bare

1 of 3

adjective

barer; barest
1
a
: lacking a natural, usual, or appropriate covering
b(1)
: lacking clothing
bare feet
(2)
obsolete : bareheaded
c
: lacking any tool or weapon
opened the box with his bare hands
2
: open to view : exposed
laying bare their secrets
3
a
: unfurnished or scantily supplied
a bare room
b
: destitute
bare of all safeguards
4
a
: having nothing left over or added
the bare necessities of life
b
: mere
a bare two hours away
c
: devoid of amplification or adornment
the bare facts
5
obsolete : worthless
bareness noun

bare

2 of 3

verb

bared; baring

transitive verb

: to make or lay (something) bare (see bare entry 1) : uncover

bare

3 of 3

archaic past tense of bear

Did you know?

Usage Note on Bear

There is considerable confusion between the verbs bear and bare. It may help to remember that the verb bare has only one meaning: "to uncover," as in "bare your shoulders" and "a dog baring its teeth." All other uses of the verb are for bear: "bearing children," "the right to bear arms," "bearing up under the stress/weight," "can't bear the thought," "bear south," "it bears repeating."

There is occasional confusion between bear and bare in adjectival uses (as in "he rubbed his bear arms"), but bear is properly a noun and only used like an adjective in the financial phrase bear market. All other uses refer to the state of being uncovered or naked and should therefore be bare: "bare necessities," "bare essentials," "bare arms," "bare bones," "bare-knuckle," and so on.

Did you know?

Usage Note on Bear

There is considerable confusion between the verbs bear and bare. It may help to remember that the verb bare has only one meaning: "to uncover," as in "bare your shoulders" and "a dog baring its teeth." All other uses of the verb are for bear: "bearing children," "the right to bear arms," "bearing up under the stress/weight," "can't bear the thought," "bear south," "it bears repeating."

There is occasional confusion between bear and bare in adjectival uses (as in "he rubbed his bear arms"), but bear is properly a noun and only used like an adjective in the financial phrase bear market. All other uses refer to the state of being uncovered or naked and should therefore be bare: "bare necessities," "bare essentials," "bare arms," "bare bones," "bare-knuckle," and so on.

Choose the Right Synonym for bare

bare, naked, nude, bald, barren mean deprived of naturally or conventionally appropriate covering.

bare implies the removal of what is additional, superfluous, ornamental, or dispensable.

an apartment with bare walls

naked suggests absence of protective or ornamental covering but may imply a state of nature, of destitution, or of defenselessness.

poor half-naked children

nude applies especially to the unclothed human figure.

a nude model posing for art students

bald implies actual or seeming absence of natural covering and may suggest a conspicuous bareness.

a bald mountain peak

barren often suggests aridity or impoverishment or sterility.

barren plains

Examples of bare in a Sentence

Adjective The brittle-looking branches of bare trees reached up from the horizon, and smoke could be seen curling from the chimneys of the sturdy stone houses in the villages we passed through. David McAninch, Saveur, November 2008
The dining room is warm and comfortable in a quasi-Tuscan-villa style, with bare wood floors, mottled walls, … and a glass room divider etched with images of grapes. Colman Andrews, Gourmet, March 2007
A scant two hours after his Derby victory, Monarchos was back in his … stall, beneath a bare bulb, eating carrots from a red bucket. Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated, 14 May 2001
There was a rug in the front room of the house, but the other floors were bare. Do not let the bare wires touch. He covered her bare arms with his coat. He had a glove on his left hand, but his right hand was bare. The ground was bare where the statue had stood for years. There was only one bare shelf. Her office was pretty bare, having only one desk and one chair. This is the barest room in the house. He only told me the bare facts about what happened. Verb Ed McMahon calls upon the canine coach to help him settle down his aggressive … terrier, which is nice to Ed but bares its teeth at guests. TV Guide, 29 Oct.-4 Nov. 2007
You could argue that the very act of conducting a lengthy poll by telephone skews the response pool. What sort of person bares her soul to pollsters for upward of an hour—and during the holiday season yet? Katha Pollitt, Nation, 4/11 Aug. 2003
When Eastman called Death in the Afternoon (Hemingway's nonfiction book about bullfighting) "a literary style of wearing false hair on the chest," Hemingway had no other options than to bare his hirsute midsection and duke it out with his rival author in front of their editor, Max Perkins. The common mythology is that Hemingway beat Eastman to a bloody pulp, but Perkins' account had Eastman gaining the upper hand. Will Manley, Booklist, 1 Apr. 2001
The better analogy is to bare all on the talk shows in which ordinary people are encouraged to reveal intimate aspects of their private lives. Richard A. Posner, New Republic, 21 Aug. 2000
He bared his chest to show the scar. finally bared the secret that she had kept to herself for so long
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
On the first day of every month, SNAP recipients start receiving their benefits and descend on the Walmart here,leaving many shelves bare. Annie Gowen, Washington Post, 12 July 2024 In a new Instagram carousel posted on Thursday, July 11, the pregnant Rhode founder, 27, shared a peek at her bare bump in a pair of unbuttoned denim overalls. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 12 July 2024
Verb
Lindsey Vonn dared to bare on the 2024 ESPY Awards red carpet. Luke Chinman, Peoplemag, 12 July 2024 Kelce's mustard blazer and pants, burgundy beanie and striped turtle-neck bared a uncanny resemblance to a Cheesecake Factory takeout bag, the company observed. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for bare 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bare.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Verb

Middle English, from Old English bær; akin to Old High German bar naked, Lithuanian basas barefoot

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bare was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bare

Cite this Entry

“Bare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bare. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

bare

1 of 2 adjective
ˈba(ə)r How to pronounce bare (audio)
ˈbe(ə)r
barer; barest
1
a
: lacking a covering : naked
trees bare of leaves
b
: lacking any tool or weapon
opened the box with his bare hands
2
: open to view
the scandal was laid bare
3
: empty entry 1 sense 1
the cupboard was bare
4
a
: just enough with nothing to spare
a bare majority
the bare necessities of life
b
: not decorated or added to : plain
the bare facts
a bare outline of the story
barely adverb
bareness noun

bare

2 of 2 verb
bared; baring
: to make or lay bare : uncover, reveal

More from Merriam-Webster on bare

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