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Definitions of sear

sear1 (sɪə Pronunciation for sear1


verb (transitive)

  1. to scorch or burn the surface of
  2. to brand with a hot iron
  3. to cause to wither or dry up
  4. (rare) to make callous or unfeeling


  1. a mark caused by searing


  1. (poetic) dried up

Word Origin

Old English sēarian to become withered, from sēar withered; related to Old High German sōrēn, Greek hauos dry, Sanskrit sōsa drought


View thesaurus entry
= wither, burn, blight, brand, scorch, sizzle, shrivel, cauterize, desiccate, dry up or out
= flash fry, brown, fry quickly

sear2 (sɪə Pronunciation for sear2



  1. the catch in the lock of a small firearm that holds the hammer or firing pin cocked

Word Origin

C16: probably from Old French serre a clasp, from serrer to hold firmly, from Late Latin sērāre to bolt, from Latin sera a bar

sere1 or sear (sɪə Pronunciation for )



  1. (archaic) dried up or withered

verb, noun

  1. a rare spelling of sear1 (sense 1)

Word Origin

Old English sēar; see sear1

Example Sentences Including 'sear'

And most of all, he murdered because he needed to sear away the secret weakness of his soul.
Zindell, David The Broken God
It enveloped him completely, the first burst of heat enough to sear the clothes from his body and set his hair and flesh alight.
Clive Barker COLDHEART CANYON (2001)
The grains of coffee were sliding down the sides of the pot to sear and scorch as they struck the glowing red electric coils.
Babson, Marian Death in Fashion


Comment by Emilianho on 7 Dec 2014

I don't think the French etymology is very plausible. Why not consider this: From Middle High German versēren, a compounding of ver- and sēren. It is a verbalization of Middle High German sēr, from Old High German sēr. "to hurt, to wound"

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