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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus