Main definitions of wear in English

: wear1wear2



  • 1with object Have on one's body or a part of one's body as clothing, decoration, protection, or for some other purpose.

    ‘he was wearing a dark suit’
    ‘both ladies wore a bunch of violets’
    • ‘There was a girl standing in front of a mirror wearing a long black dress.’
    • ‘She wore the black sequined dress to her 37th birthday party at the Tate Museum.’
    • ‘Crews wearing breathing apparatus spent more than seven hours extinguishing the blaze and ensuring the property was safe.’
    • ‘To finish the outfit off, she decided to wear her black rimmed glasses rather than her contacts.’
    • ‘She was a fine-looking woman in her thirties, wearing a smart black dress.’
    • ‘The offenders were described only as wearing balaclavas and dark clothing.’
    • ‘She was wearing a silky black dress that stopped just above her knees.’
    • ‘A specialist cleaning company had to send in people wearing protective clothing and breathing masks to clear what turned out to be six tonnes of waste.’
    • ‘The man was wearing a dark navy suit, which fitted his body like a glove.’
    • ‘Both robbers wore balaclavas, dark clothing and hooded jackets.’
    • ‘I don't think they should go to the parade wearing suits and smart clothing because it just won't seem right at all.’
    • ‘Many of the victims wore multiple layers of clothing and carried small personal items like jewelry and medication.’
    • ‘She walked over to the other side of the room, wearing only her undergarments.’
    • ‘Mr Laing and the rest of the crew wore several layers of protective clothing, which made moving around the boat difficult.’
    • ‘He had no protective clothing and wore only overalls.’
    • ‘Bradburne, a no-nonsense lady wearing a headscarf to protect her head from the bitter north wind, shrugs her shoulders.’
    • ‘I do wear mini skirts sometimes but black ones not pink ones!’
    • ‘When meeting a man for the first time, wear an item of clothing that will make it easy and fun for him to spot you.’
    • ‘He was wearing a balaclava and dark clothing at the time of the incident.’
    • ‘The men, wearing ski masks and dark clothing, were seen running off down Water Lane.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of my eye, however, I can see two dark-suited men wearing shades leaning against a wall staring at me intently.’
    • ‘He is wearing a dark indigo suit, elegant in its tailoring, a fine white shirt, and a richly colored tie.’
    be dressed in, be clothed in, have on, sport
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    1. 1.1 Habitually have on one's body or be dressed in.
      ‘although she was a widow, she didn't wear black’
      • ‘Aymara men in the Altiplano region wear long cotton trousers and woolen caps with ear flaps.’
      • ‘And what about the robes that priests wear? They too are long, flowing and can be used to conceal such things.’
      • ‘Over 90% of North American women wear a bra, many without ever asking why.’
      • ‘Do you wear glasses or contact lenses?’
    2. 1.2 Exhibit or present (a particular facial expression or appearance)
      ‘they wear a frozen smile on their faces’
      • ‘She literally froze in mid-run, her face still wearing a fierce expression.’
      • ‘He wears such an infectious smile all the time that one finds it difficult to associate him with a subject as grim as mental health.’
      • ‘By the time I reached the girl Ryan was presently dancing with, Mark wore a skeptical expression on his face.’
      • ‘Alice, the head nurse, wore her usual grim expression and young Lily stood at the foot of the bed with wide, expectant eyes.’
      • ‘He's wearing a slightly dazed expression, but looks relaxed.’
      • ‘In fact, every classical musician had reasons to wear such a smile.’
      • ‘Mr. Harken, on the other hand, still wore the same pleasant expression.’
      • ‘One look at Sophia's face and the guilty expression she wore confirmed her suspicions.’
      • ‘Behind her stood Kip, hands on his hips and wearing an unusually serious expression.’
      • ‘He wore the broadest of smiles as Donald was presented with the cup.’
      • ‘Instead, you stand meekly, wearing your most hopeful expression, vainly attempting to read the seating plan upside down.’
      • ‘All wore grave expressions, and the children appeared close to tears.’
      • ‘The stern expression he wore did little to calm her already stretched nerves.’
      • ‘His familiar face appeared on the front page of the Brighton Argus, wearing an expression of glowering discomfort.’
      • ‘Usually he'd put a smile on his face during a meeting like this, but instead he wore a very dismal expression.’
      • ‘She then turned her head to look at Josh, who wore a very confused expression.’
      • ‘When she spoke again, she was almost whispering, and she wore a particularly vulnerable expression.’
      • ‘She looked at Dylan who was wearing a slight unfamiliar facial expression.’
      • ‘Tyler, who wore a politely puzzled expression, sat very comfortably on the couch, with one leg resting on top of the other.’
      • ‘However, his face wore an expression she knew all too well.’
      have, have on one's face, present, show, display, exhibit, bear
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    3. 1.3with object and complement or adverbial Have (one's hair or beard) at a specified length or arranged in a specified style.
      ‘the students wore their hair long’
      • ‘Kate stepped off the plane wearing a long skirt and a cute little blouse, wearing her long blonde hair in a ponytail.’
      • ‘She was wearing her long raven hair down like always, with just a touch of make-up gracing her pale skin.’
      • ‘I had fine hair which was worn long until it was cut when I turned sixteen.’
      • ‘He wore a well-trimmed gray beard and he kept his hair combed neatly.’
      • ‘She wore her light brown hair up in two messy Chinese-style knots on top of her head and had secured them with shoelaces, one neon orange and one plaid.’
      • ‘Perhaps she was a businesswoman now, who normally wore her shoulder-length hair in a tight bun.’
      • ‘He was neither tall nor short with graying hair and wore a well-trimmed beard.’
      • ‘Her honey-blond hair was worn in a shoulder-length bob and she had deep blue eyes.’
      • ‘Katy always braided her hair and Ansley always wore hers in a ponytail.’
      • ‘The girl, on the other hand, wears her glossy red hair long, tied back into a ponytail, and she had glittery black eyes.’
      • ‘His short, blonde hair is worn in a style that reminds you of a gush of water.’
      • ‘She wore her long blonde hair in a thick braid and her white dress swayed about her ankles as she walked to the other side of the porch.’
      • ‘Ann then played with Kat's hair for few minutes until it was just perfect; Kat's hair would be worn down.’
      • ‘She was in her sixties and wore her thinning gray hair pulled back in a loose bun with all but a few strands secured by bobby pins.’
      • ‘Milly, who had red hair which was always worn in a ponytail, and brown eyes, still had a child-like mentality.’
      • ‘She wore her honey-colored hair in a ponytail, a baseball cap shielding her face from the afternoon sun.’
      • ‘When it came to how Sarah's hair should be worn, there was an even greater dispute.’
      • ‘Her hair, which was worn up, was blonde with a tint of auburn.’
      • ‘Amy wore her long brown hair down and a light shade of pink eyeliner.’
      • ‘Her hard-set blue eyes were serious and cool, and she wore her reddish blonde hair in tight curls.’
      • ‘On a daily basis, he wears his lightly graying hair in braids, but for ceremonies he takes great care preparing his hair and traditional costume.’
      • ‘I remember that Jason wore his longish blonde hair combed over to one side.’
    4. 1.4Nautical (of a ship) fly (a flag)
      • ‘She still continues to wear the Blue Ensign until her hand-over to the Navy, scheduled for September, and her commissioning is due in October.’
      • ‘As well as being the senior ensign of the King's ships, the red ensign was also worn by merchant ships.’
      • ‘The Blue Ensign worn by Government vessels usually has the badge of the department in the fly.’
  • 2with object and adverbial or complement Damage, erode, or destroy by friction or use.

    ‘the track has been worn down in part to bare rock’
    • ‘I held out my hand and she passed something to me: a piece of glass, worn smooth by the water.’
    • ‘Above a small clearing the stream cascaded down a series of massive stone steps to fall into a deep, broad pool lined with raw rock worn smooth by the water.’
    • ‘Rough concrete wears the tires down more quickly.’
    • ‘Years of natural erosion have worn away the church's stonework.’
    • ‘The stone toe of Saint Jude, patron of impossible causes, was worn smooth by the desperate kisses of the faithful.’
    • ‘The rest of the shoreline was rock, worn smooth from the constant action of the waves.’
    • ‘They rose through a spiraling passage, surrounded by cool stone that had been worn smooth over the many long years of the school's existence.’
    • ‘If the cartilage is damaged by injury or worn away by arthritis for example, the ends of the bones can rub together, causing pain and restricting movement.’
    • ‘A hip replacement replaces a hip joint that has been damaged or worn away, usually by arthritis or injury.’
    • ‘Anyone can make a set of runes by burning the symbols on bits of wood or painting them on stones worn smooth by water.’
    • ‘The bluff's golden sandstone has been worn down by water and wind into stunning sculptures and patterns.’
    • ‘The inscription plate was barely discernible, having been worn smooth by years of polishing, but a copy has now been placed on a card placed inside the lid.’
    • ‘Whatever paint the porch rail once had has been worn away by time exposing the beautiful, smooth graininess of the wood.’
    • ‘Over time, however, the ocean - and heavy-footed climbers - steadily wore away the surrounding cliffs.’
    • ‘Their great old houses overflow with rough medieval furniture, threadbare tapestries and religious relics worn smooth by the touch of generations.’
    • ‘Then he noticed that the rock had been worn smooth, as if lots of people before him had also sat on it.’
    erode, abrade, scour, scratch, scrape, rasp, rub away, rub down, grind away, fret, waste away, wash away, crumble, crumble away, wear down
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    1. 2.1no object , with adverbial or complement Undergo damage, erosion, or destruction by friction or use.
      ‘mountains are wearing down with each passing second’
      • ‘The good news is that we can rebuild old loops and links on your jewelry that have worn thin and make them like new again!’
      • ‘Parking restrictions in parts of Oxford are no longer being enforced because road markings have worn away.’
      • ‘The road surface had worn smooth and in places there were sunken tyres tracks that caused vehicles to shudder when they pass over them.’
      • ‘When you say that your daughter's teeth have worn down, that implies that she might be grinding her teeth, probably at night.’
      • ‘Continually running an older car not designed to use unleaded petrol will eventually cause the coating to wear away, causing damage to the valves and cylinder heads.’
      • ‘The top layer of our concrete patio has worn away.’
      • ‘Over the years, the tip of the exposed pole came into contact with the underground cable and the fence became electrified when insulation covering the cable wore away, he said.’
      • ‘The road surface has worn away.’
    2. 2.2with object Form (a hole, path, etc.) by constant friction or use.
      ‘the water was forced up through holes it had worn’
      • ‘We followed a path worn into the grass, past what looked like a cornfield in its most premature state.’
      • ‘What is also happening as a result is that a path is being worn across the grass, which does nothing to enhance the look of the area.’
      • ‘Well, it's nice compared to T-shirts and dirt-stained jeans with holes worn into the knees.’
      • ‘Deep grooves and channels have been worn into the 600-year-old stone down the centuries.’
      • ‘Time and travelling feet have worn grooves into hillsides as much as 3m deep.’
      • ‘Bryony jogged along the narrow path worn into the floor of the forest.’
      • ‘Sure enough, the big toe sticking out of the hole she had worn in her soft leather shoes was swollen.’
      • ‘It turned out that the float had been vibrating against the body of the carburettor and had worn a little hole through it.’
      • ‘Today we see him sporting a Monty Python and the Holy Grail T-shirt with a pair of baggy jeans with holes worn in the knees.’
      • ‘Then there are the holes he wore in his jackets after putting them on for thirty years, or the mismatched patches she would use to sew them up.’
      • ‘Explaining why a formal dress-code hinders your ability to do your job should be easy enough if you're worn a hole through the knee on a pair of pants.’
    3. 2.3no object , with adverbial Withstand continued use or life in a specified way.
      ‘a carpet-type finish seems to wear well’
      • ‘These cars perform well; the slightly dowdy interiors wear well and the seat mechanisms have proved robust.’
      • ‘In addition to containing environmentally friendly raw materials, sustainable products typically wear well.’
      • ‘Our academics have won prizes for their work on Maori but it is my guess that much of their work won't wear well over time.’
      • ‘This carpet is less formal-looking but will wear well.’
      • ‘Whether you're planning to do the work yourself or get someone in, remember that gravel requires a firm, consolidated base to look good and wear well.’
      • ‘Gears without lubrication wear badly.’
      • ‘A ring that is plated with platinum but is actually sterling silver is probably not a good choice not because it might wear badly but because it is really only valued based on the underlying metal, which is silver.’
      • ‘I found the rugs didn't wear well either, but I love the colours, so I'm considering taking mine off the floor and hanging them too.’
      • ‘There's a no-nonsense look about the dashboard area - the car is clearly designed here to wear well and not date.’
      • ‘A bespoke suit will wear well and hold its cut for years.’
      • ‘Such testosterone-laden yarns do not wear well a millennium on.’
      • ‘So quite why the front tyres have worn badly on the inside edge I'm not sure.’
      last, endure, hold up, survive, bear up, keep going, carry on, prove durable, resist wear, stand wear, withstand wear, stand up to wear, do
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    4. 2.4wear onno object Cause weariness or fatigue to.
      ‘some losses can wear on you’
      • ‘Impatience and fatigue are wearing on the minds of hurricane victims in Pensacola, Florida.’
      • ‘In a culture where affluence and leisure are seen as birthrights, war, sacrifice, or even the mental fatigue about worrying over such things wear on us.’
      • ‘Fatigue was wearing on his already exhausted body, bewilderment on his mind.’
  • 3literary with object Pass (a period of time) in some activity.

    ‘spinning long stories, wearing half the day’
  • 4British informal with object , usually with negative Tolerate; accept.

    ‘the environmental health people wouldn't wear it’
    • ‘When it comes to paying too much money for an event the Government just won't wear it.’
    • ‘To replace bills with coins would save the Treasury at least $500m (£263m) a year. Yet Americans just won't wear it.’
    • ‘For a start you'd have the fossil fuel interests opposing nuclear power generation, but more importantly the Australian public just wouldn't wear it I think.’
    allow, permit, authorize, sanction, condone, indulge, agree to, accede to, approve of
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  • 1The wearing of something or the state of being worn as clothing.

    ‘some new tops for wear in the evening’
    • ‘He was also slightly more Catholic than the Pope, and a black soutane with a narrow picotee edge of brilliant carmine red is the garment affected by Cardinals for everyday wear.’
    • ‘She also has an own-name, off-the-peg collection suitable for occasion wear.’
    • ‘The gray physical-fitness uniform is no longer authorized for wear for physical training.’
    • ‘And while you may not incorrectly mark me as the kind of person to own more than a few black items of clothing, I don't have many really suitable for funeral wear.’
    • ‘She had left her hotel earlier that morning to complete a wardrobe of gowns suitable for wear in England.’
    • ‘I love mine, but it is pretty plain, which is perfect for everyday wear, but I would like something a different colour.’
    • ‘The polycotton floral patterned sarees can be suitable for casual or formal wear.’
    • ‘It's a well made children's line and is cut on the big size for plenty of wear.’
  • 2with modifier Clothing suitable for a particular purpose or of a particular type.

    ‘evening wear’
    • ‘There are a lot of vibrant colours in the traditional wear.’
    • ‘People hurried back and forth, wrapped in cloaks or swirling capes behind them, in peasant wear or merchant finery.’
    • ‘The two brands provide a series of swimwear, gym wear, underwear and accessories which are young, sporty and sexy.’
    • ‘This colourful handmade woollen wear come in green, red, ivory and black.’
    • ‘It is a vast style improvement on beach wear and ghastly ski wear.’
    • ‘For those who like to shop, Hawkshead offers outdoor wear, plenty of gift shops and some very nice pubs and cafes.’
    • ‘The site also features the firm's specialised fabrics such as blazer cloths along with corporate wear and men's and women's wear for the retail market.’
    • ‘Purchase bicycle clothing made of reflective fabrics or add reflective tape to all of your rainy-weather wear.’
    • ‘The event will feature 50 stalls selling everything from stylish hats and designer wear to the latest kitchen implements.’
    • ‘Today, these outfits serve as stage costumes rather than street wear.’
    • ‘There is a big price range for maternity wear, so you should be able to find lots of stuff you can afford.’
    • ‘To say that business wear has changed in the past couple of years is an understatement.’
    • ‘His smooth chat-up technique is hampered by an appalling taste in casual wear.’
    • ‘The shop not only sells a large selection of bridal wear, but also has bridal packages, beauty treatments and a range of other services all under one roof.’
    • ‘Casual wear is permitted after hours, as long as it follows the school dress code.’
    • ‘Patagonia has turned organic cotton and fleece made of recycled plastic into high-end outdoor wear.’
    • ‘And I think it's great that she is designing supercute, trendy maternity wear for your stores.’
    • ‘The programme began shortly after 8pm and featured the delegates in traditional East Indian wear and evening gowns.’
    • ‘Household and electrical goods and fashion wear have been the best-selling items, he said.’
    • ‘It offers 5,000 sq ft of quality footwear, from outdoor to special occasion wear and top brands like Ecco, Van Dal, and Clarks.’
    clothes, dress, clothing, attire, garb, finery, garments, outfits, wardrobe
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  • 3Damage or deterioration sustained from continuous use.

    ‘you need to make a deduction for wear and tear on all your belongings’
    • ‘Always drive in the correct gear for your speed - it reduces wear and tear on the engine components and also provides improved fuel efficiency.’
    • ‘Doctors suspect chronic back pain is caused by a combination of normal wear and tear on the joints of the back and poor muscle control.’
    • ‘The combination of solvents and heat is hard on fabrics and may cause as much wear as actual wearing of the garment.’
    • ‘This is in order to prevent premature wear of the valve seats.’
    • ‘Less wear and tear on the cars means fewer new car purchases.’
    • ‘Most guarantees expressly exclude faults which are the result of misuse by the consumer, accidental damage or normal wear and tear.’
    • ‘As a landlord you can refuse to return their deposit if they have caused damage beyond normal wear and tear.’
    • ‘For what it is worth, this pattern does show less wear in hard use.’
    • ‘Although ships are meant to be thoroughly checked every two years for cracks and other signs of structural wear, the inspections often do not take place.’
    • ‘This testing also provides a great opportunity to inspect your well pump for wear of its moving parts as well as the electrical system.’
    • ‘The teeth and their pattern of wear are unlike that seen in any modern mammal so what this animal ate is something of a mystery.’
    • ‘Because car carpets are expensive, it makes sense to protect them from damage or regular wear and tear.’
    • ‘Although your body can fix itself on the fly, damage accumulates if the rate of wear and tear is greater than the rate of repair.’
    • ‘It's not starting the engine that causes extra wear and tear.’
    • ‘Mum will tell you that it's not a cheap business paying for uniforms especially with the added wear and tear caused by skateboarding and playing footy in the schoolyard.’
    • ‘In osteoarthritis, the alignment of the leg changes because of wear.’
    • ‘It has been showing the effects of wear and tear for some time.’
    • ‘It is now starting to show signs of wear and tear.’
    • ‘Also, swap positions of the wheels with the most wear with less worn wheels.’
    • ‘Then he handed out our textbooks; I now had a math book and a history book, and the history book sustained the more wear and tear of the two.’
    damage, wear and tear, battering, friction, erosion, attrition, corrosion, abrasion, deterioration, degeneration
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    1. 3.1 The capacity for withstanding continuous use without damage.
      ‘old things were relegated to the bedrooms because there was plenty of wear left in them’
      • ‘Routine safety labeling must have adhesives strong enough to withstand wear, jarring and abuse.’
      • ‘Wildflower Farm also sells Eco Lawn, a blend of seven native grasses that grow well in arid conditions and are designed to withstand wear.’
      use, wearing, service, employment, utility, value
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  • wear one's heart on one's sleeve

    • Make one's feelings apparent.

      • ‘Happily, events on the park were a fitting tribute to the man who always wore his heart on his sleeve and played with a passion too often absent from the modern game.’
      • ‘The big Scot led from the front, making one goal and scoring the other, and generally wore his heart on his sleeve in an encounter that carried over several feuds from the first acrimonious meeting between the clubs in December.’
      • ‘He always wore his heart on his sleeve and has done wonderfully well here.’
      • ‘I showed my feelings and wore my heart on my sleeve.’
      • ‘He carried a bunch of no-hopers for years; he is a terrific motivator; he takes no guff from authority; he told Sir Alex where to go and was proved right; and he was a great player who wore his heart on his sleeve.’
      • ‘He is not pretentious in any way, he wears his heart on his sleeve and I think that projects to anyone listening to his music.’
      • ‘I know he wears his heart on his sleeve and I know he's a good manager.’
      • ‘He wears his heart on his sleeve and that's what we admire about him.’
      • ‘But this is a sparky and feisty player who wears his heart on his sleeve.’
      • ‘I think it's because he wears his heart on his sleeve and the emotion just pours out.’
  • wear thin

    • Be gradually used up or become less convincing or acceptable.

      ‘his patience was wearing thin’
      ‘the joke had started to wear thin’
      • ‘We started off with the best of intentions, but the stamina wore thin as the days and nights went by.’
      • ‘Graham was more diligent, and obtained some good results but, in the end, his patience wore thin and he came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth the effort.’
      • ‘Anyway, he was funny and fun; but then I saw him a few more times and the gag wore thin.’
      • ‘It wears thin though once the trivia bits begin repeating themselves.’
      • ‘‘Only then will you understand why our patience and tolerance is wearing thin,’ says a harried-looking constable.’
      • ‘The truth is, however, that you can only watch a movie so many times before the appeal wears thin.’
      • ‘This search for meaning through interior decor, however, wears thin and, while Alan is away in America where he has been head-hunted to run research for a leading textile firm, Patsy embarks on an affair back home in England.’
      • ‘But having said that patience locally is wearing thin.’
      • ‘Perhaps the excitement of her fantasies wore thin, and she became obsessed with the idea of confessing all, hence acquiring a thrill and notoriety of a different sort.’
      • ‘I thought the joke wore thin really quickly, actually.’
  • wear the pants

    • informal Be the dominant partner in a relationship.

      ‘there's no doubt who'll wear the pants in that house’
      • ‘And she knows to keep her mouth shut if she doesn't want to get belted. I wear the pants in my family.’
      • ‘David wondered vaguely why she got to wear the pants.’
      • ‘Life is indeed a downhill ride for Khasi men from the day they are born, shackled as they are to the matriarchal system where the females wear the pants in the family and males are psychologically emasculated.’
      • ‘Does he lose his sense of power if he doesn't wear the pants in the family?’
      • ‘Despite what Caz might say, the fact is that I wear the pants in our little family.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • wear someone/something down

    • Overcome someone or something by persistence.

      ‘they wore down their opponents to win the marathon match’
      • ‘They want to wear people down; they are counting on people like you and me to get tired, hungry.’
      • ‘With the strength of an ox, he will run all day to wear his opponent down.’
      • ‘I mean, I know there is no legal strategy to deliberately delay the progress of cases, or to wear people down.’
      • ‘The pleading in his voice must have worn her down.’
      • ‘In a world where human beings can never know enough people, and where their close relationships are worn down by misunderstandings and separations, literature serves as an experiment in sympathy.’
      • ‘In the final set he did not lose a single point on his serve and wore his opponent down with relentless rallying to complete the victory 6-1 in the third.’
      • ‘It already had been a long day, and the stress had worn me down.’
      • ‘Because of this, hares use their superior speed to try and escape but the superior stamina of the hounds wears the hare down to exhaustion.’
      • ‘After announcing his resignation to the university's board of supervisors, he acknowledged that the conflicts with faculty members had worn him down.’
      • ‘This was a peace process by sloth, a two-year long round of talks about talks about talks, which finally wore the parties down to the point where they would have put their names to just about anything the Prime Minister stuck in front of them.’
      • ‘While he has lost none of his charisma, the years of ridicule appear to have worn him down.’
      • ‘Free calls allow scammers to spend as long as they want wearing victims down with long calls or repeatedly phoning back.’
      • ‘Sometimes we argue and he wears my patience down and my only refuge will be an insult aimed at his mother.’
      • ‘Sometimes you see the bigger, heavier, stronger side wear the other team down but that didn't happen today.’
      • ‘After umpteen prosecutions for failing to display a UK motor tax disc, the authorities were worn down by his dogged challenging of their authority to levy tax.’
      • ‘Rugby league is brutally hard, especially in the early stages of a game, when space is at a premium and big men come together in a series of energy-sapping collisions, sniffing for weakness and looking to wear the opposition down.’
      • ‘This last 9 months in the wilderness of soul-destroying job applications and mind-numbing temp jobs had worn me down.’
      • ‘The previous year had worn me down, and I was hoping that 2004 would be a lot calmer.’
      • ‘For years our youth have been exposed to less than exciting training routines and game plans which have primarily focused on keeping the ball in hand and relying on brute strength to wear the opposition down.’
      • ‘He said his father had worn him down over years with derogatory comments and he just snapped.’
      • ‘He says continuing speculation about the company's future is wearing workers down.’
      • ‘Mr Johnston said officers had been worn down by staff reductions and the increase in workloads, as well as the imposition of pay awards below the rate of inflation.’
      • ‘The stabbing was a desperate response to his behaviour, after she had been worn down by years of mistreatment.’
      • ‘Over the years they wore the residents down with what can only be called ‘strong-arm tactics.’’
      • ‘He eventually wears her down with his persistence and convinces her to marry him by giving her mother and siblings a place to live when her father dies.’
      • ‘The frustration of trying to do this on my own is wearing my resolve down.’
      • ‘‘Sleep deprivation, food deprivation, being made to stand up for hours would be used in the past to wear people down,’ said one former officer.’
      • ‘I have to admit, I pretty much just wore him down.’
      • ‘The father said, ‘No, no, no,’ at first and refused, but finally he was worn down by the boy's persistence.’
      • ‘Some teachers, on the other hand, wait until their exit interview to voice concerns about conditions that have worn them down and driven them from the profession.’
      gradually overcome, slowly diminish, slowly lessen, slowly reduce, drain, erode, wear away, exhaust, undermine, chip away at
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  • wear off

    • Lose effectiveness or intensity.

      • ‘The more he kept moving the more he realized he still felt stiff so the injection's effect was wearing off.’
      • ‘Finally, after an extended period, the positive effects of antidepressants can wear off.’
      • ‘The excitement soon wore off and they sat side by side, idly reading through magazines Alexa had bought.’
      • ‘I knew the novelty would soon wear off.’
      • ‘They also said the effects would wear off and disappear altogether once users stopped taking oestrogen doses.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the hallucinatory effects of the food wore off all too soon.’
      • ‘The novelty of living in a hotel suite and surrendering your personal privacy soon wears off.’
      • ‘So there is curiosity at first, but it soon wears off.’
      • ‘After the effectiveness of the vaccines wears off, the risk of actual infection returns.’
      • ‘I went home and my anger soon wore off and I was sad about having had the argument.’
      • ‘The effect wore off quickly enough, and this time, it was Patrick who recovered first.’
      • ‘Admittedly the word carries slightly more force and shock value when uttered by a member of the fairer sex but the novelty soon wears off.’
      • ‘Will I be able to retain this enthusiasm for the gym or will the novelty soon wear off?’
      • ‘Even though the anaesthetic soon wore off, my lips did look slightly sore and a touch puffy - not my prettiest.’
      • ‘The pain began in earnest a couple of days after the accident, when the numbing effects of adrenaline wore off.’
      • ‘The effect was slowly wearing off and he'd really like to eat some real food.’
      • ‘Then after a few months or years the effects start wearing off and some people end up wondering what on earth they ever saw in their partners in the first place.’
      • ‘Initially it was therapeutic for me to retell the story, but that soon wore off.’
      • ‘For many bloggers, the novelty soon wears off and their persistence fades.’
      • ‘You may attend a religious service once or twice, but the novelty soon wears off if you can't understand what's being said.’
      fade, dwindle, diminish, lessen, decrease, wane, ebb, subside, weaken, lose intensity, lose strength, peter out, melt away, fizzle out, pall, taper off, tail off, grow faint, grow dim, evaporate, disappear, vanish, die, come to nothing, come to a halt, come to an end, run out
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  • wear on

    • (of a period of time) pass, especially slowly or tediously.

      ‘as the afternoon wore on he began to look unhappy’
      • ‘Sadly, as the months wore on, Mick began to get more and more difficult.’
      • ‘As the years wore on she began talking about leaving the Order, more and more.’
      • ‘That evening she was due to go out and as time wore on Jane began to call round friends and family to try and track her down.’
      • ‘As the days wore on Jon was beginning to get the feeling that Scott wanted no part of anyone anymore.’
      • ‘As the afternoon wore on, the sun moved around so that it was warming the side of the building on which we were sitting.’
      • ‘And then as the afternoon wore on, they'd move out and sit on the verandah and look out at the garden beyond.’
      • ‘As the day wore on the tranquillity of the afternoon is remembered as being almost unearthly.’
      • ‘But as the afternoon wore on, it became increasingly obvious that the Clarets were never going to score.’
      • ‘But as the evening wore on I began to realise the merit in this approach.’
      • ‘As the day wore on, we all began to realise just how privileged we were to be part of this expedition.’
      • ‘As the afternoon wore on, Evelyn began to notice more and more how the men treated her.’
      • ‘That night we all had a really great time, but as the evening wore on I began to feel a bit uncomfortable.’
      • ‘As time wore on, she began to suspect that maybe she was going around in circles.’
      • ‘It's the sort of thriller which, as time wears on, is beginning to look dated.’
      • ‘As the night wore on the smokers moved further and further down our table.’
      • ‘The first night at sea began calmly and William slept soundly but as the night wore on, the ship began to roll as she encountered a fair swell.’
      • ‘In Warsaw, the stadium scoreboard showed that the temperature was slowly but steadily dropping as the night wore on.’
      • ‘The day passed slowly for him and as it wore on he began to slowly give up hope.’
      pass, elapse, proceed, progress, advance, move on, run its course, go by, go on, go past, roll by, roll on, roll past, march on, glide by, glide past, slide by, slide past, slip away, slip by, slip past, fly by, fly past, steal by, steal past, tick by, tick past
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  • wear something out (or wear out)

    • 1Use or be used until no longer in good condition or working order.

      ‘wearing out the stair carpet’
      ‘the type was used again and again until it wore out’
      • ‘My old chemistry teacher used to lecture us lads about the virtue of having 31 ties, one for every day of the month, so they never wore out.’
      • ‘Excess calcium, though, can cause the heart to beat irregularly until the muscle wears out.’
      • ‘Initially made of hemp or vine the ring could be replaced whenever it wore out.’
      • ‘Other than that, cheap stuff, sale items, and a lot of hand-me-downs went into each backpack, which was also kept until it either wore out or became too youthful for its owner.’
      • ‘I adored this adventure and wore out the books reading it over and over again - as indeed I did with most of the Tintin books, except for the Moon ones which didn't enthral me as much.’
      • ‘I had a long way to walk to school and my boots wore out.’
      • ‘Its front wheels were incorporated into a trailer for use around the farm, and did sterling service until the bearings wore out.’
      • ‘Socks were made of pure wool, which wore out at the toes and heels so holes occurred very often.’
      • ‘Last Saturday the 55-year-old wore out some more sole leather on the anti-war march with up to 100,000 others in Glasgow.’
      • ‘But, while people were living longer, they were not working longer, because their bodies wore out.’
      • ‘That's because car designs are planned years in advance and old cars remain on the roads until they wear out.’
      • ‘Find a set you like better than any other, and use them until you wear them out.’
      • ‘We take many of these things - I'd add watches, jackets, and a few other types of clothes to the mix - entirely for granted until the old one wears out.’
      • ‘At our first meeting he took the bracelet off his wrist and snapped it onto mine, where it remained until it almost wore out.’
      • ‘The intensive care unit I used to work in did have the best equipment but once it broke or wore out there was no money to replace it.’
      • ‘Interestingly enough, he died not because his body rejected the heart or anything like that, but simply because the artificial heart wore out.’
      • ‘Its soundtrack album was one of the first records I owned, and played until the grooves wore out.’
      • ‘At the studio, I waited in a dressing room for everything to be over - I must owe ITV for the strip of carpet I wore out with all my pacing.’
      • ‘It has been a glorious century and mankind will be eternally grateful for its legacy, playing golden age recordings until they wear out.’
      • ‘I recently upgraded to a new cellphone because my old one just wore out, but I decided not to go the photophone route just yet.’
      deteriorate, become worn, show signs of wear, come to the end of its life, become useless, wear thin, fray, become threadbare, go into holes, go through, wear through
      use up, consume, go through, wear holes in, make threadbare, make worn
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    • 2Exhaust or tire someone or something.

      ‘an hour of this wandering wore out Lampard's patience’
      • ‘He reportedly dumped her because her bedroom antics wore him out.’
      • ‘So that whole driving trip wore me out although poor Mike did all the driving!’
      • ‘I've spoken to some of the other students who do bar work in the evenings, but they said it wears you out.’
      • ‘If anything, he wasn't being quite as surreal; the humour was more down-to-earth, about things like how having kids wears you out, and how people need to calm down in today's society, etc.’
      • ‘The night flight, combined with the two-hour time difference, wore us out.’
      • ‘All that driving and fighting wore me out.’
      • ‘Pundits and other political cynics scoff at citizens' efforts to reform our money-corrupted political process, saying it's as futile as trying to teach table manners to a hog - the effort wears you out and it only annoys the hog.’
      • ‘Sarah came to see him yesterday, which was lovely but wore him out.’
      • ‘Are you finding that touring can wear you out after a while?’
      • ‘He said: ‘I've cut down on the junk food and take more exercise. The workouts wear you out but are really good.’’
      • ‘I used to thrive on stress, but now it wears me out.’
      • ‘The system seems set to put you off, to slow you down and to wear you out.’
      • ‘We resorted to walking him around the lounge to try to wear him out.’
      • ‘She's only good at sitting up for two or three hours before she needs to lie down so I try to time these things so as not to wear her out.’
      • ‘The older you get, the more the travel wears you out.’
      • ‘Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day-to-day living that wears you out.’
      • ‘She and Howard were together for 18 years, and it wore her out.’
      • ‘All the tests and procedures are wearing him out.’
      • ‘I don't know what's wearing me out at the moment, but for the first time in years I actually fell asleep on the train.’
      • ‘I don't like talking on the phone to people I like, but talking to clients just absolutely wears me out.’
      fatigue, tire out, overtire, weary, exhaust, drain, sap, wash out, tax, overtax, enervate, debilitate, enfeeble, jade, incapacitate, devitalize, prostrate
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Old English werian, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin vestis ‘clothing’.




Main definitions of wear in English

: wear1wear2



  • Bring (a ship) about by turning its head away from the wind.

    ‘Shannon gives the order to wear ship’


Early 17th century: of unknown origin.