I. verb — [with obj.] 1. (of a person) carry • he was bearing a tray of brimming glasses
• the warriors bore lances tipped with iron.
2. (of a vehicle or boat) convey (passengers or cargo) • steamboats bear the traveller out of Kerrerra Sound.
3. have or display as a visible mark or feature • many of the papers bore his flamboyant signature.
4. be called by (a name or title) • he bore the surname Tiller.
5. ( bear oneself) — carry or conduct oneself in a specified manner • she bore herself with dignity.
6. support; carry the weight of • walls which cannot bear a stone vault.
7. take responsibility for • no one likes to bear the responsibility for such decisions
• the expert’s fee shall be borne by the tenant.
8. be able to accept or stand up to • it is doubtful whether either of these distinctions would bear scrutiny.
9. endure (an ordeal or difficulty) • she bore the pain stoically.
10. [with modal and negative] — manage to tolerate (a situation or experience) • she could hardly bear his sarcasm
• [with infinitive]
I cannot bear to see you hurt.
11. ( cannot bear someone/thing) — strongly dislike • I can’t bear caviar.
12. give birth to (a child) • she bore sixteen daughters
• [with two objs]
his wife had borne him a son.
13. (of a tree or plant) produce (fruit or flowers). • a squash that bears fruit shaped like cucumbers.
14. [no obj., with adverbial of direction] — turn and proceed in a specified direction • bear left and follow the old drove road.
II. phrases 1. bear the brunt of see brunt. 2. bear the burden of suffer the consequences of. • taxpayers bear the burden of government’s mistakes.
3. bear fruit yield positive results. • plans for power-sharing may be about to bear fruit.
4. bear a hand
‹archaic› help in a task or enterprise.
5. bear something in mind see mind. 6. bear someone malice (or ill will) [with negative] — wish someone harm. • he was only doing his job and I bore him no malice.
7. bear a relation (or relationship) to [with negative] — be logically consistent with • the map didn’t seem to bear any relation to the roads.
8. bear a resemblance (or similarity) to resemble. • the campus bore a faint resemblance to a military camp.
9. bear witness (or testimony) to a. testify to • little is left to bear witness to the past greatness of the city.
b. state or show one’s belief in • people bearing witness to Jesus.
10. be borne in on (or upon) come to be realized by • the folly of her action was borne in on her.
11. not bear thinking about be too terrible to contemplate. • what had happened to her before dying did not bear thinking about.
III. phrasal verbs 1. bear away another way of saying bear off. 2. bear down (of a woman in labour) exert downwards pressure in order to push the baby out. 3. bear down on a. move directly towards someone or something in a purposeful or intimidating manner. • at a canter they bore down on the mass of men ahead.
b. take strict measures to deal with • a commitment to bear down on inflation.
4. bear off
[Sailing] change course away from the wind.
5. bear on a. be relevant to (something) • two kinds of theories which bear on literary studies.
b. [with adverbial] — be a burden on • the extension of VAT to domestic fuel will bear hard on the low-paid.
6. bear something out support or confirm something • this assumption is not borne out by any evidence.
7. bear up remain cheerful in the face of adversity • she’s bearing up remarkably well.
8. bear with be patient or tolerant with. • bear with me a moment while I make a phone call.
– origin Old English beran, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit bharati, Greek pherein, and Latin ferre. / usage: Until the 18th century borne and born were simply variant forms of the past participle of bear, used interchangeably with no distinction in meaning. By around 1775, however, the present distinction in use had become established. At that time borne became the standard past participle used in all the senses listed in this dictionary entry, e.g. she has borne you another son, the findings have been borne out, and so on. Born became restricted to just one very common use, which remains the case today: in the passive, without by, as the standard, neutral way to refer to birth: she was born in 1965, he was born lucky, or I was born and bred in Gloucester.