A bear is a big, usually fat or solid, usually cuddly man who is somewhat hirsute, and often wears a beard. Usually of gentle temperament.

Self-described tribe of gay male.

However, sometimes women can be called bears without being hairy, but display other properties of bear (male).

in terms of gay culture and gayspeak, a bear is a masculine, often overweight and hairy man. most people will tell you only the one descriptor but it's really all three or any combination of the three. back during the clone movement in the days following stonewall, gay men everywhere tried to be highly visible and highly similar. they were all about being high-profile, looking good and being fabulous. these were the pride necklace sporting-militant gay activists and the hot pants wearing-gym bunnies of yesteryear. they did a lot of good for queer america but they also did some bad as well.

they reduced homosexuality to what they alone projected it to be. granted, that's a vast improvement from what the world had previously viewed homosexuals as but it became limiting and almost one-dimensional at the same time. as if there were some kind of formula to being gay. hence the coinciding bear movement at that time.

these gay men wanted to be viewed as just regular guys. and that's what bears on a fundamental level are. they aren't usually effeminate or political agenda-minded.. they're just guys. regular guys. and being just guys, they didn't care that their bodies weren't shaved clean or waxed or whatever.. and some of them even rejected the typical gay religious observation of body aesthetics and refused to go to the gym (or just didn't) because that's what gay men are wont to do out of some kind of delusion of vanity. they just wanted to be respected as regular joes who just happened to be homosexual.

Note. This was originally written in reply to a claim here, now deleted, that Old English had tabooed its words for 'bear' and 'die'.

As the etymology in the Webster entry shows, the Anglo-Saxon word for 'bear' was simply bera. Though they also say OE bere. I don't know what they imagined the difference between AS and OE to be. (Oh wait, they use 'OE' for what the rest of us call Middle English.)

It is true that this was in origin a euphemism or replacement, but from the existence of related forms in German (Bär) and Scandinavian (the name Björn -- Tolkien's Beorn, by the way), it is clear the substitution took place in the ancestral Proto-Germanic language.

Webster mentions a possibly connexion with the Latin root fer- 'wild', as in feral, ferocious; but it is more likely to be from the root for 'brown', as grimulation has said.

The original Indo-European word for 'bear' was something like rkthos. (The consonant cluster presents a peculiar problem for IE reconstruction.) This became Greek árktos (as in Arctic), Celtic root arth- (as in Arthur, perhaps), Latin ursa (as in Ursa Major), and Sanskrit rksha- (as in the monster rakshasa).

These were all spoken in more southerly climes. The northern peoples replaced their words: the ancient Germanic people called the bear the Brown One, and the Slavs and Balts called it the Honey-Eater, med-ved' or diminutive meshka.

It is believed likely that these were replaced for taboo reasons. But the new words remained in place for thousands of years. A true taboo would require constant updating as the current word became too fixed. We have this turnover of taboo words in our repeated change of terms such as lavatory, Negro, mentally retarded, mortician. Some North American languages have indeed gone through several synonyms for taboo animals in the centuries they have been recorded.

As for 'die', well the actual word was lost from OE and restored from Norse (deyja) in Middle English, but in the meantime we said steorfan, which gives modern English starve and is related to German sterben 'die'. They were plenty of words for death, killing, blood, and battle used in Old English, and written down: the poems are full of them. Beowulf is thousands of lines of death.

The name Beowulf is literally 'bee-wolf', but may be another euphemism for our terrifying friend Bruin the Bear.

Nickname of Augustus Owsley Stanley III, one of the biggest and most prolific LSD manufacturers in history and onetime Grateful Dead soundman and graphic artist. Back in the day Owsley's Acid was always considered the epitome of the acid market. If you had Owsley's shit, you were the hip to the grooviest, high status, and most definitely 'with it.' The Beatles dropped Owsley's Acid; shouldn't you?

Bears are mammals with heavy bodies and relatively short legs, necks, and tails. They have small rounded ears and small eyes, but very keen hearing and eyesight for all that, as well as an excellent sense of smell. Bears have heavy fur coats which they shed each year, and can run quite quickly for their bulk, at least over short distances. Bears are good swimmers, and most species can climb trees with skill and dexterity. Their paws have large non-retractable claws, and, like humans, they have plantigrade feet, which means they walk with their heel and toe on the ground. This, incidentally, is what allows them to stand on their hind legs. Bears are omnivores, and most species depend in large part on vegetable foods for their sustenance - polar bears being an obvious exception to this. Bears are apparently very curious and have some capacity for learning, returning each year to a prized food source or deliberately setting off the trigger mechanism of a trap.

I was rather surprised to learn that there are only eight species of bears in existence today (I thought somehow there'd be more):

Other bears, not of the family Ursus, but worth honorable mention, include koala bears, teddy bears, and gummi bears; and don't forget Winnie the Pooh, Smokey Bear, Paddington Bear, Rupert Bear, and The straw bear of Whittlesea, stalwart individuals all.

You can find lots of interesting information on all these species of bears at "The Bear Den"

Bear (?), v. t. [imp. Bore (?) (formerly Bare ()); p. p. Born (?), Borne (); p. pr. & vb. n. Bearing.] [OE. beren, AS. beran, beoran, to bear, carry, produce; akin to D. baren to bring forth, G. gebaren, Goth. ba�xa1;ran to bear or carry, Icel. bera, Sw. bara, Dan. baere, OHG. beran, peran, L. ferre to bear, carry, produce, Gr. , OSlav brati to take, carry, OIr. berim I bear, Skr. bh to bear. &root;92. Cf. Fertile.]


To support or sustain; to hold up.


To support and remove or carry; to convey.

I 'll bear your logs the while. Shak.


To conduct; to bring; -- said of persons.


Bear them to my house. Shak.


To possess and use, as power; to exercise.

Every man should bear rule in his own house. Esther i. 22.


To sustain; to have on (written or inscribed, or as a mark), as, the tablet bears this inscription.


To possess or carry, as a mark of authority or distinction; to wear; as, to bear a sword, badge, or name.


To possess mentally; to carry or hold in the mind; to entertain; to harbor


The ancient grudge I bear him. Shak.


To endure; to tolerate; to undergo; to suffer.

Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne. Pope.

I cannot bear The murmur of this lake to hear. Shelley.

My punishment is greater than I can bear. Gen. iv. 13.


To gain or win.


Some think to bear it by speaking a great word. Bacon.

She was . . . found not guilty, through bearing of friends and bribing of the judge. Latimer.


To sustain, or be answerable for, as blame, expense, responsibility, etc.

He shall bear their iniquities. Is. liii. 11.

Somewhat that will bear your charges. Dryden.


To render or give; to bring forward.

"Your testimony bear"



To carry on, or maintain; to have.

"The credit of bearing a part in the conversation."



To admit or be capable of; that is, to suffer or sustain without violence, injury, or change.

In all criminal cases the most favorable interpretation should be put on words that they can possibly bear. Swift.


To manage, wield, or direct. "Thus must thou thy body bear." Shak. Hence: To behave; to conduct.

Hath he borne himself penitently in prison ? Shak.


To afford; to be to ; to supply with.

is faithful dog shall bear him company. Pope.


To bring forth or produce; to yield; as, to bear apples; to bear children; to bear interest.

Here dwelt the man divine whom Samos bore. Dryden.

⇒ In the passive form of this verb, the best modern usage restricts the past participle born to the sense of brought forth, while borne is used in the other senses of the word. In the active form, borne alone is used as the past participle.

To bear down. (a) To force into a lower place; to carry down; to depress or sink. "His nose, . . . large as were the others, bore them down into insignificance." Marryat. (b) To overthrow or crush by force; as, to bear down an enemy. -- To bear a hand. (a) To help; to give assistance. (b) Naut. To make haste; to be quick. -- To bear in hand, to keep (one) up in expectation, usually by promises never to be realized; to amuse by false pretenses; to delude. [Obs.] "How you were borne in hand, how crossed." Shak. -- To bear in mind, to remember. -- To bear off. (a) To restrain; to keep from approach. (b) Naut. To remove to a distance; to keep clear from rubbing against anything; as, to bear off a blow; to bear off a boat. (c) To gain; to carry off, as a prize. -- To bear one hard, to owe one a grudge. [Obs.] "Caesar doth bear me hard." Shak. -- To bear out. (a) To maintain and support to the end; to defend to the last. "Company only can bear a man out in an ill thing." South. (b) To corroborate; to confirm. -- To bear up, to support; to keep from falling or sinking. "Religious hope bears up the mind under sufferings." Addison.

Syn. -- To uphold; sustain; maintain; support; undergo; suffer; endure; tolerate; carry; convey; transport; waft.


© Webster 1913.

Bear (?), v. i.


To produce, as fruit; to be fruitful, in opposition to barrenness.

This age to blossom, and the next to bear. Dryden.


To suffer, as in carrying a burden.

But man is born to bear. Pope.


To endure with patience; to be patient.

I can not, can not bear. Dryden.


To press; -- with on or upon, or against.

These men bear hard on the suspected party. Addison.


To take effect; to have influence or force; as, to bring matters to bear.


To relate or refer; -- with on or upon; as, how does this bear on the question?


To have a certain meaning, intent, or effect.

Her sentence bore that she should stand a certain time upon the platform. Hawthorne.


To be situated, as to the point of compass, with respect to something else; as, the land bears N. by E.

To bear against, to approach for attack or seizure; as, a lion bears against his prey. [Obs.] -- To bear away Naut., to change the course of a ship, and make her run before the wind. -- To bear back, to retreat. "Bearing back from the blows of their sable antagonist." Sir W. Scott. -- To bear down upon Naut., to approach from the windward side; as, the fleet bore down upon the enemy. -- To bear in with Naut., to run or tend toward; as, a ship bears in with the land. -- To bear off Naut., to steer away, as from land. -- To bear up. (a) To be supported; to have fortitude; to be firm; not to sink; as, to bear up under afflictions. (b) Naut. To put the helm up (or to windward) and so put the ship before the wind; to bear away. Hamersly. -- To bear upon Mil., to be pointed or situated so as to affect; to be pointed directly against, or so as to hit (the object); as, to bring or plant guns so as to bear upon a fort or a ship; the artillery bore upon the center. -- To bear up to, to tend or move toward; as, to bear up to one another. -- To bear with, to endure; to be indulgent to; to forbear to resent, oppose, or punish.


© Webster 1913.

Bear (?), n.

A bier.




© Webster 1913.

Bear (?), n. [OE. bere, AS. bera; akin to D. beer, OHG. bero, pero, G. bar, Icel. & Sw. bjorn, and possibly to L. fera wild beast, Gr. beast, Skr. bhalla bear.]

1. Zool.

Any species of the genus Ursus, and of the closely allied genera. Bears are plantigrade Carnivora, but they live largely on fruit and insects.

The European brown bear (U. arctos), the white polar bear (U. maritimus), the grizzly bear (U. horribilis), the American black bear, and its variety the cinnamon bear (U. Americanus), the Syrian bear (Ursus Syriacus), and the sloth bear, are among the notable species.

2. Zool.

An animal which has some resemblance to a bear in form or habits, but no real affinity; as, the woolly bear; ant bear; water bear; sea bear.

3. Astron.

One of two constellations in the northern hemisphere, called respectively the Great Bear and the Lesser Bear, or Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.


Metaphorically: A brutal, coarse, or morose person.

5. Stock Exchange

A person who sells stocks or securities for future delivery in expectation of a fall in the market.

⇒ The bears and bulls of the Stock Exchange, whose interest it is, the one to depress, and the other to raise, stocks, are said to be so called in allusion to the bear's habit of pulling down, and the bull's of tossing up.

6. Mach.

A portable punching machine.

7. Naut.

A block covered with coarse matting; -- used to scour the deck.

Australian bear. Zool. See Koala. -- Bear baiting, the sport of baiting bears with dogs. -- Bear caterpillar Zool., the hairy larva of a moth, esp. of the genus Euprepia. -- Bear garden. (a) A place where bears are kept for diversion or fighting. (b) Any place where riotous conduct is common or permitted. M. Arnold. -- Bear leader, one who leads about a performing bear for money; hence, a facetious term for one who takes charge of a young man on his travels.


© Webster 1913.

Bear, v. t. Stock Exchange

To endeavor to depress the price of, or prices in; as, to bear a railroad stock; to bear the market.


© Webster 1913.

Bear, Bere (?), n. [AS. bere. See Barley.] Bot.

Barley; the six-rowed barley or the four-rowed barley, commonly the former (Hord. vulgare).

[Obs. except in North of Eng. and Scot.]


© Webster 1913.

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