Meaning of SHEAR in English


I. ˈshi(ə)r, -iə verb

( sheared -i(ə)rd, -iəd ; or chiefly dialect shore ˈshō(ə)r, ˈshȯ(ə)r, -ōə, -ȯ(ə) ; sheared ˈshi(ə)rd, -iəd ; or shorn ˈshȯ(ə)rn, -ȯ(ə)n ; shearing ; shears )

Etymology: Middle English sheren, from Old English sceran, scieran; akin to Old High German skeran to shear, Old Norse skera to cut, Latin cernere to separate, sift, curtus shortened, Greek keirein to cut, Sanskrit kartati he cuts

transitive verb



(1) : to cut off the hair from

with crown shorn

also : to cut off or cut short (hair) by or as if by the use of shears

sheared the baby curls away

(2) obsolete : tonsure

b. : to cut, clip, or sever from something (as wool from sheep or superfluous nap from cloth) with or as if with shears

sheared 100 bales of wool

a hidden rock sheared the keel from the ship

also : to cut something from

shorn sheep

a sheared velvet

shear a lawn

c. chiefly Scotland : to reap (as hay or grain) with a sickle

d. : to cut superfluous material from (a woody plant) ; especially : to prune (a hedge) with shears or other implement that cuts to a smooth even contour

e. : to cut (as metal or glass) with shears or a similar instrument


a. : to cut with something sharp

shearing the hawser asunder

b. obsolete : to injure or separate into pieces by or as if by cutting

3. : to traverse by or as if by cleaving

a ship shearing the sea

a swallow that shears the summer sky

4. : to deprive of something as if by cutting : strip , divest

his recent ill-health had shorn him of strength

has been shorn of his authority


a. : to subject to a shear (sense 5a)

b. : to cause (as a rockface) to move along a surface of shear

intransitive verb

1. : to cut through something with or as if with a sharp instrument or shears : cleave a way

birds shearing through the air

2. chiefly Scotland : to reap crops with a sickle : use a sickle in reaping

3. chiefly Scotland : to split and then continue in different directions — used chiefly in the phrase where wind and water shears

4. : to become more or less completely divided under the action of a shear

the bolt may shear off

5. : to cut a vertical groove in a face in mining coal

II. noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: in sense 1, from Middle English shere, from Old English scēara (plural); in other senses, from shear (I) ; Old English scēara akin to Old High German skār blade, Old Norse skæri pair of shears, Old English sceran, scieran to shear



(1) : a cutting implement similar or identical to a pair of scissors but typically larger

a shear blade

— usually used in plural

trim a hedge with shears

(2) : one element or one blade of a pair of shears

b. : an instrument whose blades are connected at one end by a curved spring and which is used especially for shearing sheep or skins — usually used in plural

c. : any of various cutting tools or machines operating by the action of opposed cutting edges of metal: as

(1) : a machine for shearing metal and especially in sheets ; especially : rotary shears — usually used in plural

(2) shears plural : a power or hand-operated machine that cuts by means of a blade or a set of blades working against a resisting edge with the material to be sheared being between the two — see guillotine shears , lever shears

(3) : a tool for cutting a gob of glass from the punty or a feeder

(4) : shearing machine 2

d. : something felt to resemble a shear or a pair of shears: as

(1) obsolete : wing

(2) : a hoisting apparatus consisting of two or sometimes more spars fastened together at their upper ends, resting on their spread heels, secured or steadied by a guy or guys, and provided with tackle for masting or dismasting ships or lifting guns or other heavy loads — usually used in plural but sing. or plural in constr.

rigged a shears to handle the timbers

— called also hoisting shears, shear legs

e. : the bed piece of a machine tool on which a table or slide rest is secured : way — often used in plural

2. chiefly Britain : shearing — used in combination to indicate the approximate age of sheep in terms of shearings undergone

a flock of healthy three- shears

3. chiefly dialect : a crop that has been mowed or harvested

4. : something (as an animal, a fleece, or an edge) that is shorn


a. : a strain resulting from applied forces that cause or tend to cause contiguous parts of a body to slide relatively to each other in a direction parallel to their plane of contact ; specifically : the ratio of the relative displacement of these parts to the distance between them

b. : the stress giving rise to this strain — see shearing stress

6. : the sliding of a part of a rock body past another part along a fracture

Synonyms: see stress

- off shears



variant of share

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.