Bearlike



any of the plantigrade, carnivorous or omnivorous mammals of the family Ursidae, having massive bodies, coarse heavy fur, relatively short limbs, and almost rudimentary tails.
any of various animals resembling the bear, as the ant bear.
a gruff, burly, clumsy, bad-mannered, or rude person.
a person who believes that market prices, especially of stocks, will decline (opposed to bull).
Informal. a person who shows great ability, enthusiasm, stamina, etc.:
a bear for physics.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. either of two constellations, Ursa Major or Ursa Minor.
Informal. a player at cards who rarely bluffs.
(initial capital letter) Russia.
having to do with or marked by declining prices, as of stocks:
bear market.
Stock Exchange. to force prices down in (a market, stock, etc.).
loaded for bear, Informal. fully prepared and eager to initiate or deal with a fight, confrontation, or trouble:
Keep away from the boss—he’s loaded for bear today.
Contemporary Examples

A bearlike man with a big voice, he could be intimidating to his enemies (“adversaries” seems too neutral a word).
Andrew Breitbart Dies at 43: Why He’ll Be Missed Lloyd Grove February 29, 2012

Historical Examples

The Indian looked hastily around him without releasing the bearlike hug.
The Fiery Totem Argyll Saxby

“Throw down,” it repeated, with a growl as bearlike as the body.
The Devil’s Asteroid Manly Wade Wellman

To attempt to loosen that bearlike clasp might be death to any who attempted it.
The Sign Of The Red Cross Evelyn Everett-Green

Jane uttered a whoop and embraced the girl in a bearlike hug.
The Meadow-Brook Girls Across Country Janet Aldridge

Men bowed to each other with burlesque dancing school formality, offered arms, or accepted them with bearlike coyness.
Gold Stewart White

There really is something strong, powerful, bearlike about him, isn’t there?
The Wife and Other Stories Anton Chekhov

Awkwardly and with the bearlike roughness of excessive timidity I put my arms about her, drew her to me tentatively.
Tramping on Life Harry Kemp

Walter let go for a minute, and Ben, mad all over, prepared to grasp him in a bearlike hug.
Walter Sherwood’s Probation Horatio Alger

A bearlike man, dirty and rain-soaked, came in, asking for food.
When the Owl Cries Paul Bartlett

verb (mainly transitive) bears, bearing, bore, borne
to support or hold up; sustain
to bring or convey: to bear gifts
to take, accept, or assume the responsibility of: to bear an expense
(past participle bornin passive use except when foll by by) to give birth to: to bear children
(also intransitive) to produce by or as if by natural growth: to bear fruit
to tolerate or endure: she couldn’t bear him
to admit of; sustain: his story does not bear scrutiny
to hold in the conscious mind or in one’s feelings: to bear a grudge, I’ll bear that idea in mind
to show or be marked with: he still bears the scars
to transmit or spread: to bear gossip
to render or supply (esp in the phrase bear witness)
to conduct or manage (oneself, the body, etc): she bore her head high
to have, be, or stand in (relation or comparison): his account bears no relation to the facts
(intransitive) to move, be located, or lie in a specified direction: the way bears east
to have by right; be entitled to (esp in the phrase bear title)
bear a hand, to give assistance
bring to bear, to bring into operation or effect: he brought his knowledge to bear on the situation
noun (pl) bears, bear
any plantigrade mammal of the family Ursidae: order Carnivora (carnivores). Bears are typically massive omnivorous animals with a large head, a long shaggy coat, and strong claws See also black bear, brown bear, polar bear related adjective ursine
any of various bearlike animals, such as the koala and the ant bear
a clumsy, churlish, or ill-mannered person
a teddy bear
(stock exchange)

a speculator who sells in anticipation of falling prices to make a profit on repurchase
(as modifier): a bear market Compare bull1 (sense 5)

verb bears, bearing, beared
(transitive) to lower or attempt to lower the price or prices of (a stock market or a security) by speculative selling
noun the Bear
the English name for Ursa Major, Ursa Minor
an informal name for Russia
v.

Old English beran “to bear, bring; bring forth, produce; to endure, sustain; to wear” (class IV strong verb; past tense bær, past participle boren), from Proto-Germanic *beranan (cf. Old Saxon beran, Old Frisian bera, Old High German beran, German gebären, Old Norse bera, Gothic bairan “to carry, bear, give birth to”), from PIE root *bher- (1) meaning both “give birth” (though only English and German strongly retain this sense, and Russian has beremennaya “pregnant”) and “carry a burden, bring” (see infer).

Ball bearings “bear” the friction. Many senses are from notion of “move onward by pressure.” Old English past tense bær became Middle English bare; alternative bore began to appear c.1400, but bare remained the literary form till after 1600. Past participle distinction of borne for “carried” and born for “given birth” is from late 18c. To bear (something) in mind is from 1530s.
n.

Old English bera “bear,” from Proto-Germanic *beron, literally “the brown (one)” (cf. Old Norse björn, Middle Dutch bere, Dutch beer, Old High German bero, German Bär), from PIE *bher- (3) “bright, brown” (see brown (adj.)).

Greek arktos and Latin ursus retain the PIE root word for “bear” (*rtko; see Arctic), but it is believed to have been ritually replaced in the northern branches because of hunters’ taboo on names of wild animals (cf. the Irish equivalent “the good calf,” Welsh “honey-pig,” Lithuanian “the licker,” Russian medved “honey-eater”). Others connect the Germanic word with Latin ferus “wild,” as if it meant “the wild animal (par excellence) of the northern woods.”

Symbolic of Russia since 1794. Used of uncouth persons since 1570s. Stock market meaning “speculator for a fall” is 1709 shortening of bearskin jobber (from the proverb sell the bearskin before one has caught the bear); i.e. “one who sells stock for future delivery, expecting that meanwhile prices will fall.” Paired with bull from c.1720. Bear claw as a type of large pastry is from 1942, originally chiefly western U.S.

noun

A capsule containing a narcotic (1960s+ Narcotics)
A difficult school or college course (1960s+ Students)
Anything arduous or very disagreeable; bitch: It’s been a bear of a morning •Bear is attested fr 1915 in a similar sense, ”doozie, humdinger” (1950s+)
bearcat: Stokovich was a bear for records
A large, gruff man

Related Terms

does a bear shit in the woods

[1700s+; sense perhaps influenced by 1930s jazz musicians’ use, ”an unhappy state or condition; impoverishment,” in which it was rhyming slang for ”nowhere”]

Related Terms

smokey bear

a native of the mountain regions of Western Asia, frequently mentioned in Scripture. David defended his flocks against the attacks of a bear (1 Sam. 17:34-37). Bears came out of the wood and destroyed the children who mocked the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:24). Their habits are referred to in Isa. 59:11; Prov. 28:15; Lam. 3:10. The fury of the female bear when robbed of her young is spoken of (2 Sam. 17:8; Prov. 17:12; Hos. 13:8). In Daniel’s vision of the four great monarchies, the Medo-Persian empire is represented by a bear (7:5).

bear a grudge
bear down
bear fruit
bear in mind
bear one’s cross
bear out
bear the brunt
bear up
bear with

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