: any of various cutting tools or machines operating by the action of opposed cutting edges of metal—usually used in plural
: something resembling a shear or a pair of shears
: a hoisting apparatus consisting of two or sometimes more upright spars fastened together at their upper ends and having tackle for masting or dismasting ships or lifting heavy loads (such as guns)—usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction
chiefly British: the action or process or an instance of shearing—used in combination to indicate the approximate age of sheep in terms of shearings undergone
: internal force tangential to the section on which it acts
called alsoshearing force
: an action or stress resulting from applied forces that causes or tends to cause two contiguous parts of a body to slide relatively to each other in a direction parallel to their plane of contact
The farmers sheared the sheep.
The farmers sheared the wool from the sheep.
Recent Examples on the Web
Since then, he’s nearly tripled his walk rate (10.5%) and sheared a chunk off his K rate (18%) in 67 plate appearances.—Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 22 June 2023 The fast band of air in a jet stream (envision a rectangular tube) shears the slower air that resides just above and below it, destabilizing the jet stream’s somewhat flat top and bottom boundaries and changing them from firm to fuzzy.—Katherine Wright, Scientific American, 1 July 2023 Some parts of the brain are denser than others, and now this fact assumes fatal importance, because when a collision of greater than 15 mph occurs, the denser parts start shearing away from the less-dense parts, producing cataclysmic tears across the neural net.—Oliver Broudy, Men's Health, 17 Aug. 2023 Again, many trees were sheared 20 to 30 feet off the ground.—Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Apr. 2023 The force of the impact sheared the metal gate latch off the wall, according to Dominick Guerrero, a groundskeeper at Dodger Stadium.—Scott Miller, New York Times, 13 July 2023 The couple watch sheep having their wool sheared, sampled some of the local food produce, and Charles planted a tree.—Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, 21 July 2023 Hurricane Maria in 2017 battered Puerto Rico, shearing roofs off homes, flattening trees, and crippling the island's electricity grid and other infrastructure.—Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 15 June 2023 If the flowers seem to be slowing down, give your plants a light shearing to encourage more buds to develop.—Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 June 2023
This is a highly functional tool to have in any home and can seemingly sharpen anything (except salon-grade shears).—Meg Carney, Field & Stream, 21 Sep. 2023 If the crab legs are not pre-split, have kitchen shears available for splitting, and give each person a small seafood fork for getting the crab meat out of the shells.—Sheena Chihak, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Sep. 2023 Stephen Mason’s life has been shaped by guitars, barber shears and the Bible.—Bob Smietana, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2023 Each pair of shears also comes with a utility holster that fits comfortably on any belt.—Tom Price, Popular Mechanics, 14 Aug. 2023 McNoldy said this summer may be quieter in the Caribbean where El Nino’s shear can have more sway, but busier in Bermuda and U.S. East Coast north of the Caribbean, where El Nino isn’t as potent.—Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, 25 May 2023 The strap cutter on the Raptor Rescue shears has the sharpness and the hook design to cut through seat belt straps during an emergency.—Tom Price, Popular Mechanics, 14 Aug. 2023 Testing Notes: Think of these scissors as similar to the thinning shears your barber uses during your haircut.—Garrett Munce, Men's Health, 7 July 2023 The shears can rotate in both directions to prevent hand fatigue.—Nor'adila Hepburn, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 May 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shear.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English sheren, from Old English scieran; akin to Old Norse skera to cut, Latin curtus mutilated, curtailed, Greek keirein to cut, shear, Sanskrit kṛnāti he injures