General English

General Science

  • noun a measurement across the inside of a pipe or hole
  • noun a tidal wave which rushes up the estuary of a river at high tide
  • verb to make a round hole in the ground

Cars & Driving

  • noun the diameter of a cylinder, especially of a cylinder in an internal combustion engine


  • The inside diameter of a pipe, valve, fitting, or other hollow tubular object.
  • The circular hole left by boring.


  • noun a measurement across the inside of a tube, such as the barrel of a gun.

Origin & History of “bore”

Bore ‘make a hole’ (OE) and bore ‘be tiresome’ (18th c.) are almost certainly two distinct words. The former comes ultimately from an Indo-European base *bhor-, *bhr-, which produced Latin forāre ‘bore’ (whence English foramen ‘small anatomical opening’), Greek phárynx, and prehistoric Germanic *borōn, from which we get bore (and German gets bohren). Bore connoting ‘tiresomeness’ suddenly appears on the scene as a sort of buzzword of the 1760s, from no known source; the explanation most commonly offered for its origin is that it is a figurative application of bore in the sense ‘pierce someone with ennui’, but that is not terribly convincing. In its early noun use it meant what we would now call a ‘fit of boredom’.

There is one other, rather rare English word bore – meaning ‘tidal wave in an estuary or river’ (17th c.). It may have come from Old Norse bára ‘wave’.