General English


  • verb to give interest
  • verb to have something, especially to have something written on it
  • verb to pay costs


  • verb to be able to deal with something without becoming distressed or annoyed


  • noun a person who sells shares, commodities or currency because he or she thinks their price will fall and it will be possible to buy them again more cheaply later.


  • noun on the Stock Exchange, a person who sells shares, commodities or currency in the belief that the price will fall and he or she will be able to buy again more cheaply later.


  • A large omnivorous animal of the Ursidae family. Black bears and polar bears are confined to the Northern Hemisphere and brown bears are found worldwide. The meat, which tastes like strong-flavoured beef, is very rare as the species is becoming endangered.


  • (written as Bear)
    A Forex trader who has a negative outlook, either short- or long-term, about specific exchange rates and currency values or the overall market. Opposite of a bull.


  • noun
    (written as Bear)
    a NATO name for the Soviet-designed TU-95 strategic bomber aircraft


  • noun a police officer, especially in the vocabulary of CB radio. This usage derives from the US Forest Services’ fire-warning posters showing ‘Smokey the Bear’ in the uniform of a ranger. It was adopted by CB enthusiasts in the mid-1970s.

Origin & History of “bear”

The two English words bear ‘carry’ and bear the animal come from completely different sources. The verb, Old English beran, goes back via Germanic *ber- to Indo-European *bher-, which already contained the two central meaning elements that have remained with its offspring ever since, ‘carry’ and ‘give birth’. It is the source of a very large number of words in the Indo-European languages, including both Germanic (German gebären ‘give birth’, Swedish börd ‘birth’) and non-Germanic (Latin ferre and Greek phérein ‘bear’, source of English fertile and amphora (17th c.), and Russian brat ‘seize’). And a very large number of other English words are related to it: on the ‘carrying’ side, barrow, berth, bier, burden, and possibly brim; and on the ‘giving birth’ side, birth itself and bairn ‘child’ (16th c.). Borne and born come from boren, the Old English past participle of bear; the distinction in usage between the two (borne for ‘carried’, born for ‘given birth’) arose in the early 17th century.

Etymologically, the bear is a ‘brown animal’. Old English bera came from west Germanic *bero (whence also German bär and Dutch beer), which may in turn go back to Indo-European *bheros, related to English brown. The poetic name for the bear, bruin (17th c.), follows the same semantic pattern (it comes from Dutch bruin ‘brown’), and beaver means etymologically ‘brown animal’ too.