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verb, \ˈshir\

Simple Definition of shear

  • : to cut the hair, wool, etc., off (an animal)

  • : to cut off (an animal's hair, wool, etc.)

  • : to cut off a person's hair

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shear

shearedsheared or shorn play \ˈshȯrn\ shearing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to cut off the hair fromb :  to cut or clip (as hair or wool) from someone or something; also :  to cut something from <shear a lawn>c chiefly Scottish :  to reap with a sickled :  to cut or trim with shears or a similar instrument

  3. 2 :  to cut with something sharp

  4. 3 :  to deprive of something as if by cutting <lives shorn of any hope — M. W. Browne>

  5. 4a :  to subject to a shear forceb :  to cause (as a rock mass) to move along the plane of contact

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 :  to cut through something with or as if with a sharp instrument

  8. 2 chiefly Scottish :  to reap crops with a sickle

  9. 3 :  to become divided under the action of a shear

shearer noun

Examples of shear in a sentence

  1. The farmers sheared the sheep.

  2. The farmers sheared the wool from the sheep.

Origin of shear

Middle English sheren, from Old English scieran; akin to Old Norse skera to cut, Latin curtus mutilated, curtailed, Greek keirein to cut, shear, Sanskrit kṛnāti he injures

First Known Use: before 12th century




Definition of shear

  1. 1a (1) :  a cutting implement similar or identical to a pair of scissors but typically larger —usually used in plural (2) :  one blade of a pair of shearsb :  any of various cutting tools or machines operating by the action of opposed cutting edges of metal —usually used in pluralc (1) :  something resembling a shear or a pair of shears (2) :  a hoisting apparatus consisting of two or sometimes more upright spars fastened together at their upper ends and having tackle for masting or dismasting ships or lifting heavy loads (as guns) —usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

  2. 2 chiefly British :  the action or process or an instance of shearing —used in combination to indicate the approximate age of sheep in terms of shearings undergone

  3. 3a :  internal force tangential to the section on which it acts —called also shearing forceb :  an action or stress resulting from applied forces that causes or tends to cause two contiguous parts of a body to slide relatively to each other in a direction parallel to their plane of contact

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of shear

before 12th century

Other Animal Husbandry Terms

SHEAR Defined for Kids


verb \ˈshir\

Definition of shear for Students

shearedsheared or shorn \ˈshȯrn\shearing

  1. 1 :  to cut the hair or wool from :  clip <shear sheep>

  2. 2 :  to cut or clip (as hair or wool) from something

  3. 3 :  to strip of as if by cutting <The tyrants were shorn of their power.>

  4. 4 :  to cut or break sharply <The sign was sheared off by a car.>

shearer noun

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