bear

noun, often attributive
\ ˈber How to pronounce bear (audio) \
plural bears

Definition of bear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 or plural bear : any of a family (Ursidae of the order Carnivora) of large heavy mammals of America and Eurasia that have long shaggy hair, rudimentary tails, and plantigrade feet and feed largely on fruit, plant matter, and insects as well as on flesh
2 : a surly, uncouth, burly, or shambling person a tall, friendly bear of a man
3 [probably from the proverb about selling the bearskin before catching the bear] : one that sells securities or commodities in expectation of a price decline — compare bull
4 : something difficult to do or deal with the oven is a bear to clean

bear

verb
\ ˈber How to pronounce bear (audio) \
bore\ ˈbȯr How to pronounce bear (audio) \; borne also born\ ˈbȯrn How to pronounce bear (audio) \; bearing

Definition of bear (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to accept or allow oneself to be subjected to especially without giving way couldn't bear the pain I can't bear seeing you cry
b : to call for as suitable or essential it bears watching
c : assume, accept
d : to support the weight of : sustain
e : to hold above, on top, or aloft
f : to admit of : allow
2a : to move while holding up and supporting (something)
b : to have as a feature or characteristic bears a likeness to her grandmother
c : to be equipped or furnished with (something)
d : to have as an identification bore the name of John
e : to hold in the mind or emotions bear malice
f : behave, conduct bearing himself well
g : to give as testimony bear false witness
i : lead, escort
j : render, give
3a : to give birth to
b : to produce as yield
c(1) : to permit growth of
(2) : contain oil-bearing shale
4 : thrust, press

intransitive verb

1a : to go or incline in an indicated direction
b : to extend in a direction indicated or implied
c : to be situated : lie
d : to become directed
e : to force one's way
2a : apply, pertain often used with on or upon facts bearing on the question
b : to exert influence or force
3 : to produce fruit : yield
4 : to support a weight or strain often used with up
bear a hand
: to join in and help out
bear arms
1 : to carry or possess arms
2 : to serve as a soldier
bear fruit
: to come to satisfying fruition, production, or development : to produce a desired result or reward
bear in mind
: to think of (something) especially as a warning : remember
bear with
: to be indulgent, patient, or forbearing with (someone)

Other Words from bear

Noun

bearlike \ ˈber-​ˌlīk How to pronounce bear (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for bear

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for bear

Verb

bear, suffer, endure, abide, tolerate, stand mean to put up with something trying or painful. bear usually implies the power to sustain without flinching or breaking. forced to bear a tragic loss suffer often suggests acceptance or passivity rather than courage or patience in bearing. suffering many insults endure implies continuing firm or resolute through trials and difficulties. endured years of rejection abide suggests acceptance without resistance or protest. cannot abide their rudeness tolerate suggests overcoming or successfully controlling an impulse to resist, avoid, or resent something injurious or distasteful. refused to tolerate such treatment stand emphasizes even more strongly the ability to bear without discomposure or flinching. unable to stand teasing

Usage Note on Bear

Verb

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.

Examples of bear in a Sentence

Noun Traffic in Knoxville, Tennessee, can be a bear anytime, but in late spring the slowdowns on Neyland Drive are often caused by Canada geese. — Joelle Anthony, Audubon, November-December 2004 True, the rally has been around the corner since Memorial Day. But bears have dominated market sentiment for so long since the Federal Reserve Board raised interest rates last February, that traders feel the market is headed for a major tectonic shift … — Anthony Ramirez, New York Times, 19 July 1994 Hikers in the woods are far more likely to wear a bell to deter bears than to take precautions against bees. But bears kill two to seven people in North America annually, bee stings kill 600 to 900. — Allan J. Davison, Chemical & Engineering News, 15 Mar. 1993 a mother bear and her cubs The bears outnumbered the bulls on Wall Street today. Verb A stone slab bearing 3,000-year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere. — John Noble Wilford, New York Times, 15 Sept. 2006 Large public buildings often bear only a loose resemblance to what was originally in the minds of the architects who designed them. Things get cut back to save money; somebody has second thoughts about the way part of the building will function; it takes so long to get public approval that the original idea starts to seem dated … — Paul Goldberger, New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2002 The most famous work of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), of course, was purifying milk with the process that now bears his name. — Brendan Miniter, American Enterprise, September/October 1998 In so-called parking schemes, securities aren't carried on the books of the true owner but are temporarily sold to someone else with the understanding that the seller will continue to bear any risk of loss and reap any profits. — James B. Stewart, New Yorker, 8 Mar. 1993 As a science fiction buff, many years ago, I remember being particularly fascinated by tales of genetic surgery. Imagine the surgeon … peering through the electron microscope, repairing the sickle-cell gene and returning the ovum to its mother, who would then bear a normal child. — Richard Novick, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 1987 The sight of Niña already there, snugged down as if she had been at home a month, finished Martín Alonso Pinzón. Older than Columbus, ill from the hardships of the voyage, mortified by his snub from the Sovereigns, he could bear no more. — Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America, 1974 a symphony that can bear comparison with Beethoven's best The company agreed to bear the costs. The criminals must bear full responsibility for the deaths of these innocent people. Who will bear the blame for this tragedy? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Keep an eye out for wildlife and always carry bear spray. Outside Online, 7 Apr. 2022 Cole was sitting outside of Baghdad with the sound of gunfire in the background, thinking of all the ways his life had been put in danger: helicopter crashes, parachute malfunctions, being shot at, dragged through the woods by a bear. Andrea Stanley, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Apr. 2022 Cole was sitting outside of Baghdad with the sound of gunfire in the background, thinking of all the ways his life had been put in danger: helicopter crashes, parachute malfunctions, being shot at, dragged through the woods by a bear. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2022 Among them was a backcountry guide killed by a bear last year along Yellowstone's western border. Matthew Brown, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Mar. 2022 That included a backcountry guide killed by a bear last April along Yellowstone's western border. CBS News, 25 Mar. 2022 Florida woman attacked and thrown on the ground by bear while walking dogs. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 19 Jan. 2022 Aydee talks about being attacked by a bear in Volusia County, Fla. NBC News, 19 Jan. 2022 The bear's natural habitat, the bamboo forests of China, was shrinking, and a survey found only 1,000 to 1,100 bears were left in the wild. Amy Eskind, PEOPLE.com, 12 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The raucous musical spirit and activist bent of the MC5 was on the agenda at the cozy Detroit venue, as Kramer and his new bandmates kicked off the Heavy Lifting Tour, prelude to a fall album that will be first since 1971 to bear the MC5 name. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, 6 May 2022 The unapologetic effort to bring political pressure to bear on the judiciary is shocking even to some media folk. James Freeman, WSJ, 6 May 2022 Health officials have also noted that those living in more impoverished areas have been more likely to bear the brunt of the pandemic. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 As always, when laws create barriers to health care, the people who are most affected can least afford to bear the cost. Alexis Mcgill Johnson, ELLE, 4 May 2022 The consequences of organizational chaos, regulatory fines and operational disruption are far too great to bear for all but the largest enterprises. Dan Cornell, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Lyrical and genuine in equal measure, Barry Jenkins’s ten-episode limited series asks viewers to consider American history in a new light, to bear witness to the scars that will never heal. Megan Jones, Chicago Tribune, 3 May 2022 The scene at the suburban Europark shopping mall in Moscow seems to bear that out. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 May 2022 Take, for example, the war’s impact on the global supply chain, an already fragile system that could be further stressed if Ukraine—one of the world’s largest producers of neon—continues to bear the brunt of Russia’s aggression. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 2 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of bear

Noun

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

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for bear

Noun

Middle English bere, from Old English bera; akin to Old English brūn brown — more at brown

Verb

Middle English beren to carry, bring forth, from Old English beran; akin to Old High German beran to carry, Latin ferre, Greek pherein

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Time Traveler for bear

Time Traveler

The first known use of bear was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near bear

beaproned

bear

Bear

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Statistics for bear

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bear. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bear

bear

noun
\ ˈber How to pronounce bear (audio) \
plural bears

Kids Definition of bear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 or plural bear : a large heavy mammal with long shaggy hair and a very short tail
2 : a person resembling a bear in size or behavior a large bear of a man He acted like a grumpy old bear.

bear

verb
bore\ ˈbȯr \; borne\ ˈbȯrn \; bearing

Kids Definition of bear (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : support entry 1 sense 1 bear weight
2 : to move while holding up and supporting : carry They came bearing gifts.
3 : to hold in the mind She bears a grudge.
4 : to put up with I can't bear the suspense.
5 : to assume or accept bear the blame
6 : to have as a feature or characteristic She bears a resemblance to her sister.
7 : give birth to bear children
8 : produce entry 1 sense 1 trees bearing fruit bear interest
9 : to move or lie in the indicated direction Bear right at the fork.
10 : to have a relation to the matter at hand These facts don't bear on the question.
bear down on
: to push or lean down on Bear down hard on your pencil.
bear in mind
: to think of especially as a warning Bear in mind that you only get one chance.
bear up
: to have strength or courage She's bearing up under the stress.
bear with
: to be patient with Bear with me.

bear

transitive verb
\ ˈba(ə)r, ˈbe(ə)r How to pronounce bear (audio) \
bore\ ˈbō(ə)r, ˈbȯ(ə)r How to pronounce bear (audio) \; borne\ ˈbō(ə)rn, ˈbȯ(ə)rn How to pronounce bear (audio) \ also born\ ˈbȯ(ə)rn How to pronounce bear (audio) \; bearing

Medical Definition of bear

: to give birth to

bear

verb
\ ˈbar How to pronounce bear (audio) \
bore\ ˈbōr How to pronounce bear (audio) \; borne\ ˈbōrn \ also born

Legal Definition of bear

transitive verb

1 : to physically carry (as an object or message) the right of the people to keep and bear armsU.S. Constitution amend. II
2 : yield the stock will bear a dividend
3a : to admit of : allow whatever price the market will bear
b : assume, accept you bear legal responsibility for him

intransitive verb

: to relate or have relevance will admit evidence bearing on her defense

Bear geographical name

\ ˈber How to pronounce Bear (audio) \

Definition of Bear

river 350 miles (563 kilometers) long in northern Utah, southwestern Wyoming, and southeastern Idaho flowing to Great Salt Lake

More from Merriam-Webster on bear

Nglish: Translation of bear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bear for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bear

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