1. A stand on which a corpse or a coffin containing a corpse is placed before burial.
2. A coffin along with its stand: followed the bier to the cemetery.
[Alteration (influenced by French bière, coffin) of Middle English ber, from Old English bēr; see bher-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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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.