bear·​ing ˈber-iŋ How to pronounce bearing (audio)
: the manner in which one behaves or comports oneself : the manner in which one bears (see bear entry 2 sense 2f) oneself
a man of dignified bearing
… a confident and cheerful bearing.Sheridan LeFanu
: the act, power, or time of bringing forth offspring or fruit
a woman past bearing
: a product of bearing : crop
three bearings in a year
: an object, surface, or point that supports
: a machine part in which another part (such as a journal or pin) turns or slides
heraldry : a figure borne on a heraldic field (see field entry 1 sense 3c)
The lion is a common bearing.
: the situation or horizontal direction of one point with respect to another or to the compass
on a northerly bearing
: a determination of position
take a bearing
bearings plural : comprehension of one's position, environment, or situation
The ship lost its bearings in the fog.
helping new employees get their bearings
: relation, connection
often used with on
facts that have a direct bearing on the question
They assured us that their personal feelings had no bearing on their decision.
also : purport
the bearing of that remark
: the part of a structural member that rests on its supports
a beam with 4 inches of bearing upon the wall
Choose the Right Synonym for bearing

bearing, deportment, demeanor, mien, manner, carriage mean the outward manifestation of personality or attitude.

bearing is the most general of these words but now usually implies characteristic posture.

a woman of regal bearing

deportment suggests actions or behavior as formed by breeding or training.

your deportment was atrocious

demeanor suggests one's attitude toward others as expressed in outward behavior.

the haughty demeanor of the headwaiter

mien is a literary term referring both to bearing and demeanor.

a mien of supreme self-satisfaction

manner implies characteristic or customary way of moving and gesturing and addressing others.

the imperious manner of a man used to giving orders

carriage applies chiefly to habitual posture in standing or walking.

the kind of carriage learned at boarding school

Examples of bearing in a Sentence

a man of military bearing these new facts have some bearing on the case
Recent Examples on the Web According to experts, the Supreme Court’s ruling on race in college admissions has no legal bearing on Title VII, which focuses on matters of employment and workplace discrimination. Robert Sheen, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 The poster itself shows a pair of hands holding a roll of white ribbon bearing numbers. Tommy McArdle, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 Stabler takes a moment to get his bearings, then asks about his coworkers. Wesley Stenzel,, 18 Jan. 2024 His absence had some bearing on Memphis taking a 57-53 lead at the half as the Grizzlies benefited from 14 New York turnovers. Clay Bailey, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2024 So these crucible decisions have a huge bearing to happen infrequently. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 7 Feb. 2024 This benign climate has insulated the Fed from political pressure, though its actions will have a bearing on national elections this year. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2024 In reality, however, these chemicals may not have much bearing on interactions between adults, says Minna Lyons, a psychologist at Liverpool John Moores University in England who was not involved in the study, to the Guardian. Tara Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 Today’s top offerings provide versatility and ease of use, demystifying the sport so that first-timers can quickly get their bearings. Nathan Borchelt, Travel + Leisure, 8 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bearing was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near bearing

Cite this Entry

“Bearing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the manner in which one carries or conducts oneself
: a machine part in which another turns or slides
: the position or direction of one point with respect to another or to the compass
: a calculating of position
take a bearing
plural : understanding of one's location or situation
lost their bearings
: connection sense 2
personal feelings had no bearing on our decision

Medical Definition


: an object, surface, or point that supports

More from Merriam-Webster on bearing

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