Definition of shear
1a : to cut off the hair fromb : to cut or clip (hair, wool, etc.) from someone or something; also : to cut something from shear a lawnc chiefly Scotland : to reap with a sickled : to cut or trim with shears or a similar instrument
2 : to cut with something sharp
3 : to deprive of something as if by cutting lives shorn of any hope — M. W. Browne
4a : to subject to a shear forceb : to cause (something, such as a rock mass) to move along the plane of contact
1 : to cut through something with or as if with a sharp instrument
2 chiefly Scotland : to reap crops with a sickle
3 : to become divided under the action of a shear
Examples of shear in a sentence
The farmers sheared the sheep.
The farmers sheared the wool from the sheep.
Origin and Etymology of shear
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
First Known Use: before 12th century
Definition of shear
1a (1) : a cutting implement similar or identical to a pair of scissors but typically larger —usually used in plural (2) : one blade of a pair of shearsb : any of various cutting tools or machines operating by the action of opposed cutting edges of metal —usually used in pluralc (1) : something resembling a shear or a pair of shears (2) : 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
2 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
3a : internal force tangential to the section on which it acts —called also shearing forceb : 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
Before 12th Century
First Known Use of shear
before 12th century
SHEAR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of shear for English Language Learners
: to cut the hair, wool, etc., off (an animal)
: to cut off (an animal's hair, wool, etc.)
: to cut off a person's hair
SHEAR Defined for Kids
Definition of shear for Students
1 : to cut the hair or wool from : clip shear sheep
2 : to cut or clip (as hair or wool) from something
3 : to strip of as if by cutting The tyrants were shorn of their power.
4 : to cut or break sharply The sign was sheared off by a car.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up shear? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).