verb (used with object), sheared, sheared or shorn, shear·ing.

  1. to cut (something).
  2. to remove by or as if by cutting or clipping with a sharp instrument: to shear wool from sheep.
  3. to cut or clip the hair, fleece, wool, etc., from: to shear sheep.
  4. to strip or deprive (usually followed by of): to shear someone of power.
  5. Chiefly Scot. to reap with a sickle.
  6. to travel through by or as if by cutting: Chimney swifts sheared the air.

verb (used without object), sheared, sheared or shorn, shear·ing.

  1. to cut or cut through something with a sharp instrument.
  2. to progress by or as if by cutting: The cruiser sheared through the water.
  3. Mechanics, Geology. to become fractured along a plane as a result of forces acting parallel to the plane.
  4. Chiefly Scot. to reap crops with a sickle.


  1. Usually shears. (sometimes used with a singular verb)
    1. scissors of large size (usually used with pair of).
    2. any of various other cutting implements or machines having two blades that resemble or suggest those of scissors.
  2. the act or process of shearing or being sheared.
  3. a shearing of sheep (used in stating the age of sheep): a sheep of one shear.
  4. the quantity, especially of wool or fleece, cut off at one shearing.
  5. one blade of a pair of large scissors.
  6. Usually shears. (usually used with a plural verb) Also sheers. Also called shear legs, sheerlegs. a framework for hoisting heavy weights, consisting of two or more spars with their legs separated, fastened together near the top and steadied by guys, which support a tackle.
  7. a machine for cutting rigid material, as metal in sheet or plate form, by moving the edge of a blade through it.
  8. Mechanics, Geology. the tendency of forces to deform or fracture a member or a rock in a direction parallel to the force, as by sliding one section against another.
  9. Physics. the lateral deformation produced in a body by an external force, expressed as the ratio of the lateral displacement between two points lying in parallel planes to the vertical distance between the planes.

verb shears, shearing or sheared or Australian and NZ shore, sheared or shorn

  1. (tr) to remove (the fleece or hair) of (sheep, etc) by cutting or clipping
  2. to cut or cut through (something) with shears or a sharp instrument
  3. engineering to cause (a part, member, shaft, etc) to deform or fracture or (of a part, etc) to deform or fracture as a result of excess torsion or transverse load
  4. (tr often foll by of) to strip or divestto shear someone of his power
  5. (when intr, foll by through) to move through (something) by or as if by cutting
  6. Scot to reap (corn, etc) with a scythe or sickle


  1. the act, process, or an instance of shearing
  2. a shearing of a sheep or flock of sheep, esp when referred to as an indication of agea sheep of two shears
  3. a form of deformation or fracture in which parallel planes in a body or assembly slide over one another
  4. physics the deformation of a body, part, etc, expressed as the lateral displacement between two points in parallel planes divided by the distance between the planes
  5. either one of the blades of a pair of shears, scissors, etc
  6. a machine that cuts sheet material by passing a knife blade through it
  7. a device for lifting heavy loads consisting of a tackle supported by a framework held steady by guy ropes

v.Old English sceran, scieran (class IV strong verb; past tense scear, past participle scoren) “to cleave, hew, cut with a sharp instrument; cut (hair); shear (sheep),” from Proto-Germanic *sker- “to cut” (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian skera, Dutch scheren, German scheren “to shear”), from PIE *(s)ker- (1) “to cut, to scrape, to hack” (cf. Sanskrit krnati “hurts, wounds, kills,” krntati “cuts;” Hittite karsh- “to cut off;” Greek keirein “to cut, shear;” Latin curtus “short;” Lithuanian skiriu “to separate;” Old Irish scaraim “I separate;” Welsh ysgar “to separate,” ysgyr “fragment”). n.“act of clipping,” 1610s, also as a unit of measure of the age of a sheep, from shear (v.). Scientific and mechanical sense “type of strain” is from 1850.

  1. A force, movement or pressure applied to an object perpendicular to a given axis, with greater value on one side of the axis than the other. See more at shear force stress strain.
  2. See skew.
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