bear down


Definition of bear down 

intransitive verb

: to exert full strength and concentrated attention

bear down on

1 : emphasize

2 : to weigh heavily on : burden

Examples of bear down in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Lewin also distrusts the WEA system and hesitated before using it in January when a once-in-200-year storm cell bore down on Montecito and dissolved the hillsides into a river of mud, debris and boulders, killing at least 21 people. Joseph Serna,, "More than 60 deaths in fires, floods exposes weaknesses in California's emergency planning," 18 Mar. 2018 The Monday meeting came at a time when both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu are under increasing domestic pressure from investigations bearing down on them and their families. Peter Baker And David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, "Trump’s Hopes of Being the ‘Neutral Guy’ in the Mideast Seem Long Gone," 5 Mar. 2018 In one of his boldest remarks, Macron defined rising nationalism as a top challenge bearing down on France and its European Union partners. Elaine Ganley, The Seattle Times, "Macron warns of nationalism in palace speech to lawmakers," 9 July 2018 Will all this energy manifest as some kind of pressure bearing down? Jenny Sharaf, The Cut, "Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of July 2," 2 July 2018 The weight of international money bearing down on the city, much of it sinister, affects every level of experience. David Netto, Town & Country, "All the Treasures at the Masterpiece Design Fair in London," 29 June 2018 Wall Street initially welcomed the news — before stocks gave back their early gains, borne down by the same weight of worry that has kept the major indexes trapped in a bearish rut. Evan Horowitz,, "Wall Street hates Trump’s trade threats as much as it loves his tax cut," 27 June 2018 The dominant image of the Group of Seven summit in Canada was of Merkel in front of her fellow leaders bearing down on an obviously petulant President Trump, sitting with his arms crossed, his chin jutting out. Alan Crawford,, "As Merkel’s Power Drains, the Threat to Europe Grows," 27 June 2018 Finally, all manner of historical heartache faded on May 7 when Ovechkin nudged the puck ahead to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who tore past the Penguins’ blue line in overtime and bore down on goalie Matt Murray. Alex Prewitt,, "Confident and at Ease, These Capitals Aren't Worried About Past Playoff Disappointments," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bear down.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bear down

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bear down

Statistics for bear down

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bear down

The first known use of bear down was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bear down

bear down

intransitive verb
\(ˈ)ba(ə)r-ˈdau̇n, (ˈ)be(ə)r- \

Medical Definition of bear down 

: to contract the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm during childbirth

Comments on bear down

What made you want to look up bear down? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!