from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To carry (something) on one's person from one place to another.
  • intransitive verb To move from one place to another while containing or supporting (something); convey or transport: synonym: carry.
  • intransitive verb To cause to move by or with steady pressure; push.
  • intransitive verb To carry or hold in the mind over time; harbor.
  • intransitive verb To have as a visible characteristic or attribute.
  • intransitive verb To conduct (oneself) in a specified way.
  • intransitive verb To hold up; support.
  • intransitive verb To be accountable for; assume.
  • intransitive verb To have a tolerance for; endure: synonym: endure.
  • intransitive verb To have grounds for; call for; warrant.
  • intransitive verb To give birth to.
  • intransitive verb To produce; yield: synonym: produce.
  • intransitive verb To offer; render.
  • intransitive verb To yield fruit; produce.
  • intransitive verb To have relevance or influence; apply.
  • intransitive verb To endure something with tolerance or patience.
  • intransitive verb To extend or proceed in a specified direction.
  • intransitive verb To be directed or aimed in a certain direction or at a target.
  • idiom (bear a relation/relationship) To have an association with or relevance to.
  • idiom (bear a resemblance/liking) /similarity) To be similar to; appear or function like.
  • idiom (bear down on) To move rapidly toward.
  • idiom (bear down on) To affect in a harmful or adverse way.
  • idiom (bear fruit) To come to a satisfactory conclusion or to fruition.
  • idiom (bear in mind) To hold in one's mind; remember.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Any of various other animals, such as the koala, that resemble a true bear.
  • noun A large, clumsy, or ill-mannered person.
  • noun One, such as an investor, that sells securities or commodities in expectation of falling prices.
  • noun A pessimist, especially regarding business conditions.
  • noun Slang Something that is difficult or unpleasant.
  • noun Slang A highway patrol officer.
  • noun Slang A hairy, stocky gay man.
  • adjective Characterized by falling prices.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A pillow-case: usually in composition, pillow-bear.
  • noun The panda, Ælurus fulgens, otherwise called bear-cat.
  • 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.


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

[Middle English beren, from Old English beran; see bher- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English bere, from Old English bera; see bher- in Indo-European roots. Sense 3, probably from the 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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  • Also an animal.

    November 30, 2007

  • Chained_have will be most pleased.

    November 30, 2007

  • 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

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

    February 4, 2008

  • Sometimes confused with the right to arm bears.

    February 4, 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

  • In castles, a tower similar to a belfry.

    August 24, 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

  • "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

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

    July 2, 2009

  • "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

  • Note on etymonline:

    "Stock market meaning 'speculator for a fall' is 1709 shortening of bearskin jobber (from the proverb sell the bearskin before one has caught the bear); i.e. 'one who sells stock for future delivery, expecting that meanwhile prices will fall'."

    August 9, 2021