v. sheared, sheared or shorn (shôrn), shear·ing, shears
1. To remove (fleece or hair) by cutting or clipping.
2. To remove the hair or fleece from.
3. To cut with or as if with shears: shearing a hedge.
4. To divest or deprive as if by cutting: The prisoners were shorn of their dignity.
1. To use a cutting tool such as shears.
2. To move or proceed by or as if by cutting: shear through the wheat.
3. Physics To become deformed by shear force.
1. often shears
a. A pair of scissors.
b. Any of various implements or machines that cut with a scissorlike action.
2. The act, process, or result of shearing, especially when used to indicate a sheep's age: a two-shear ram.
3. Something cut off by shearing.
4. also sheers (shîrz) (used with a sing. or pl. verb) An apparatus used to lift heavy weights, consisting of two or more spars joined at the top and spread at the base, the tackle being suspended from the top.
[Middle English scheren, from Old English sceran; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. N., from Middle English shere, from Old English scēar; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.