Word of the Day: wear

Word of the Day
April 27, 2016
wear (verb, noun)
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The clothes you wear can say a lot about you.
To wear means 'to use a piece of clothing or an ornament on the body' or 'to have a facial expression.' We also use it to talk about the style in which we have our hair or beards. Wear also means 'to deteriorate through use,' and when something wears well, that means that it is resistant and lasts a long time. As a noun, wear is the action of wearing clothes. Wear is also the damage shown by something that's been used a lot.

 

Example sentences
 
Some people like to wear skirts, but I prefer pants.
Simon's face wore a look of disgust as he threw out the old hamburger from the refrigerator.
Polly wears her hair short.
The print in this old book is starting to wear; in some places you can hardly read what it says anymore!
These shoes have worn really well; I've had them for five years and they still look almost new.
Henry has had that coat for years, but there is still a lot of wear left in it.
The sofa is showing signs of wear; perhaps it is time to get a new one!

 

Multi-word forms
 
wear down: (About an object) to erode from the top or bottom. Example: "The heels of these shoes have really worn down; I need to get them repaired." (About a person) to persuade through persistence. Example: "The mother told the children they couldn't have any candy, but they kept asking and finally wore her down."
wear out: (About an object) used so much that it is no longer useful or functional. Example: "This carpet is worn out; we'll have to get a new one." (About a person) to make very tired, or to use up all of a person's energy. Example: "The long hike had worn the children out."
wear off: disappear or stop having an effect. Example. "The patient woke up when the anesthetic wore off."
wear thin: to become thin through use, often used to talk about clothes. Example: "His pants were old and had worn thin in the knees." Wear thin can also be used figuratively about something that is running out, particularly patience. Example: "Helen had heard her daughter's excuses too many times, and her patience was starting to wear thin."
wear and tear: damage that is normal with use. Example: "The apartment is in good condition but it is 30 years old and so there are some signs of wear and tear."
 
Did you know?
 
Sometimes wear can be used to talk about time, particularly with the adverbs on or away. When you say time is wearing on or away, that often means it seems to be going very slowly, and this can have a negative connotation. Example: "After his wife died, Tom struggled to find meaning in life, but the years continued to wear on."
 
Other forms
 
wearer (noun), wearable (adjective)
 
Origin
 
Wear dates back to before 900; the verb comes from the Middle English word weren, meaning 'to have (clothes) on the body,' or 'to waste or damage or suffer waste or damage,' and the Old English word werian. It is a cognate with the Old Norse word verja and the Gothic word wasjan, meaning 'to clothe.' The noun comes from the late Middle English word were, meaning 'the act of carrying on the body' and is derivative of the verb; it is akin to the Latin vestis, meaning 'clothing.'
 
 
 
 
 
Wear in other languages
 
 
 
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