Definition of dear in US English:

dear

adjective

  • 1Regarded with deep affection; cherished by someone.

    ‘a dear friend’
    ‘he is very dear to me’
    • ‘A country especially dear to me, as my wife's homeland.’
    • ‘Likewise, we want our lives to reflect those values and goals which are dear to us, and it is a source of pleasure to us when this is so.’
    • ‘Yet there are surely more things close and dear to the human heart than are dreamed of in Carver's fiction.’
    • ‘They like to hold on tightly to what they value as near and dear to them.’
    • ‘It took me a long time to learn the value of friends and I now have many who are very dear to me.’
    • ‘I admittedly was pretty uneducated about this disease but it has piqued my interest in the last few months as these clients are close relatives of someone very dear to me.’
    • ‘She is talented and very dear to me, but our concepts of music are totally different.’
    • ‘I gave everything of myself in support of the beliefs I held so dear.’
    • ‘Early this morning, that bar, which was very dear to me, my family and my friends, burned to the ground.’
    • ‘"Some dear friends from a Verdi opera were kind enough to donate these.’
    • ‘She'd hate to leave her friends… they were so dear to her.’
    • ‘I was nervous, certainly; afraid I might lose something dear to me.’
    • ‘Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own (Ethics of the Fathers 2: 15).’
    • ‘What a shame dear ol ' TinTin couldn't make it this time!’
    • ‘She joined a whole secret league of the hunters after being separated from a friend very dear to her.’
    • ‘And there was charity attached to it, something that was dear to his heart.’
    • ‘Naomi… my dear youngest sister… farewell for now, " he murmured.’
    • ‘The land where the plane had landed, everything belonging to it was intensely dear to me, ‘he wrote.’’
    • ‘Francesca supposed she was lucky to have avoided losing anyone dear to her.’
    • ‘She went quietly about her daily life and was held in fond regard by her dear friends.’
    beloved, loved, much loved, darling, adored, cherished, precious
    precious, treasured, valued, prized, cherished, special, favourite, favoured
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Used in speech as a way of addressing a person in a polite way.
      ‘Martin, my dear fellow’
      • ‘"Are you suggesting, dear sir, that we spoke to a ghost?’
      • ‘My apologies, dear sir, and thank you for revealing truth to me!’
      • ‘Never fear dear reader, I am alive and well.’
      • ‘"It is so good to see you, as well, brother dear.’
      • ‘Please dear reader, read the last paragraph once more.’
      • ‘Charles, my dear fellow, you've no idea how wonderful that made me feel.’
      • ‘No, dear friend… such things happen, and they happen right here in Mumbai.’
      • ‘An excellent idea, dear fellow, to not have a television.’
      • ‘Please dear God let Pakistan win some medals this time.’
      • ‘Today, dear reader, I have two words for you: night sweats.’
      • ‘"So brother dear… " I started, propping myself on my pillow.’
      • ‘"Gee, nice to see you too dear brother, " Benji said grinning.’
      • ‘I congratulate you, my dear fellow, I really do.’
      • ‘"Dinner is ready sister dear, " Mikael announces, poking his head around the door.’
      • ‘Thank you for staying here dear sirs, hope you had a nice time, please do visit us again.’
      • ‘"Well, for one thing, mother dear, I'm not a dog.’
      • ‘There engraved on the trunk was this… "Here, dear friend, I stand."’
      • ‘But disappear not in my ocean of thoughts, for I will always love you dear Unc.’
      • ‘"No… No please dear god… " she cried.’
      • ‘Dear reader, to all of these questions I can provide no answers.’
      beloved, loved, much loved, darling, adored, cherished, precious
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Used as part of the polite introduction to a letter, especially in a formula denoting the degree of formality involved.
      ‘Dear Sir or Madam’
      • ‘If the letter began ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’, you should sign off ‘Yours faithfully’.’
      • ‘The letter began, "Dear Sir, This year I spent my summer holidays on the Isle of Lylt."’
      • ‘Dear BI Career Consultants: How can we measure the true impact of technology on learning and student success?’
      • ‘By the way, I thought I remembered that right at the end of "Thirteen Days", JFK was dictating a letter beginning "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Anderson.’
      • ‘Dear Friend: First, I want to tip my hat to you.’
      • ‘"Dear friends world over, Nepal is closed for the time being.’
      • ‘The letter opened, "Dear Mother and Dad," and described the recent activity of the 7th Marines.’
    3. 1.3 Endearing; sweet.
      ‘a dear little puppy’
      • ‘Or perhaps she felt that I am a simpleton who would welcome such kittens in his inbox, and that when I saw its dear little ears I would be happy.’
      • ‘It would seem that Sammy's dear little darling sister has struck again.’
      • ‘It wasn't that Uncle Henry's house wasn't pretty, but I did miss my dear little swing.’
      • ‘That was the year James was born, and we bought our first new car, a dear little red Mini.’
      • ‘I have some advice for members out of this dear little book, which is called The Little Book of Calm.’
      • ‘But eventually, even a Labrador's jaw will tire, at which point the dear little animal will inevitably leave the thing where it can most conveniently be fallen over by someone carrying a full mug of hot liquid.’
      • ‘Inevitably, she decided that a newly painted windowsill would be the better for dear little paw-prints and was duly shouted at.’
      • ‘But Jimmy Grimble smells like a sweet and innocuous film from the get-go, thus we know someone's going to get their comeuppance, and it isn't dear little Jimmy.’
      • ‘One of them gave me the most poisonous looks, but later she came to me and said ‘what a dear little child.’’
      • ‘Here I might be in trouble with the law again, for my dear little Jack Russell terrier Polly has had her tail docked.’
      • ‘We delivered our little dog into the tender care of the vet, and we needed to know that, whatever the outcome for our dear little dog Sally, we had the provisions set out in the Veterinarians Bill.’
      • ‘What happened to the dear little boy who used to play with you in the street?’
      • ‘How could Garfield be so cruel to that dear little mouse?’
      • ‘They both smiled at him a good deal, and one of them referred to me as ‘your dear little girl.’’
      • ‘It was quite a pleasant excursion for the dear little thing.’
      • ‘It's still a dumb haircut even on his dear little genius head.’
      • ‘I'm staying at a dear little guesthouse a bit of a way out for a couple of days and perhaps we could meet at one of the fringe meetings Boris will be addressing?’
      • ‘I've seen it happen more than once to some very dear, sweet people, and it's really heartbreaking to watch.’
      • ‘In the course of the last half hour the sheep have been efficiently caught by Dr Biswell, and I have fired a nasty looking white gloop down their dear little throats with a syringe.’
      • ‘You wouldn't believe how much I spend each week on assorted nuts and seeds to feed the dear little birds, not forgetting the cost of bird boxes and bird tables, some of which these days have proper tiled roofs and are as big as a house.’
      endearing, adorable, lovable, appealing, engaging, charming, enchanting, captivating, winsome, winning, attractive, lovely, nice, pleasant, delightful, angelic, sweet, darling
      View synonyms
  • 2British Expensive.

    • ‘He had extraordinary luck; he met a dealer with just what he needed, although he paid a dear price for them.’
    • ‘But Americans had to pay a dear price for that questionable privilege.’
    • ‘I don't use the blank rune any longer, but before the Age of the Internet when information was dear and costly, I used it and didn't have a problem with it.’
    • ‘She was forced to pay the £4 taxi fare from her benefits, which soon became too dear.’
    • ‘Tax payers are getting tired of always having to pay the dear price for the conduct of irresponsible and insensitive members of the public.’
    • ‘The end result will lead to sharp cuts in pensions, endowments and other investment returns for its members, who will now have to pay a dear price for a series of catastrophic management blunders.’
    • ‘Premiums are dear, typically in the range of $1 million per $25 million coverage.’
    • ‘Customers think organic food is too dear.’
    • ‘His wife dying, his children scattered, he has paid a dear price for his act of defiance.’
    • ‘A Philadelphia customer admired the company's cut glass but hesitated to buy any because it was ‘most extravagantly dear.’’
    • ‘The passenger was not happy with the Metrolink service, and said ticket prices were very dear.’
    • ‘They say these payments make it too dear to shoot films in the republic.’
    • ‘We are ready to pay a very dear price for this peace.’
    expensive, costly, high-cost, high-priced, highly priced, big-budget, overpriced, exorbitant, extortionate
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (of money) available as a loan only at a high rate of interest.
      • ‘But it was not until 1996 that Payne was informed by an agricultural adviser that the farming development loan was ‘very dear money’.’
      • ‘The theory is that depression in the export industries, coupled if necessary with dear money and credit restriction, diffuse themselves evenly and fairly rapidly throughout the whole community.’
      • ‘Right now, Britain's housing market is being hit by dear money.’
      • ‘A ledu official informed him the farm development loan he had signed with the bank was ‘very dear money’.’

noun

  • 1Used as an affectionate or friendly form of address.

    ‘don't you worry, dear’
    • ‘I'll do anything, for you, dear, anything, 'cause you mean everything to me.’
    • ‘On hearing our lament for a country gone frankly insane, she simply suggested, ‘Well, dears, why don't you move here?’
    • ‘After a moment had passed she smiled and said, " Of course, dear!"’
    • ‘Never let it be said that I don't have high expectations of you, my dears.’
    • ‘It was fine, dear, but please do be polite to your sister and let her finish.’
    • ‘So he says to the first, ‘How much do you love me, my dear?’’
    • ‘I thought you'd want what I want - sorry, my dear.’
    • ‘I restated my plight and asked: who might you be, my dear?’
    • ‘Make sure you don't spoil your dinner, dears.’
    • ‘"He'll be fine, don't worry dear, " Trudy confirmed.’
    • ‘"Good morning dear, " they both said as the three exchanged kisses.’
    • ‘Well dear are you sure you'll be okay if I send you alone?’
    • ‘‘Well, be careful where you go, my dears,’ she warned.’
    • ‘"Ok dear, I'll leave you here with Cassandra while I go finish some preparations.’
    • ‘"Now dear, it is quite alright to cry in situations like these.’
    • ‘A young nurse put me to bed and said: ‘Would you like a nice cuppa tea, dear?’’
    • ‘"Sorry, Dear, " smiled Izumi, contradicting her husband.’
    • ‘‘You're awfully late, dear,’ Prince Alfonso was heard to mutter in English.’
    • ‘Then, she looked at my friend and said, ‘But you need a bigger pair, my dear.’’
    • ‘"I hope you know how much we love you dear, " she said as she hugged her daughter.’
    darling, dearest, love, beloved, loved one, sweetheart, sweet, precious, treasure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sweet or endearing person.
      • ‘Sanjuro, I am sure you are much more mature than my own son, so could you be a good sweet dear and pass me that bundt cake pan?’
      • ‘And people look as if the poor old dear has said something obscene.’
      • ‘Oh, he is such a dear.’
      • ‘The poor old dear was probably out of her mind with worry by now.’
      • ‘Yes unfortunately she died sometime in the night, poor old dear.’
      • ‘But Sara didn't know how she could cheer the little dear's father.’
      lovable person, adorable person, endearing person
      View synonyms

adverb

British
  • At a high cost.

    ‘they buy property cheaply and sell dear’
    • ‘Buy cheap and sell dear, and that goes for people and the results of their labour.’
    • ‘Common sense (which is a surprisingly rare commodity) tells us we should buy cheap and sell dear.’
    • ‘The decline in service standards - which unions blame on a shortage of trained staff - are likely to cost the company dear.’
    • ‘An immature and petulant display by the centre-back cost his side dear as the game progressed.’
    • ‘If nothing else, Sircam and Nimda have established one thing: when it comes to viruses, ignorant staff can cost your company dear.’
    • ‘But the combination of political spin and media hype cost investors dear.’
    • ‘If a merchant is one who buys cheap and sells dear, Kirch broke that golden rule by buying dear with money he didn't have.’
    • ‘Then came the long years of the cold war which saw the Soviet Union continue to blindly follow communism even though that pursuit cost it and its people dear.’
    • ‘Motoring organisations have been worried by new legislation, which is awaiting its second reading in the European Parliament, that could cost motorists dear.’
    • ‘Fraud Squad officers from North Yorkshire police say they have encountered reports of several ‘scams’ which have cost local people dear.’
    • ‘The continuing dispute has, however, still cost the company dear.’
    • ‘Yet this costs the bank dear, because it carefully screens out companies which would like a Co-op account but which breach its guidelines.’
    at a high price, at an excessive price, at an exorbitant price, at high cost, at great cost
    View synonyms

exclamation

  • Used in expressions of surprise, dismay, or sympathy.

    ‘oh dear, I've upset you’
    • ‘Yes - the number had been disconnected - oh dear!’
    • ‘Then they went and ruined it all by upgrading to a new site - oh dear!’
    • ‘If you're a card-holder then you might be thinking ‘Oh dear!’’
    • ‘They described Jackson as ‘a bespectacled Australian’ - oh dear!’
    • ‘A few miles further on they will drive calmly past the carnage they have caused, and remark primly to each other ‘Oh dear!’’
    • ‘I've had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to war, thinking oh, dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will hear what I'm saying.’
    • ‘She started painting when she was told she was box office poison, and she thought, Oh, dear, it's going to be a long, sad period of life, and I've got to do something or I'll go crazy.’
    • ‘And she said, oh, dear, to think I am to blame for that.’

Phrases

  • for dear life

Origin

Old English dēore, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dier ‘beloved’, also to Dutch duur and German teuer ‘expensive’.

Pronunciation

dear

/dɪr//dir/