Bare vs Bear

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The Bear

Bare vs Bear

Bare and Bear are homophones – that is, they are words that are pronounced the same way, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Consider the words bare and bear. The two are homophones because though they have the same sound, they’re spelled differently and have different meanings.

Bare -adjective: means lacking a natural, usual or appropriate covering i.e. completely unclothed/naked. It also means unfinished, empty, exposed, lacking, having nothing left or added, or not being disguised or embellished in any way. And it means reveal or uncover.


⭕ (Of a person or part of the body) not clothed or covered (naked):

  • He was bare to the waist.
  • She felt the sun warm on her bare arms.

⭕ Without the appropriate, usual, or natural covering:

  • Many trees are bare in winter.
  • The top of the hill was bare.

⭕ Without the appropriate or usual contents:

  • She looked round her tiny bare room.
  • The apartment was completely bare when we moved in.

⭕ (bare of) empty of, deprived of, without:

  • The room was bare of furniture.
  • Most of western Sudan is flat, dry and almost bare of plant life.

Smallest amount necessary (only before noun) the very least amount of something that you need to do something. Also, the bare essentials/necessities:

  • He got 40% – a bare pass.
  • The room had the bare minimum of furniture. (the smallest amount possible)
  • Her bag was light, packed with only the bare essentials.
  • If you ask her about herself, she gives only the barest of details. (the smallest amount possible)

⭕ Bare can also be used as a transitive verb: Word forms: bared, baring. Meaning: Uncover (a part of the body or other thing) and expose it to view.

  • He bared his chest to show the scar.
  • Vitamin D forms in the body when the skin is bared to the sun.
  • The school board president was arrested for baring his bottom in public.

In other words, anything to do with nakedness, uncovering or revealing use bare!

Phrases that contain Bare

⭕ Bare your heart (or soul) to someone: If you bare you heart (or soul) to someone, you reveal your innermost thoughts and feelings to them. Ex: Mike couldn’t keep things to himself any longer. He decided to bare his soul to his best friend.

⭕ The bare bones: The basic facts about something, reduced to or comprising only the basic or essential elements of something without any details. Ex: This one is the bare bones model. It has no accessories at all. Reduce this report to its bare bones.

⭕ Bare one’s fangs: (Of an animal) bare its teeth aggressively. Ex: The dog bared its fangs and growled as I approached the gate.

⭕ Bare one’s teeth: Show one’s teeth, typically when angry. Fig. to act in an angry or threatening manner. Ex:The enemy forces didn’t expect the country they invaded to bare its teeth.

⭕ With bare hands: Without using any type of tool or weapon. Ex: Tom caught a fish with his bare hands. One man was seen digging with his bare hands.

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Hungry Bear

Bare vs Bear

Bear (as well as those big furry animals) is more often heard as a verb. It has a variety of meanings, including to carry or transport, to show a feeling, to have a name, to give birth, to produce fruit or flowers, to support weight, to go in a certain direction, to show patience and to aim a gun.

A bear is a large, strong wild animal with thick fur and sharp claws.
The bear stood on its hind legs.

Bear transitive verb: bore, borne or born, bearing. For bear (used with an object), Oxford Dictionaries lists mores than 10 definitions, here are some of the most common definitions:

⭕ Bear verb (BRING) to hold and take along; carry; transport:

  • This is the time when wise men bearing gifts are replaced by wise guys bearing lists
  • Like it or not, the Constitution gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms.

⭕ Bear verb (ACCEPT) deal with something; to bravely accept or deal with a painful, difficult, or upsetting situation (stand):

  • Make the water as hot as you can bear.
  • The pain was almost more than he could bear.
  • Overcrowding makes prison life even harder to bear.
  • She couldn’t bear the thought of losing him.
  • Tell me now! I can’t bear the suspense!

⭕ Bear verb (PRODUCE) to give birth to young, or (of a tree or plant) to give or produce fruit or flowers:

  • She had borne him five sons.
  • She might never be able to bear children.
  • Some animals can’t bear babies in a very hot environment.
  • The pear tree they planted has never borne fruit.

Usage Note: Bear has two past participles: born and borne. Traditionally, born is used only in passive constructions referring to birth or brought into existence: Ex.I was born in Morocco. For all other uses, including active constructions referring to birth, borne is the standard form: Ex. She has borne both her children at home. In other words,  Borne is the past participle in all senses that do not refer to physical birth. The simple past tense of “bear” when no helping verb is involved is of course “bore”: Ex. Yesterday my wife bore twins.

⭕ Bear verb (SUPPORT) carry the weight of, to be under something and support it (hold):

  • The ice is too thin to bear your weight.
  • The chair, too fragile to bear her weight, collapsed.
  • My leg was painful, and I wasn’t sure it would bear my weight.

⭕ Bear verb (HAVE) to have or continue to have something:

  • He is the only son who will bear the family name after his father’s death.
  • The new president may bear a striking resemblance to the departing one.
  • I don’t bear them any ill feeling. (I do not continue to be angry with or dislike them).

⭕ Bear (to the) left, north, etc. to go or turn in the direction mentioned:

  • Bear left ahead, towards the lakes until you reach the Chinese bridge.
  • When you reach the woodland edge, bear right and go left further ahead.

Phrases that contain Bear

⭕ Bear the brunt of or take the brunt of something, to receive the worst part of something unpleasant or harmful, such as an attack. Ex. The oldest parts of the town bore the brunt of the missile attacks.

⭕ Bear the burden: To endure something distressing, painful, stressful, or emotionally or physically taxing, especially for the sake of others. Ex.Taxpayers bear the burden of government’s mistakes. Our mother bore the burden of this farm for 53 years until the day she died.

⭕ Bear fruit: To yield positive results, have a favourable outcome, as in Ex. I hope your new plan bears fruit.We’ve had many good ideas, but none of them has borne fruit. But if a tree bears fruit, it produces fruit.

⭕ Bear a hand: To contribute or assist; lend a hand or do something quickly and at once. Ex. Jim is great, he’s always willing to bear a hand with any housework that needs doing.Bear a hand, men! We don’t want to be here all day.

⭕ Bear something in mind: To remember a fact or circumstance and take it into account, also bear/keep someone/something in mind to remember someone or something that may be useful in the future. Ex. Bear in mind that I can’t walk as fast as you. When you’re driving a car, you must bear this in mind at all times: Keep your eyes on the road. Bearing in mind that she’s had so little experience, I thought she did very well.

⭕ Bear witness/testimony to something: To show that something is true or exists, to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief and  to express a personal conviction. EX. The empty workshops bear witness to the industrial past. The numerous awards on the walls bear witness to his great success. The power of being present and bearing witness is often undervalued.

Now that you know how to use these two words correctly, it’s time to get tested by taking the quiz below. Good Luck!

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