy bear called Bromley, take a different line.’
      • ‘Fay designed her own bear collection and after she died a New Zealand bear artist designed a teddy in her memory.’
      • ‘The incident was reported in the Washington Post and an enterprising Brooklyn toyshop owner had the brain wave of creating a toy bear named Teddy's Bear.’
      • ‘Why use a friendly, cuddly bear, which is usually a toy and associated with young children, and exploit that?’
      • ‘He had a little toy bear in his left hand, which was the side facing up.’
      • ‘As a boy he cared more for the Yankees' star Mickey Mantle than for a toy bear.’
      • ‘By the summer of 1906, toy bears attracted crowds of little boys and their parents along boardwalks at the seaside resorts of the Jersey Shore.’
      • ‘Mandy grabbed Frizzy and Teddy, the bear that Mark won for her.’
      • ‘For $16 I bought a bear and a tiny plastic phone at my local toy store.’
      • ‘So, you could say I am having the best of my childhood now, buying bears, jigsaw puzzles, paper dolls and what have you.’
      • ‘Cuddly bears, toy cars, and children's books are all desperately needed for a special NSPCC Christmas party.’
      • ‘She handed him a small Icee bear toy, a silly straw, and a stack of tattoos.’
      • ‘The bears are collected at local fire and police departments in Massachusetts, but you can donate too.’
      • ‘The GWR FM morning crew will be selling cuddly bears to raise money for Swindon Cares.’
      • ‘Back to the toy stall and a battered old bear grabs your attention and you can't resist putting your hand into your pocket again.’
      • ‘I was close enough to listen to his patter as he gave the girl a cuddly little toy bear.’
    2. 1.2informal A nickname for Russia.
    3. 1.3 The constellation Ursa Major or Ursa Minor.
      • ‘One of the oldest constellations, Ursa Major, The Great Bear is also one of the best known.’
      • ‘They are the big and little bears, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, and they are among the best known constellations.’
      • ‘See a sky map of this "Little Bear" constellation (also known as the Little Dipper), learn its major stars' names, and read a description.’
      • ‘The paws of the Great Bear are up high, as if walking in the heavens, and the bowl of its Big Dipper is inverted as if pouring heavenly contents upon an awakening earth.’
      • ‘People from many different cultures have known about the two bear constellations from ancient times, but not everyone thought they were bears.’
  • 2A large, heavy, cumbersome man.

    ‘a lumbering bear of a man’
    • ‘O'Mara, a disgruntled bear of a man, contends that the case rests entirely on the credibility of Hearst, which is shaky at best.’
    • ‘Did you ever hear someone describe a big, lumbering, warm-hearted bear of a guy?’
    • ‘When you spend a good time alone, like a week, without hardly saying a word to anyone, with hardly any phone calls, you tend to retreat into lumbering bear mode.’
    • ‘Old Ottokar Brandt (Siegfried Rumann of Grand Hotel), a great bear of a man whose crippled left arm once played a gifted violin, has taught his daughter all he knows of music.’
    • ‘It's not fun, it does hurt, abominably, and I do feel like a lumbering bear, huffing and puffing like Pooh on a bad day.’
    1. 2.1informal A gay or bisexual man with a burly physique and a large amount of body hair.
      ‘a bar frequented by bears’
    2. 2.2informal, dated A rough, bad-mannered, or uncouth person.
      ‘if I make a mistake he goes mad with rage—he's a bear’
      • ‘He can't come across as the bad news bear, lest people decide they don't want to listen to doomsday prophesies for the next four years.’
      • ‘This time Mrs. Blade calls in and she is a bear in the morning.’
      • ‘‘I go out with my mates a lot,’ she says when I suggest she might just be a little bit of a square bear.’
      • ‘At least my mother never mentioned I was a bear in the morning, getting up and ready for the school bus.’
      • ‘He was a bear to get along with sometimes, and temperamental as the very devil, but underneath it all he was really a good man and a great man.’
    3. 2.3US informal Something that is very difficult or unpleasant to deal with.
      ‘the car is an absolute bear to operate at low speeds’
      • ‘He can't come across as the bad news bear, lest people decide they don't want to listen to doomsday prophesies for the next four years.’
      • ‘At least my mother never mentioned I was a bear in the morning, getting up and ready for the school bus.’
      • ‘‘I go out with my mates a lot,’ she says when I suggest she might just be a little bit of a square bear.’
      • ‘He was a bear to get along with sometimes, and temperamental as the very devil, but underneath it all he was really a good man and a great man.’
      • ‘This time Mrs. Blade calls in and she is a bear in the morning.’
  • 3Stock Market
    A person who forecasts that prices of stocks or commodities will fall, especially a person who sells shares hoping to buy them back later at a lower price.

    as modifier ‘bear markets’
    Often contrasted with bull (sense 3 of the noun)
    • ‘Not surprisingly few paid attention to the bears until the stock markets peaked in early 2000 and the crash began.’
    • ‘If bears cannot close the market near the lows during a bear market, they are weaker than they would appear on the surface.’
    • ‘During a bear market the bears rule, and bulls don't stand a chance.’
    • ‘But will the market fall fast and hard as so many bears are forecasting?’
    • ‘Turmoil on international stock means stock market bulls and bears have persuasive arguments, but which prognosis do you believe?’
    • ‘Second, there is bias favoring bull speculators in the bond market vis-à-vis the bears.’
    • ‘Back then, a plunge in Impressionist prices touched off an art market crash; bears fret that the same thing could happen now if contemporary art prices go south.’
    • ‘The last bear in question was fund manager Tony Dye.’
    • ‘Thus, according to the gold bears, Gold Stocks are in a bear market with the current rally described as a bear market rally.’
    • ‘The same also holds true if bears push prices down but cannot achieve a close near the low, in which case a buy signal is issued.’
    • ‘Bear power, by contrast, is the capacity of bears to push prices below the moving average.’
    • ‘This means the bears are losing their grip on the market and simple inertia is driving prices lower.’
    • ‘Some of the best in the bond market say a bond bear could be at hand.’
    • ‘All of the late 1990's bears are now in such a deep hope.’
    • ‘The bears were in control then but paid the price by staying short the market.’
    • ‘But the bears priced at the bottom level will not be vintage, and certainly will not be by any of these makers.’
    • ‘The bottom-shunners, the market's many bears, fall back on fundamentals.’
    • ‘If prices fall to a new low but bear power shows a higher bottom, prices are falling and bears become weaker.’
    • ‘When it falls below the center line, the bears are the market's leaders.’
    • ‘Every fact and expert opinion that I read has convinced me that the real drop in our economy will be a severe depression that lies ahead when the bears are in full control of the stock market.’


  • loaded for bear

    • informal Fully prepared for any eventuality, especially a confrontation or challenge.

      ‘to play on the big stage that is New York, you'd better come loaded for bear’
      • ‘Manucci's mouth is loaded for bear, and he manages to keep insulting and lying to them even under torture or threat of death.’
      • ‘Now, additionally armed with the Sony DSC-T1 pocket camera, I'm 5 megapixels across the board and loaded for bear.’
      • ‘There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.’
      • ‘No subtlety, no finesse, just 30 guys showing up, loaded for bear and ready to die.’
      • ‘The Democrats are loaded for bear on the domestic side, and Bush better be ready.’
      • ‘We're in the midst of a major exercise and the B52's are all prepped and ready to go; loaded for bear and ready to crush an imaginary foe.’
      • ‘I had a mid-afternoon case of the sleepies and now I'm wide-awake and loaded for bear.’
      • ‘For Lehman, the Pike staff ‘came in loaded for bear.’’
      • ‘This was a one-squadron show so we were out in force and loaded for bear.’
      • ‘Ashcroft went before the Commission loaded for bear.’
      • ‘Sure, several nations are now loaded for bear, but they all insist that they would never be the first to touch off a nuclear conflict.’
      • ‘With Garciaparra expected back later this month and Martinez apparently over his usual midseason health scare, the Sox could be loaded for bear like never before in the second half of the season.’
      • ‘I think it goes without question that you know that Penske is going to be loaded for bear because it's in their backyard.’
      • ‘Expedition No 2 sees the intrepid trio bound for the Congo after Goliath Tigerfish, loaded for bear.’
      • ‘Loge, of Brentwood, Calif., has gone to the late rounds at just about every event he's attended and is loaded for bear.’
      • ‘It'll tell you that the 2000 Redskins were loaded for bear, that the 2001 Rams couldn't be stopped and that Michael Vick was destined to change the way the quarterback position is played.’
  • poke the bear

    • Deliberately provoke or antagonize someone, especially someone more powerful than oneself.

      ‘take a lesson from predecessors who have tried to challenge the company's gigantic corporate clients—don't poke the bear’


Old English bera, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch beer and German Bär.