from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To hold up; support.
  • transitive v. To carry from one place to another; transport.
  • transitive v. To carry in the mind; harbor: bear a grudge.
  • transitive v. To transmit at large; relate: bearing glad tidings.
  • transitive v. To have as a visible characteristic: bore a scar on the left arm.
  • transitive v. To have as a quality; exhibit: "A thousand different shapes it bears” ( Abraham Cowley).
  • transitive v. To carry (oneself) in a specified way; conduct: She bore herself with dignity.
  • transitive v. To be accountable for; assume: bearing heavy responsibilities.
  • transitive v. To have a tolerance for; endure: couldn't bear his lying.
  • transitive v. To call for; warrant: This case bears investigation.
  • transitive v. To give birth to: bore six children in five years.
  • transitive v. To produce; yield: plants bearing flowers.
  • transitive v. To offer; render: I will bear witness to the deed.
  • transitive v. To move by or as if by steady pressure; push: "boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” ( F. Scott Fitzgerald).
  • intransitive v. To yield fruit; produce: peach trees that bear every summer.
  • intransitive v. To have relevance; apply: They studied the ways in which the relativity theory bears on the history of science.
  • intransitive v. To exert pressure, force, or influence.
  • intransitive v. To force oneself along; forge.
  • intransitive v. To endure something with tolerance and patience: Bear with me while I explain matters.
  • intransitive v. To extend or proceed in a specified direction: The road bears to the right at the bottom of the hill.
  • bear down To advance in a threatening manner: The ship bore down on our canoe.
  • bear down To apply maximum effort and concentration: If you really bear down, you will finish the task.
  • bear out To prove right or justified; confirm: The test results bear out our claims.
  • bear up To withstand stress, difficulty, or attrition: The patient bore up well during the long illness.
  • idiom bear down on To effect in a harmful or adverse way: Financial pressures are bearing down on them.
  • idiom bear fruit To come to a satisfactory conclusion or to fruition.
  • idiom bear in mind To hold in one's mind; remember: Bear in mind that bridges freeze before roads.
  • n. Any of various usually omnivorous mammals of the family Ursidae that have a shaggy coat and a short tail and walk with the entire lower surface of the foot touching the ground.
  • n. Any of various other animals, such as the koala, that resemble a true bear.
  • n. A large, clumsy, or ill-mannered person.
  • n. One, such as an investor, that sells securities or commodities in expectation of falling prices.
  • n. A pessimist, especially regarding business conditions.
  • n. Slang Something that is difficult or unpleasant: The final exam was a bear.
  • n. Slang A highway patrol officer.
  • adj. Characterized by falling prices: a bear market.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large omnivorous mammal, related to the dog and raccoon, having shaggy hair, a very small tail, and flat feet; a member of family Ursidae, particularly of subfamily Ursinae.
  • v. To endeavour to depress the price of, or prices in.
  • adj. Characterized by or believing to benefit of declining prices in securities markets.
  • v. To carry something.
  • v. To be equipped with (something).
  • v. To wear or display.
  • v. To declare as testimony.
  • v. To put up with something.
  • v. To give birth to someone or something; it may take the father of the direct object as an indirect object.
  • v. To produce or yield something, such as fruit or crops.
  • v. To be—or head—in a specific direction or azimuth (from somewhere).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bier.
  • n. Any species of the genus Ursus, and of the closely allied genera. Bears are plantigrade Carnivora, but they live largely on fruit and insects.
  • n. An animal which has some resemblance to a bear in form or habits, but no real affinity
  • n. One of two constellations in the northern hemisphere, called respectively the Great Bear and the Lesser Bear, or Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
  • n. Metaphorically: A brutal, coarse, or morose person.
  • n. A person who sells stocks or securities for future delivery in expectation of a fall in the market.
  • n. A portable punching machine.
  • n. A block covered with coarse matting; -- used to scour the deck.
  • n. Barley; the six-rowed barley or the four-rowed barley, commonly the former (Hordeum hexastichon or Hordeum vulgare).
  • intransitive v. To produce, as fruit; to be fruitful, in opposition to barrenness.
  • intransitive v. To suffer, as in carrying a burden.
  • intransitive v. To endure with patience; to be patient.
  • intransitive v. To press; -- with on or upon, or against.
  • intransitive v. To take effect; to have influence or force.
  • intransitive v. To relate or refer; -- with on or upon; as, how does this bear on the question?
  • intransitive v. To have a certain meaning, intent, or effect.
  • intransitive v. To be situated, as to the point of compass, with respect to something else
  • transitive v. To support or sustain; to hold up.
  • transitive v. To support and remove or carry; to convey.
  • transitive v. To conduct; to bring; -- said of persons.
  • transitive v. To possess and use, as power; to exercise.
  • transitive v. To sustain; to have on (written or inscribed, or as a mark), .
  • transitive v. To possess or carry, as a mark of authority or distinction; to wear.
  • transitive v. To possess mentally; to carry or hold in the mind; to entertain; to harbor.
  • transitive v. To endure; to tolerate; to undergo; to suffer.
  • transitive v. To gain or win.
  • transitive v. To sustain, or be answerable for, as blame, expense, responsibility, etc.
  • transitive v. To render or give; to bring forward.
  • transitive v. To carry on, or maintain; to have.
  • transitive v. To admit or be capable of; that is, to suffer or sustain without violence, injury, or change.
  • transitive v. To manage, wield, or direct.
  • transitive v. To afford; to be to; to supply with.
  • transitive v. To bring forth or produce; to yield.
  • transitive v. To endeavor to depress the price of, or prices in.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To support; hold up; sustain: as, a pillar or a girder bears the superincumbent weight.
  • To support in movement; carry; convey.
  • To suffer; endure; undergo: as, to bear punishment, blame, etc.
  • To endure the effects of; take the consequences of; be answerable for.
  • To support or sustain without sinking, yielding, shrinking, or suffering injury.
  • To suffer or sustain without violence, injury, or change; admit or be capable of.
  • To suffer without resentment or effort to prevent; endure patiently.
  • To sustain, as expense; supply the means of paying.
  • To have, or have a right to; be entitled to; have the rightful use of, as a name, a title, a coat of arms, and the like.
  • To carry, as in show; exhibit; show.
  • To bring forward; render; give; afford: as, to bear testimony.
  • To carry in the mind; entertain or cherish, as love, hatred, envy, respect, etc.
  • To possess, as a property, attribute, or characteristic; have in or on; contain: as, to bear signs or traces; to bear an inscription; the contents which the letter bears.
  • To possess and use, as power; exercise; be charged with; administer: as, to bear sway.
  • To carry on; deal with.
  • To manage; direct; use (what is under the immediate control of one's will).
  • Hence, with a reflexive pronoun, to behave; act in any character: as, he bore himself nobly.
  • To sustain by vital connection; put forth as an outgrowth or product; produce by natural growth: as, plants bear leaves, flowers, and fruit; the heroes borne by ancient Greece.
  • To bring forth in parturition; give birth to, as young; figuratively, give rise or origin to.
  • To conduct; guide; take: as, he bore him off to his quarters.
  • To press; thrust; push; drive; urge: with some word to denote the direction in which the object is driven: as, to bear down a scale; to bear back the crowd.
  • To gain or win: now commonly with away or off; formerly, sometimes, with an indefinite it for the object.
  • In the game of backgammon, to throw off or remove, as the men from the board.
  • To purport; imply; import; state.
  • Nautical, to remove to a distance; keep clear from rubbing against anything: as, to bear off a boat
  • To gain and carry off: as, he bore off the prize.
  • To defend; support; uphold; second: with a personal object.
  • To confirm; corroborate; establish; justify: with a thing for the object.
  • With a more or less indefinite it for the object: To last through; endure.
  • To enable to endure; render supportable.
  • To conduct or manage.
  • To arrange; contrive; devise.
  • To be capable of supporting or carrying: as, the floor would not bear.
  • To lean; weigh; rest fixedly or burdensomely: as, the sides of two inclining objects bear upon or against one another.
  • To tend; be directed in a certain way, whether with or without violence: as, to bear away; to bear back; to bear in; to bear out to sea; to bear upon; to bear down upon; the fleet bore down upon the enemy.
  • Hence To have reference (to); relate (to); come into practical contact (with); have a bearing: as, legislation bearing on the interests of labor.
  • To be situated as to the point of the compass, with respect to something else: as, the land bore E. N. English from the ship.
  • To suffer, as with pain; endure.
  • To be patient.
  • To produce fruit; be fruitful, as opposed to being barren: as, the tree still continues to bear.
  • To take effect; succeed.
  • To be firm; have fortitude.
  • (nautical), to sail or proceed toward: as, we made all sail and bore up for Hong Kong.
  • In the stock exchange, to attempt to lower the price of: as, to bear stocks. See bear, n., 5.
  • n. A large plantigrade carnivorous or omnivorous mammal, of the family Ursidæ, especially of the genus Ursus.
  • n. The Anglo-Australian name of a marsupial quadruped, the koala, Phascolarctos cinereus. See koala.
  • n. The name of two constellations in the northern hemisphere, called the Great and the Little Bear.
  • n. A rude, gruff, or uncouth man.
  • n. In exchanges: Stock which one contracts to deliver at a future date, though not in the possession of the seller at the time the contract is made: in the phrases to buy or sell the bear.
  • n. One who sells stocks, grain, provisions, or other commodities neither owned nor possessed by him at the time of selling them, but which he expects to buy at a lower price before the time fixed for making delivery.
  • n. One who endeavors to bring down prices, in order that he may buy cheap: opposed to a bull, who tries to raise the price, that he may sell dear.
  • n. A popular name for certain common caterpillars of the family Arctiidæ, which are densely covered with long hair resembling the fur of a bear.
  • n. In metallurgy, one of the names given to the metallic mass, consisting of more or less malleable iron, sometimes found in the bottom of an iron furnace after it has gone out of blast.
  • n. Nautical, a square block of wood weighted with iron, or a rough mat filled with sand, dragged to and fro on a ship's decks instead of a holystone (which see).
  • n. In metal-working, a portable punching-machine for iron plates.
  • n. Barley: a word now used chiefly in the north of England and in Scotland for the common four-rowed barley, Hordeum vulgare. The six-rowed kind, H. hexastichon, is called big.
  • n. A pillow-case: usually in composition, pillow-bear.
  • n. The panda, Ælurus fulgens, otherwise called bear-cat.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. have rightfully; of rights, titles, and offices
  • v. put up with something or somebody unpleasant
  • v. bring forth,
  • n. massive plantigrade carnivorous or omnivorous mammals with long shaggy coats and strong claws
  • v. cause to be born
  • v. behave in a certain manner
  • v. move while holding up or supporting
  • v. bring in
  • v. take on as one's own the expenses or debts of another person
  • v. be pregnant with
  • v. have on one's person
  • v. contain or hold; have within
  • n. an investor with a pessimistic market outlook; an investor who expects prices to fall and so sells now in order to buy later at a lower price
  • v. have
  • v. support or hold in a certain manner


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English beren, from Old English beran; see bher-1 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English bere, from Old English bera; see bher-2 in Indo-European roots. Sense 3, probably from proverb To sell the bear's skin before catching the bear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bere, from Old English bera, from Proto-Germanic *berô (compare West Frisian bear, Dutch beer, German Bär, Danish bjørn).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English beren ("carry, bring forth"), from Old English beran ("to carry, bear, bring"), from Proto-Germanic *beranan, *barōnan (“to bear, carry”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer-, *bʰrē- (“to bear”), *bʰére-. Akin to Old High German beran ("carry"), Dutch baren, Gothic 𐌱𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌰𐌽 (baíran), Latin ferre, and Ancient Greek φέρειν (pherein), Albanian bie,bier ("bring, bear"), Russian беременная (beremennaya, "pregnant"). These derive from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰer-.



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  • "52. In metallurgy, one of the names given to the metallic mass, consisting of more or less malleable iron, sometimes found in the bottom of an iron furnace after it has gone out of blast."

    --Century Dictionary

    January 7, 2011

  • The Bears Among Us. Long article, but fascinating. Well... if you're into bears, I guess.

    July 2, 2009

  • "It was the best hostel we ever stayed in. The staff was very friendly, the rooms are clean and it was lovely to have the opportunity to have a bear at the bar in the evening."

    - Ute, Germany, review of Morag's Lodge on, 15 Oct 2008.

    November 22, 2008

  • Bears give birth in the winter. The bear cub is born as a shapeless and eyeless lump of flesh, which the mother bear shapes into its proper form by licking it (the origin of the expression "to lick into shape"). The cub is born head first, making its head weak and its arms and legs strong, allowing bears to stand upright. Bears do not mate like other animals; like humans they embrace each other when they copulate. Their desire is aroused in winter. The males do not touch the pregnant females, and even when they share the same lair at the time of birth, they lie separated by a trench. When in their fourteen day period of hibernation, bears are so soundly asleep that not even wounds can wake them. Bears eat honey, but can only safely eat the apples of the mandrake if they also eat ants. Bears fight bulls by holding their horns and attacking their sensitive noses. If injured, a bear can heal itself by touching the herb phlome or mullein. The fiercest bears are found in Numibia.

    (From The Medieval Bestiary)

    October 12, 2008

  • In castles, a tower similar to a belfry.

    August 24, 2008

  • I picked up this usage from my father, an investor; he would call something 'a real bear' if it was particularly difficult, troublesome, or annoying, as in "the Beltway was a real bear to drive this morning" or "setting up that program can be a real bear unless you know how to do it".

    August 20, 2008

  • Sometimes confused with the right to arm bears.

    February 4, 2008

  • See also, ursine limb guarantee, enshrined in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as the right to bear arms.

    February 4, 2008

  • In second grade, my son's teacher had a stuffed bear named Shortstop in her classroom that the students were allowed to take home periodically. See Free Association.

    February 4, 2008

  • Chained_have will be most pleased.

    November 30, 2007

  • Also an animal.

    November 30, 2007