bear - definition and synonyms

verb [transitive] 

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present tense
present participlebearing
past tensebore
past participleborne
  1. 1
    [usually in negatives or questions] if you cannot bear something, you cannot accept or do it because it makes you very unhappy
    can’t bear doing something/to do something:

    Sue can’t bear to be parted from her baby daughter.

    I can’t bear seeing food thrown away.

    can hardly bear to do something:

    I could hardly bear to watch.

    can’t bear the thought/idea of:

    She couldn’t bear the thought of moving again.

    more than someone can bear:

    Being made a fool of in front of a roomful of people was more than he could bear.

    1. a.
      [usually in negatives or questions] if you cannot bear someone or something, you dislike them very much

      Most of her friends can’t bear her husband.

  2. 2
    formal to seem to be a particular kind of thing or to have particular qualities
    bear the hallmarks/signs/stamp of something:

    The incident bore all the hallmarks of a racist attack.

    1. a.
      to seem to be similar to something or related to it in some way
      bear a resemblance/relation/similarity to:

      His description bore no relation to reality.

    2. b.
      to have features or qualities that show that something happened in the past
      bear the scars/marks of something:

      Many buildings in the town still bear the scars of the bombing.

  3. 3
    formal if something bears writing or a design, that writing or design is on it

    Every new coin bears a date.

    bear someone’s signature:

    The letter bore the signature of her grandfather.

    1. a.
      formal to have a particular name or title

      The city still bears the French name of Aix-la-Chapelle.

  4. 4
    literary to carry or take someone or something somewhere

    a coffin bearing the remains of an old man

    1. a.
      to support the weight of something

      The floorboards could not bear the weight of the piano.

    2. b.
      [usually passive] literary if something is borne along by wind, air, or water, it is moved along by it
    3. c.
      to carry or hold something, for example a weapon

      a missile-bearing warship

      bear arms (=carry weapons):

      Do you support the citizen’s right to bear arms?

  5. 5
    formal to give birth to a child
    bear someone something:

    She bore him three sons.

    1. a.
      if a plant bears flowers or fruit, it produces them

      The new stems bear the flowers.

       Synonyms and related words
  6. 6
    to have a particular feeling towards someone
    bear a grudge (=to continue to dislike someone because of a past event):

    I hope you don’t still bear a grudge against me.

    bear someone something:

    He had caused untold suffering, but they bore him no bitterness.

See also