/bair/, v., bore or (Archaic) bare; borne or born; bearing.
1. to hold up; support: to bear the weight of the roof.
2. to hold or remain firm under (a load): The roof will not bear the strain of his weight.
3. to bring forth (young); give birth to: to bear a child.
4. to produce by natural growth: a tree that bears fruit.
5. to hold up under; be capable of: His claim doesn't bear close examination.
6. to press or push against: The crowd was borne back by the police.
7. to hold or carry (oneself, one's body, one's head, etc.): to bear oneself erectly.
8. to conduct (oneself): to bear oneself bravely.
9. to suffer; endure; undergo: to bear the blame.
10. to sustain without yielding or suffering injury; tolerate (usually used in negative constructions, unless qualified): I can't bear your nagging. I can hardly bear to see her suffering so.
11. to be fit for or worthy of: It doesn't bear repeating.
12. to carry; bring: to bear gifts.
13. to carry in the mind or heart: to bear love; to bear malice.
14. to transmit or spread (gossip, tales, etc.).
15. to render; afford; give: to bear witness; to bear testimony.
16. to lead; guide; take: They bore him home.
17. to have and be entitled to: to bear title.
18. to exhibit; show: to bear a resemblance.
19. to accept or have, as an obligation: to bear responsibility; to bear the cost.
20. to stand in (a relation or ratio); have or show correlatively: the relation that price bears to profit.
21. to possess, as a quality or characteristic; have in or on: to bear traces; to bear an inscription.
22. to have and use; exercise: to bear authority; to bear sway.
23. to tend in a course or direction; move; go: to bear west; to bear left at the fork in the road.
24. to be located or situated: The lighthouse bears due north.
25. to bring forth young or fruit: Next year the tree will bear.
26. bear down,
a. to press or weigh down.
b. to strive harder; intensify one's efforts: We can't hope to finish unless everyone bears down.
c. Naut. to approach from windward, as a ship: The cutter was bearing down the channel at twelve knots.
27. bear down on or upon,
a. to press or weigh down on.
b. to strive toward.
c. to approach something rapidly.
d. Naut. to approach (another vessel) from windward: The sloop bore down on us, narrowly missing our stern.
28. bear off,
a. Naut. to keep (a boat) from touching or rubbing against a dock, another boat, etc.
b. Naut. to steer away.
c. Backgammon. to remove the stones from the board after they are all home.
29. bear on or upon, to affect, relate to, or have connection with; be relevant to: This information may bear on the case.
30. bear out, to substantiate; confirm: The facts bear me out.
31. bear up, to endure; face hardship bravely: It is inspiring to see them bearing up so well.
32. bear with, to be patient or forbearing with: Please bear with me until I finish the story.
33. bring to bear, to concentrate on with a specific purpose: Pressure was brought to bear on those with overdue accounts.
[bef. 900; ME beren, OE beran; c. OS, OHG beran, D baren, OFris, ON bera, Goth bairan, G (ge)bären, Russ berët (he) takes, Albanian bie, Tocharian pär-, Phrygian ab-beret (he) brings, L ferre, OIr berid (he) carries, Armenian berem, Gk phérein, Skt bhárati, Avestan baraiti; < IE *bher- (see -FER, -PHORE]
Syn. 1. uphold, sustain. 4. yield. 6. thrust, drive, force. 10. brook, abide, suffer. BEAR, STAND, ENDURE refer to supporting the burden of something distressing, irksome, or painful. BEAR and STAND are close synonyms and have a general sense of withstanding: to bear a disappointment well; to stand a loss. ENDURE implies continued resistance and patience in bearing through a long time: to endure torture.
Usage. Since the latter part of the 18th century, a distinction has been made between BORN and BORNE as past participles of the verb BEAR1. BORNE is the past participle in all senses that do not refer to physical birth: The wheatfields have borne abundantly this year. Judges have always borne a burden of responsibility. BORNE is also the participle when the sense is "to bring forth (young)" and the focus is on the mother rather than on the child. In such cases, BORNE is preceded by a form of have or followed by by: Anna had borne a son the previous year. Two children borne by her earlier were already grown.
When the focus is on the offspring or on something brought forth as if by birth, BORN is the standard spelling, and it occurs only in passive constructions: My friend was born in Ohio. No children have been born at the South Pole. A strange desire was born of the tragic experience. BORN is also an adjective meaning "by birth," "innate," or "native": born free; a born troublemaker; Mexican-born.
bearlike, adj.
/bair/, n., pl. bears, (esp. collectively) bear, adj., v., beared, bearing.
1. 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.
2. any of various animals resembling the bear, as the ant bear.
3. a gruff, burly, clumsy, bad-mannered, or rude person.
4. a person who believes that market prices, esp. of stocks, will decline (opposed to bull).
5. Informal. a person who shows great ability, enthusiasm, stamina, etc.: a bear for physics.
6. (cap.) Astron. either of two constellations, Ursa Major or Ursa Minor.
7. Informal. a player at cards who rarely bluffs.
8. (cap.) Russia.
9. 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.
10. having to do with or marked by declining prices, as of stocks: bear market.
11. Stock Exchange. to force prices down in (a market, stock, etc.).
[bef. 1000; ME be(a)re, beor(e), OE bera; c. Fris bar, D beer, OHG bero (G Bär); < Gmc *beran- lit., the brown one; akin to ON bjorn, bersi; cf. Lith béras brown. Cf. BRUIN]

* * *

Generally massive, short-legged mammals constituting the family Ursidae.

Bears are the most recently evolved carnivore, found in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Closely related to the dog and the raccoon, most bears climb with ease and are strong swimmers. As a family, they are omnivores, but dietary preferences vary among species (the polar bear feeds mainly on seals, the spectacled bear on vegetation, etc.). Though they do not truly hibernate, bears often sleep fitfully through much of the winter. They live 15–30 years in the wild but much longer in captivity. They have been hunted as trophies, for hides, and for food. See also black bear; brown bear; sun bear.
(as used in expressions)
African ant bear
skunk bear
Bryant Bear
bear cat
cat bear
Andean bear
wooly bear
load bearing wall
Born Max

* * *

 any of nine species of large, short-tailed carnivores found in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) is the smallest, often weighing less than 50 kg (110 pounds), and the largest is a subspecies of Alaskan brown bear called the Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi; see grizzly bear). The polar bear (Ursus maritimus), however, is the largest bear species. The black bear (Ursus americanus) is common in parts of the United States and Canada.

 Bears are generally omnivorous, but dietary preferences range from seals for the entirely carnivorous polar bear to assorted vegetation for the largely herbivorous spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus). The giant panda (panda, giant) (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) eats only bamboo. Usually gaining weight beforehand, most bears sleep fitfully through much of the winter, but they do not truly hibernate (hibernation). Despite their bulk, most bears climb with ease and swim strongly.

Natural history
 Ursids are mainly animals of northern temperate regions and are found farther north than any other mammal. The Arctic fox is found as far north on land, but the polar bear regularly roams on sea ice hundreds of kilometres from shore. Africa and Australia lack bears entirely. The spectacled bear of the South American Andes Mountains is the only species that lives south of the Equator.

      Although clumsy in appearance, bears can move surprisingly fast, even through dense cover that would seriously impede a human or a horse. Their senses of sight and hearing, however, are poorly developed, and most hunting is done by smell. Some, such as black and spectacled bears, are strong climbers, and all are strong swimmers, most notably the polar bear. Bears do not generally communicate by sound and usually are quiet, but they do growl at times when feeding, when being challenged by another bear or by humans, and when competing for mates.

  Except for the carnivorous polar bear and the vegetarian giant panda, ursids are omnivorous, consuming many items that seem small for an animal of such large size. Ants, bees, seeds of trees, roots, nuts, berries, insect larvae such as grubs, and even the dainty dogtooth violet are eaten. Many bears relish honey, and the sun bear is sometimes called the “honey bear” because of this. Prey taken by bears include rodents, fish, deer, pigs, and seals. Grizzlies (grizzly bear) (North American subspecies of the brown bear, Ursus arctos) are known for their skillful fishing during the spawning runs of salmon. The polar bear's diet is dictated by the Arctic environment, as little vegetation grows within its range. The Asian sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) delights especially in raiding and destroying termite nests, sucking up termites and larvae with its funnel-like lips. The giant panda (panda, giant) has a special bone formation of the forefoot that functions as a sixth digit; it is opposable to the other five and thus is useful in handling bamboo.

 Most bears, including the American and Asiatic black bears (Ursus americanus and U. thibetanus), eat large amounts of food before entering a den for a period of deep sleep during the winter. The polar bear digs a den in the snow, whereas grizzlies build large mounds of dirt in front of their dens. Bears, however, lack the physiological characteristics (lower heart rate, body temperature, breathing rate, and blood pressure) exhibited by animals that truly hibernate (hibernation).

 Male polar bears sometimes aggregate; otherwise bears are solitary, except during the mating season. Then they tend to congregate, pair off, and mate in seclusion. The male leaves the female soon after mating and plays no role in raising the young. Gestation periods vary, the fertilized egg remaining dormant in the uterus (delayed implantation), which ensures the birth of young while the female is in the winter den and guarantees that the cubs will emerge from the den in the spring, when food is abundant. Ursids breed once per year at most, and many bears breed only every two to four years. The breeding season is usually in late spring or early summer. Delayed implantation results in most births occurring in January or February. Newborn bears weigh about half a kilogram (one pound) and are about 23 cm (9 inches) long from the nose to the tip of the short tail. Twins are most common in bears, but up to five young may be produced. The cubs nurse for a few months and stay with the female until the next breeding (about a year and a half or more after birth). Most young, however, can get along on their own by about six months of age. Bears reach breeding condition at three and a half to six years of age, males usually maturing later than females. Longevity of bears in the wild ranges from 15 to 30 years, but in captivity they can live considerably longer.

      Because of their large size, bears have few natural enemies in the wild. Most mortality occurs because of hunting by humans. On occasion, bears that fail to accumulate enough fat to last throughout the winter may die of starvation. Young bears are more vulnerable to predation because of their smaller size and thus may be killed by other carnivores such as wolves or cougar (puma)s but most importantly by other bears, especially males. For this reason, females with cubs are highly protective of their young in the vicinity of males.

      Home ranges occupied by individual bears vary in size depending on the abundance of food, and larger areas are used when food is in short supply. Although highly variable among geographic areas and even among seasons, American black bears (black bear) roam areas of 40 to 200 square km (15 to 77 square miles), grizzlies about 300–700 square km. Some polar bears trek across ranges of more than 125,000 square km (48,000 square miles).

Importance to humans
      If taken when young, bears can be tamed quite easily and are commonly used in circus animal acts. This has often caused people to consider bears as tame and harmless rather than as potentially dangerous creatures deserving wariness and respect. This mistake has frequently resulted in tragedy for both humans and bears. Grizzly and polar bears are the most dangerous, but Eurasian brown bears and American black bears have also been known to attack humans. Some species depredate livestock on occasion, and some ursids, such as Asiatic and American black bears, may destroy fruit or other crops, especially corn.

      The pelts of bears have been used for a number of purposes. Perhaps most popular has been the bearskin rug. Skins also have been used for fashionable articles of clothing. The meat of black and polar bears often is consumed. The teeth and claws of bears have been favourite ornaments among native American peoples, and the fat furnishes “bear grease,” which is used for cooking. The gall bladders of Asian bears are greatly valued in Asia for pharmaceutical purposes.

Form and function
      In most species, the male is larger than the female. Unlike cats and canids such as dogs and wolves, bears walk in plantigrade fashion (on the soles of their feet with the heels touching the ground). Each foot has five digits ending in large nonretractile claws that are sometimes adapted for digging, as in the Asian sloth bear. The claws on the front feet are usually better developed than those on the rear, and they are especially adapted for digging out small rodents or nutritious plant roots. The feet generally have hairless soles, but those of the polar bear are covered with hair, enabling the animal to walk on ice with a firm footing. Bears lack a clavicle but have a baculum (penis bone). Their lips are protrusible and mobile. All have a short stubby tail.

      Bears have an elongate skull that is especially heavy in the back portion, and their jaws are controlled at the hinge by a powerful set of muscles. The teeth of the omnivorous bears are unspecialized. The first three premolars are usually either missing or extremely small. Except for variability as to the presence of premolars, the ursid dental formula is that of the Carnivora generally, but the sloth bear lacks one pair of upper incisors. The shearing teeth (carnassials) are poorly developed, and the molars have broad, flat crowns.

evolution and classification
      The bear family is the most recently evolved lineage of carnivores. Its ancestral line appears to have diverged from canid (canine) stock during the Late Miocene Epoch and to have developed into modern species through such Pliocene (Pliocene Epoch) forms as Hyaenarctos of Europe, Asia, and North America. The red, or lesser, panda (panda) (Ailurus fulgens) is also classified as a bear, though along with the giant panda it is sometimes classified in a separate family, Ailuridae.

Family Ursidae (bears)
 9 species in 6 genera found in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, not including 1 African species (Ursus crowtheri) of the Atlas Mountains, driven to extinction in the 19th century.
 4 species of North America, Asia, and Europe.

      Genus Ailuropoda (giant panda (panda, giant))
 1 species of central China.

      Genus Ailurus (red, or lesser, panda (panda))
 1 species of the Himalayas and eastern Asia.

      Genus Helarctos ( sun bear)
 1 species of Southeast Asia.

      Genus Melursus ( sloth bear)
 1 species of the Indian subcontinent.

      Genus Tremarctos ( spectacled bear)
 1 species of the Andes Mountains of South America.

Howard James Stains Serge Lariviere

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Universalium. 2010.

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