wear1 / we(ə)r/ • v. (past wore / wôr/ ; past part. worn / wôrn/ ) 1. [tr.] have on one's body or a part of one's body as clothing, decoration, protection, or for some other purpose: he was wearing a dark suit both ladies wore a bunch of violets. ∎ habitually have on one's body or be dressed in: although she was a widow, she didn't wear black. ∎ exhibit or present (a particular facial expression or appearance): they wear a frozen smile on their faces. ∎ have (one's hair or beard) at a specified length or arranged in a specified style: the students wore their hair long. ∎ (of a ship) fly (a flag).2. [tr.] damage, erode, or destroy by friction or use: the track has been worn down in part to bare rock. ∎ [intr.] undergo such damage, erosion, or destruction: mountains are wearing down with each passing second. ∎ [tr.] form (a hole, path, etc.) by constant friction or use: the water was forced up through holes it had worn. ∎ [intr.] (wear on) cause weariness or fatigue to: some losses can wear on you.3. [intr.] withstand continued use or life in a specified way: a carpet-type finish seems to wear well.4. [intr.] (wear on) (of a period of time) pass, esp. slowly or tediously: as the afternoon wore on, he began to look unhappy. ∎ [tr.] poetic/lit. pass (a period of time) in some activity: spinning long stories, wearing half the day.• n. 1. the wearing of something or the state of being worn as clothing: some new tops for wear in the evening.2. clothing suitable for a particular purpose or of a particular type: evening wear.3. damage or deterioration sustained from continuous use: you need to make a deduction for wear and tear on all your belongings. ∎ the capacity for withstanding continuous use without such damage: old things were relegated to the bedrooms because there was plenty of wear left in them.PHRASES: wear one's heart on one's sleevesee heart.wear thin be gradually used up or become less convincing or acceptable: his patience was wearing thin the joke had started to wear thin.wear the pantssee pants.PHRASAL VERBS: wear someone/something down overcome or exhaust someone or something by persistence.wear off lose effectiveness or intensity.wear something out (or wear out) 1. use or be used until no longer in good condition or working order: wearing out the stair carpet the type was used again and again until it wore out.2. (wear someone/something out) exhaust or tire someone or something: an hour of this wandering wore out Lampard's patience.DERIVATIVES: wear·er n.wear2 • v. (past and past part. wore) [tr.] Sailing bring (a ship) about by turning its head away from the wind: Shannon gives the order to wear ship.
See also better to wear out than to rust out, if the cap fits, wear it, if the shoe fits, wear it, wear the willow.
A. be dressed in OE.;
B. waste, decay XIII;
C. last out in use XVI. OE. wk. vb. werian = OS. werian, OHG. werien, ON. verja, Goth. wasjan clothe:- Gmc. *wazjan, f. *was- *wes- :- IE. *wos- *wes-, repr. also by L. vestis clothing, Gr. hennúnai (:- *wesnu-) clothe, Skr. váste wears. The change of conjugation from wk. to str., due to assoc. with bear, swear, tear, is shown in XIV but is hardly established before XVI; anticipated in late OE. forworen worn away, wasted.
Hence wear sb. action of wearing XV; what is worn XVI (now current esp. in comps., footwear, knitwear).