from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To remove (fleece or hair) by cutting or clipping.
  • transitive v. To remove the hair or fleece from.
  • transitive v. To cut with or as if with shears: shearing a hedge.
  • transitive v. To divest or deprive as if by cutting: The prisoners were shorn of their dignity.
  • intransitive v. To use a cutting tool such as shears.
  • intransitive v. To move or proceed by or as if by cutting: shear through the wheat.
  • intransitive v. Physics To become deformed by forces tending to produce a shearing strain.
  • n. A pair of scissors. Often used in the plural.
  • n. Any of various implements or machines that cut with a scissorlike action. Often used in the plural.
  • n. The act, process, or result of shearing.
  • n. Something cut off by shearing.
  • n. The act, process, or fact of shearing. Used to indicate a sheep's age: a two-shear ram.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Physics An applied force or system of forces that tends to produce a shearing strain. Also called shearing stress, shear stress.
  • n. Physics A shearing strain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cut, originally with a sword or other bladed weapon, now usually with shears, or as if using shears.
  • v. To remove the fleece from a sheep etc by clipping
  • v. To deform because of shearing forces
  • n. a cutting tool similar to scissors, but often larger
  • n. the act of shearing, or something removed by shearing
  • n. a force that produces a shearing strain
  • n. The response of a rock to deformation usually by compressive stress, resulting in particular textures.
  • adj. Common misspelling of sheer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pair of shears; -- now always used in the plural, but formerly also in the singular. See shears.
  • n. A shearing; -- used in designating the age of sheep.
  • n. An action, resulting from applied forces, which tends to cause two contiguous parts of a body to slide relatively to each other in a direction parallel to their plane of contact; -- also called shearing stress, and tangential stress.
  • n. A strain, or change of shape, of an elastic body, consisting of an extension in one direction, an equal compression in a perpendicular direction, with an unchanged magnitude in the third direction.
  • intransitive v. To deviate. See sheer.
  • intransitive v. To become more or less completely divided, as a body under the action of forces, by the sliding of two contiguous parts relatively to each other in a direction parallel to their plane of contact.
  • transitive v. To cut, clip, or sever anything from with shears or a like instrument.
  • transitive v. To separate or sever with shears or a similar instrument; to cut off; to clip (something) from a surface.
  • transitive v. To reap, as grain.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To deprive of property; to fleece.
  • transitive v. To produce a change of shape in by a shear. See Shear, n., 4.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut; specifically, to clip or cut with a. sharp instrument, as a knife, but especially with shears, scissors, or the like: as, to shear sheep; to shear cloth (that is, to clip the nap).
  • To clip off; remove by clipping: as, to shear a fleece.
  • To fleece; strip bare, especially by swindling or sharp practice.
  • To shave.
  • To cut down or reap with a sickle or knife: as, to shear grain.
  • To make or produce by cutting.
  • To produce a shear in. See shear, n., 3.
  • To cut; cut, penetrate, or divide something with a sweeping motion.
  • In mining, to make a vertical cut in the coal, or a cut at right angles to that made in “holing.” See hole, transitive verb, 3.
  • To receive a strain of the kind called a shear. See shear, n., 3.
  • An obsolete form of sheer.
  • n. A shearing or clipping: used in stating the age of sheep: as, a sheep of one shear, a two-shear sheep (that is, a sheep one or two years old), in allusion to the yearly shearing.
  • n. A barbed fish-spear with several prongs.
  • n. A strain consisting of a compression in one direction with an elongation in the same ratio in a direction perpendicular to the first.
  • n. Deflection or deviation from the straight; curve or sweep; sheer: as, the shear of a boat.
  • n. In practical mech., a twofold doubling and welding.
  • n. Same as shears.
  • n. Deflection or deviation from the straight; curve or sweep; sheer: as, the shear of a boat.
  • n. In geology, the attenuation or actual rupture of a mass of rock by a compressive strain, especially by one applied transversely to the bedding or foliation. It results in dragging out the component minerals into thin bands and, it may be, in rupturing their former continuity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. shear the wool from
  • v. cut or cut through with shears
  • v. cut with shears
  • v. become deformed by forces tending to produce a shearing strain
  • n. (physics) a deformation of an object in which parallel planes remain parallel but are shifted in a direction parallel to themselves
  • n. a large edge tool that cuts sheet metal by passing a blade through it


Middle English scheren, from Old English sceran. N., from Middle English shere, from Old English scēar.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English scieran, from Proto-Germanic *skeranan, from Proto-Indo-European *ker-, *sker-. Cognate with Dutch scheren, German scheren, Norwegian skjære, Swedish skära; and (from Indo-European) with Ancient Greek κείρω (keirō, "I cut off"), Latin caro ("flesh"), Albanian harr ("to cut, to mow"), Lithuanian skìrti ("separate"), Welsh ysgar ("separate"). (Wiktionary)



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