The Grammar GuideSpellingWhat is the difference between 'bare' and 'bear'?

What is the difference between 'bare' and 'bear'?

What is the difference between 'bare' and 'bear'?

The words bare and bear are often confused because they have the same pronunciation but different meanings. We'll help you to understand the difference.

Bear means to support or sustain; to hold up when used as a verb.

Bear is also used as a noun. It means a large omnivorous mammal, related to the dog and raccoon, having shaggy hair, a very small tail, and flat feet; a member of family Ursidae.

Bare means minimal; that is or are just sufficient, uncovered when used as an adjective.

A good way to remember the difference is A bEAR has EARs.

Out of the two words, 'bear' is the most common. It appears about two times more frequently than 'bare'.



Bear and bare are homophones, which means they sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.

Bear can be a noun and a verb. As a noun, a bear is a type of carnivorous, predatory animal, like grizzlies and polar bears. As a verb, bear means to "support or hold up, to carry or hold, or to produce or give birth."

Bare is an adjective. It means "just sufficient, naked or in the nude, uncovered or undisguised."

Should I use 'bare bones' or 'bear bones'?

The correct expression is 'bare bones'. These phrases are often confused because they have the same pronunciation but different meanings.

Should it be 'bear down' or 'bare down'?

The correct phrase is 'bear down'. These phrases are often confused because they sound the same.

Is the right expression 'cross to bear' or 'cross to bare'?

The right phrase is 'cross to bear'. These phrases are often confused because they sound similar.

What's the right phrase 'crosses to bear' or 'crosses to bare'?

The correct phrase is 'crosses to bear'. These phrases are often confused because they are homophones.

Some synonyms of bare are: uncovered, minimal, nude, naked.

Some synonyms of bear are: carry, birth, support, hold.

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The definitions in this article were adapted from Wiktionary and Dictionary.com.

Dictionary Definition of bareDictionary Definition of bear

Examples of bare in a sentence

The room was not any bigger than the bare room Max had entered before the configuration.
- The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff
Black-suited men stood like bare trees among clouds of blossom.
- Weighed in the balance by Anne Perry
He felt his bare scalp.
- Beyond belief by Roy Johansen
But the cupboards were bare;
- Death of an Outsider by M. C. Beaton
Behind the scrim of the dirty enormous window, the bare walls receded into darkness.
- In the night room: a novel by Peter Straub

Examples of bear in a sentence

Pity about that bear charging them the first week.
- Nothing gold can stay by Dana Stabenow
It must ache inside her beyond bearing that there was nothing to do except bear it.
- Weighed in the balance by Anne Perry
Alex couldn’t bear to think what his sister’s life would be like.
- Secret Weapon Spouse by B. J. Daniels
He could never bear to be even a minute, even a single second, late.
- Grand Junction by Maurice G. Dantec
Big as a bear, Max’s father had pale blue eyes and a deep, dimpled chin.
- The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff
Test yourself

Choose the missing word in each question.

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