bear 1 (bâr)
v. bore (bôr), borne (bôrn) or born (bôrn), bear·ing, bears
a. To carry (something) on one's person from one place to another: bore the suitcase to the station.
b. To move from one place to another while containing or supporting (something); convey or transport: a train bearing grain. See Synonyms at carry.
c. To cause to move by or with steady pressure; push: a boat borne along by the current.
d. To carry or hold in the mind over time; harbor: bear a grudge; bear ill will.
e. To have as a visible characteristic or attribute: a letter bearing his name.
2. To conduct (oneself) in a specified way: She bore herself with dignity.
a. To hold up; support: This wall bears much of the weight of the roof.
b. To be accountable for; assume: bearing heavy responsibilities.
c. To have a tolerance for; endure: couldn't bear his lying; can't bear to see them leave. See Synonyms at endure.
d. To have grounds for; call for; warrant: This case bears investigation.
a. To give birth to: bore six children.
b. To produce; yield: plants bearing fruit. See Synonyms at produce.
5. To offer; render: I will bear witness to the deed.
1. To yield fruit; produce: peach trees that bear every summer.
2. To have relevance or influence; apply: They studied how the relativity theory bears on the history of science.
3. To endure something with tolerance or patience: Bear with me while I explain what happened.
a. To extend or proceed in a specified direction: The road bears to the right at the bottom of the hill.
b. To be directed or aimed in a certain direction or at a target: The guns were brought to bear upon the approaching fleet.
1. To exert muscular pressure downward, as in giving birth to a baby.
2. To advance in a threatening manner: The ship bore down on our canoe.
3. To apply maximum effort and concentration: If you really bear down, you will finish the task.
To prove to be right or justified; confirm: The test results bear out our claims.
To withstand stress, difficulty, or attrition: The patient bore up well during the long illness.
bear a relation/relationship to
To have an association with or relevance to: That remark bears no relation to the matter at hand.
bear a resemblance/liking/similarity to
To be similar to; appear or function like.
bear down on
1. To move rapidly toward: The ship bore down on the abandoned vessel.
2. To affect in a harmful or adverse way: Financial pressures are bearing down on them.
To come to a satisfactory conclusion or to fruition.
bear in mind
To hold in one's mind; remember: Bear in mind that bridges freeze before roads.
[Middle English beren, from Old English beran; see bher-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: Thanks to the vagaries of English spelling, bear has two past participles: born and borne. Traditionally, born is used only in passive constructions referring to birth: I was born in Chicago. For all other uses, including active constructions referring to birth, borne is the standard form: She has borne both her children at home. I have borne his insolence with the patience of a saint.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.