As a food preparation method, to sear is to brown the surfaces of food at a high temperature (not to be confused with sauté)

Sear, Sere (?), a.

[OE. seer, AS. seær (assumed) fr. seærian to wither; akin to D. zoor dry, LG. soor, OHG. sorên to to wither, Gr. to parch, to dry, Skr. çush (for sush) to dry, to wither, Zend hush to dry. 152. Cf. Austere, Sorrel, a.] Dry; withered; no longer green; -- applied to leaves.


I have lived long enough; my way of life Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Sear, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Seared (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Searing.] [OE.seeren, AS. se�xa0;rian. See Sear, a.]


To wither; to dry up.



To burn (the surface of) to dryness and hardness; to cauterize; to expose to a degree of heat such as changes the color or the hardness and texture of the surface; to scorch; to make callous; as, to sear the skin or flesh. Also used figuratively.

I'm seared with burning steel. Rowe.

It was in vain that the amiable divine tried to give salutary pain to that seared conscience. Macaulay.

The discipline of war, being a discipline in destruction of life, is a discipline in callousness. Whatever sympathies exist are seared. H. Spencer.

Sear is allied to scorch in signification; but it is applied primarily to animal flesh, and has special reference to the effect of heat in marking the surface hard. Scorch is applied to flesh, cloth, or any other substance, and has no reference to the effect of hardness.

To sear, to close by searing. "Cherish veins of good humor, and sear up those of ill." Sir W. Temple.


© Webster 1913.

Sear, n. [F. serre a grasp, pressing, fr. L. sera. See Serry.]

The catch in a gunlock by which the hammer is held cocked or half cocked.

Sear spring, the spring which causes the sear to catch in the notches by which the hammer is held.


© Webster 1913.

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