less common spelling of

1 : being dried and withered
2 archaic : threadbare


\ ˈsir How to pronounce sear (audio) \
seared; searing; sears

Definition of sear (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to cause withering or drying

transitive verb

1 : to make withered and dry : parch
2a : to burn, scorch, mark, or injure with or as if with sudden application of intense heat
b : to cook the surface of quickly with intense heat sear a steak

Definition of sear (Entry 3 of 4)

: a mark or scar left by searing

Definition of sear (Entry 4 of 4)

: the catch that holds the hammer of a gun's lock at cock or half cock

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Synonyms for sear

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of sear in a Sentence

Verb The tree was seared by lightning. The flames seared my skin. The steak was seared over a hot grill.
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First Known Use of sear


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

Noun (1)

1874, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sear


Middle English seren, from Old English sēarian to become dry, from sēar sere

Noun (2)

probably from Middle French serre grasp, from serrer to press, grasp, from Old French, from Late Latin serare to bolt, latch, from Latin sera bar for fastening a door

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Time Traveler for sear

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Sear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sear. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sear


How to pronounce sear (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sear

: to burn and damage the surface of (something) with strong and sudden heat
US : to cook the surface of (something, such as a piece of meat) quickly with intense heat


\ ˈsir How to pronounce sear (audio) \
seared; searing

Kids Definition of sear

1 : to burn, mark, or injure with or as if with sudden heat searing pain The sight was seared into my memory.
2 : to dry by or as if by heat : parch
3 : to quickly cook the surface by high heat sear meat

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