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

  • transitive v. To char, scorch, or burn the surface of with or as if with a hot instrument. See Synonyms at burn1.
  • transitive v. To cause to dry up and wither.
  • intransitive v. To become withered or dried up.
  • n. A condition, such as a scar, produced by searing.
  • n. The catch in a gunlock that keeps the hammer halfcocked or fully cocked.
  • adj. Variant of sere1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Dry; withered, especially of vegetation.
  • v. To char, scorch, or burn the surface of something with a hot instrument
  • n. A scar produced by searing
  • n. Part of a gun that retards the hammer until the trigger is pulled.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Dry; withered; no longer green; -- applied to leaves.
  • n. The catch in a gunlock by which the hammer is held cocked or half cocked.
  • transitive v. To wither; to dry up.
  • transitive v. To burn (the surface of) to dryness and hardness; to cauterize; to expose to a degree of heat such as changes the color or the hardness and texture of the surface; to scorch; to make callous. Also used figuratively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Dry; withered: used especially of vegetation.
  • To become dry; wither.
  • To make dry; dry up; wither.
  • To wither or dry up on the surface by the application of heat or of something heated; scorch; burn the surface of; burn from the surface in ward; cauterize: as, to sear the flesh with a hot iron.
  • To deaden or make callous; deprive of sensibility or feeling.
  • To blight or blast; shrivel up.
  • Synonyms and Singe, etc. See scorch.
  • n. The pivoted piece in a gun-lock which enters the notches of the tumbler and holds the hammer at full or half cock. See cuts under gun-lock and rifle.
  • n. An obsolete spelling of seer.

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

  • adj. (used especially of vegetation) having lost all moisture
  • v. burn slightly and superficially so as to affect color
  • v. make very hot and dry
  • v. become superficially burned
  • v. cause to wither or parch from exposure to heat


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

Middle English seren, from Old English sēarian, to wither, from sēar, withered.
Probably French serre, something that grasps, from Old French, lock, from serrer, to grasp, from Vulgar Latin *serrāre, from Late Latin serāre, to bolt, from Latin sera, bar, bolt; see ser-2 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English seer, seere, from Old English sēar, sīere ("dry, sere, sear, withered, barren"), from Proto-Germanic *sauzaz (“dry”), from Proto-Indo-European *saus-, *sus- (“dry, parched”). Cognate with Dutch zoor ("dry, rough"), Low German soor ("dry"), German sohr ("parched, dried up"), Norwegian dialectal søyr ("the desiccation and death of a tree"), Lithuanian sausas ("dry").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English seeren, seren, from Old English sēarian ("to become sere, to grow sear, wither, pine away"), from Proto-Germanic *sauzēnan (“to become dry”). Related to Old High German sōrēn ("to wither, wilt"), Greek hauos ("dry"), Sanskrit sōsa ("drought"). The use in firearms terminology may relate to French serrer ("to grip").


  • V. iii.22 (518,6) my way of life/Is fall'n into the sear] As there is no relation between the _way of life_, and _fallen into the sear_, I am inclined to think that the W is only an M inverted, and that it was originally written,

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • Sooner or later they would get him, if he did not get them first, if he did not once again sear on their dark souls the flaming mastery of the white man.

    Something Is Done

  • The only gun I know that can be made full auto by filing the sear is the old M-1 carbine.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » President Calderon’s claim about “assault weapons”

  • So while you can put it in any HK type gun, don't put it in something else, like an FNC or AK (it has been done) thinking the sear is a license to convert any gun you can shoehorn it into.

    Camouflage ghillie suit for AR-15 Rifle Stocks

  • I'm surprised at how many I remember, though, because they do kind of sear into your mind, this giant jigsaw puzzle of all the words, forming a picture of an America where, first, we were naming the plants and animals and observing the Indians 'customs, whether they were tomahawks or caucuses.

    America In So Many Words

  • Aldis Wright must be right about 'sear' {135a} -- French _serre_ he says.

    Letters of Edward FitzGerald in Two Volumes Vol. II

  • Because the little wells trap in moisture, the burgers don't get any kind of sear on them-they more or less steam in their own juices-but for sliders, that's not a particularly bad thing.

    A Hamburger Today

  • "They take a tool, and they smash the burger on the grill and kind of sear the meat on the outside and seal in all the juices," Calhoun said. | news

  • Mr Collier, in _Notes and Queries_, Vol.VIII. p. 361, mentions that in Lord Ellesmere's copy of the First Folio the reading is 'sear'd.'

    Measure for Measure The Works of William Shakespeare [Cambridge Edition] [9 vols.]

  • Using brute force to "sear" certain truths into the consciousness of Arabs of varying descriptions has a certain heritage in Israeli and Zionist thought, going all the way back to Jabotinsky's theory of the "iron wall".

    Palestine Blogs aggregator


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  • The California summer lay blanket-wise and smothering over all the land. The hills, bone-dry, were browned and parched. The grasses and wild-oats, sear and yellow, snapped like glass filaments under foot.

    - Frank Norris, The Octopus, bk 2, ch. 5

    August 27, 2008

  • Also part of a Mauser 98 (rifle):

    "But most experienced snipers filed the two steel pimples that acted as levers on the rifle's sear in order to quicken its action and minimize the barrel's movement during firing."

    --David Macfarlane, The Danger Tree, 268

    May 13, 2008