\ ˈwer How to pronounce wear (audio) \
wore\ ˈwȯr How to pronounce wear (audio) \; worn\ ˈwȯrn How to pronounce wear (audio) \; wearing

Essential Meaning of wear

1 : to use or have (something) as clothing : to have (a shirt, pants, etc.) over part of your body He was wearing blue jeans. She wore a red blouse to work. White coats are often worn by doctors.
2 : to use or have (something) on your body I don't wear glasses. He doesn't wear a watch. See More ExamplesAre you wearing perfume? a badge worn by police officers Were you wearing a seat belt?Hide
3 : to grow or arrange (your hair) in a particular way She wears her hair in a ponytail. I used to wear my hair long. He wears [=has] a beard now.

Full Definition of wear

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to bear or have on the person wore a coat
2a : to use habitually for clothing, adornment, or assistance wears a size 10 wear glasses
b : to carry on the person wear a sword
3a : to hold the rank or dignity or position signified by (an ornament) wear the royal crown
b : exhibit, present wore a happy smile commend the book for wearing its research so lightly— Brad Leithauser
c : to show or fly (a flag or colors) on a ship
4a : to cause to deteriorate by use
b : to impair or diminish by use or attrition : consume or waste gradually letters on the stone worn away by weathering
5 : to produce gradually by friction or attrition wear a hole in the rug
6 : to exhaust or lessen the strength of : weary, fatigue
7 : to cause (a ship) to go about with the stern presented to the wind
8 British : to accept or tolerate without complaint : put up with usually used in negative constructions your mates wouldn't wear it— Colin MacInnes

intransitive verb

1a : to endure use : last under use or the passage of time material that will wear for years
b : to retain quality or vitality the classics wear well
2a : to diminish or decay through use the heels of his shoes began to wear
b : to diminish or fail with the passage of time the effect of the drug wore off the day wore on
c : to grow or become by attrition or use the blade wore dull
3 of a ship : to change to an opposite tack by turning the stern to the wind — compare tack
wear on
: irritate, fray the constant beeping wore on my nerves
wear the trousers or wear the pants
: to have the controlling authority in a household
wear thin
1 : to become weak or ready to give way my patience was wearing thin
2 : to become trite, unconvincing, or out-of-date an argument that quickly wore thin



Definition of wear (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the act of wearing : the state of being worn : use clothes for everyday wear
2a : clothing or an article of clothing usually of a particular kind especially : clothing worn for a special occasion or popular during a specific period
b : fashion, vogue
3 : wearing quality : durability under use
4 : the result of wearing or use : diminution or impairment due to use wear-resistant surface


geographical name
\ ˈwir How to pronounce Wear (audio) \

Definition of Wear (Entry 3 of 3)

river 67 miles (108 kilometers) long in northern England flowing into the North Sea at Sunderland

Other Words from wear


wearer noun

Examples of wear in a Sentence

Verb He was wearing blue jeans. She wore a red blouse to work. White coats are often worn by doctors. He doesn't wear a watch. a badge worn by police officers Were you wearing a seat belt? She wears her hair in a ponytail. I used to wear my hair long. The teacher was wearing a frown. He wore a hole in his pants. Noun shoes that are perfect for everyday wear The deck is built to withstand years of wear. I got a lot of wear out of these boots. a new line of evening wear The carpet is showing signs of wear. You should inspect the tires for wear.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The pieces on offer are quintessentially Nanushka and include a mix of ready-to-wear garments and accessories options for women, like easy silk satin separates and vegan leather outerwear in the color of the season: green. Shelby Ying Hyde, Harper's BAZAAR, 18 Nov. 2021 And her epiphanic declaration of independence from the royal family is depicted as her decision to wear better clothes. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 Now the team has something to wear as well after introducing its first-year home kit at an invitation-only event at Banc of California Stadium on Monday. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Gender-specific dress codes, such as the requirement that men wear ties, are gone, in an effort to be more inclusive of all gender identities. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Nov. 2021 The ability to wear a device that offers technological applications. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 17 Nov. 2021 Without applying much more thought beyond satisfying some immediate need to react to a foreign government’s action, the sanctions rarely succeed in changing behavior, and adversaries may even wear the designation as a badge of honor. Blaise Malley, The New Republic, 17 Nov. 2021 There were all these ‘Free Lisa Myers’ buttons that Republican congresspeople would wear. Scott Tobias, Vulture, 17 Nov. 2021 Like the Diablillas, the Amazonas have become increasingly sought as opponents for teams of women who wear cleats and typical uniforms. New York Times, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Stellantis has launched a recall of more than 246,000 Ram Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab trucks to replace their fuel pumps because of wear that can lead to stalling or keep them from starting. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 18 Nov. 2021 However, the line can also be found at a limited selection of street wear retailers across the U.S. New York Times, 17 Nov. 2021 The athletic wear company New Era held the rights for a few years but gave them up in 2020. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2021 Always inspect the safety harness for signs of wear or damage before each use. Frank Sargeant, al, 17 Nov. 2021 Each model showcased a look from Hermès’ Spring Summer 2022 evening wear collection designed by Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski as Miranda July narrated a humorous, supposed inner-monologue for each exit. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 12 Nov. 2021 The extra wear-and-tear this early in the season certainly is not ideal, particularly in this case, with Brown out and a road game against the Cavaliers looming Saturday night. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Nov. 2021 Formal wear means putting on a pair of long pants and maybe a shirt with buttons. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 6 Nov. 2021 New Beginnings costar Brody Jenner also showed up to celebrate Swingers Club, which is inspired by retro preppy golf wear. Glenn Garner, PEOPLE.com, 5 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of wear


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wear


Middle English weren, from Old English werian; akin to Old Norse verja to clothe, invest, spend, Latin vestis clothing, garment, Greek hennynai to clothe

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best running shorts for women of 2021.

Learn More About wear

Time Traveler for wear

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near wear

weapons of mass destruction



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for wear

Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wear. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for wear


\ ˈwer How to pronounce wear (audio) \
wore\ ˈwȯr \; worn\ ˈwȯrn \; wearing

Kids Definition of wear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to use as an article of clothing or decoration He's wearing boots.
2 : to carry or use on the body I am wearing perfume.
3 : show entry 1 sense 1 He always wears a smile.
4 : to damage, waste, or produce by continued use … I had gone … by a different way so as not to wear a trail.— Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins
5 : to make tired
6 : to last through long use The cloth wears well.
7 : to lessen or end with the passing of time The day wore on.
wear out
1 : to make useless by long or hard use

Other Words from wear

wearer noun



Kids Definition of wear (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of wearing : the state of being worn
2 : clothing for a particular group or for a particular occasion children's wear rain wear
3 : damage caused by use

More from Merriam-Webster on wear

Nglish: Translation of wear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wear for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wear


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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