shear

1 of 2

verb

sheared; sheared or shorn ˈshȯrn How to pronounce shear (audio) ; shearing

transitive verb

1
a
: to cut off the hair from
b
: to cut or clip (hair, wool, etc.) from someone or something
also : to cut something from
shear a lawn
c
chiefly Scotland : to reap with a sickle
d
: 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 hopeM. W. Browne
4
a
: to subject to a shear force
b
: to cause (something, such as a rock mass) to move along the plane of contact

intransitive verb

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
shearer noun

shear

2 of 2

noun

1
a(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 shears
b
: any of various cutting tools or machines operating by the action of opposed cutting edges of metal
usually used in plural
c(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
3
a
: internal force tangential to the section on which it acts

called also shearing force

b
: 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

Examples of shear in a Sentence

Verb The farmers sheared the sheep. The farmers sheared the wool from the sheep.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Two people were hospitalized and a car was left partially suspended in mid-air Saturday, June 8 after a traffic collision at an intersection in Lake Forest sheared a fire hydrant, the Orange County Fire Authority said. Mona Darwish, Orange County Register, 9 June 2024 The storm sheared the roof and walls off the building, mangling metal beams and leaving battered cars in the parking lot. CBS News, 27 May 2024
Noun
Joo appears aware of the show’s overstuffed story when The Atypical Family shears most of its subplots to focus on Gwi-ju’s time-travel and its consequences in the series’ final few hours. Geoffrey Bunting, TIME, 12 June 2024 All of this came after the decade when Burroughs, devastated over the break up with his lover Jack Anderson, famously cut off the tip of his pinky finger with poultry shears and sent it to him, and spent several months in a psych ward. Liza Lentini, SPIN, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for shear 

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.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

Verb

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

Noun

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of shear was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near shear

Cite this Entry

“Shear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shear. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

shear

1 of 2 verb
sheared; sheared or shorn ˈshō(ə)rn How to pronounce shear (audio)
ˈshȯ(ə)rn
; shearing
1
: to cut the hair or wool from
shearing sheep
2
: to deprive of by or as if by cutting off
shorn of power
3
: to become divided under the action of a shear
the bolt may shear off
shearer noun

shear

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: a cutting tool similar or identical to a pair of scissors but typically larger
usually used in plural
b
: any of various cutting tools or machines operating by the action of opposed cutting edges of metal
usually used in plural
2
: an action or force that causes or tends to cause two parts of a body to slide on each other in a direction parallel to their plane of contact

More from Merriam-Webster on shear

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!