Language: Old English
Origin: werian


1 verb
wear1 S1 W1 past tense wore, past participle worn

on your body

[transitive]DC to have something such as clothes, shoes, or jewellery on your body:
Susanna was wearing a black silk dress.
He wore glasses for reading.
wear a seat belt (=have it around yourself)
wear black/white/red etc
Usually I wear black, grey, or brown.
wear something to a party/a dance/an interview etc
I'm wearing a scarlet dress to the party.


[transitive] to have your hair or beard in a particular style or shape:
She wore her hair loose.


[intransitive and transitive] to become thinner or weaker after continuous use, or to make something do this:
The cushions are starting to wear a little.
His jeans have worn thin at the knees.
You've worn a hole in your sock.

wear well

a) to remain in good condition after a period of time:
The tyres on the car seem to be wearing well.
b) if someone is wearing well, they look younger than they really are:
He must have been around his mid-forties at least, but he'd worn well.


[transitive] to have a particular expression on your face
wear a smile/frown/grin etc
His face wore a welcoming smile.

something is wearing thin

a) if something is wearing thin, you are bored with it because it is not interesting any more, or has become annoying:
The film begins well but the joke wears thin after about ten minutes.
b) if your patience is wearing thin, you have very little left, because of a delay or problem

wear the trousers

British English wear the pants American English informal to be the person in a family who makes the decisions

wear your heart on your sleeve

informal to show your true feelings openly
wearable adjective

wear away

phrasal verb
to gradually become thinner or smoother, or to make something become like this, because of rubbing or touching:
The leather is starting to wear away at the seams.
wear something ↔ away
Most of the grass had already been worn away by the spectators.

wear down

phrasal verb
1 to gradually become flatter or smoother, or to make something become like this, because of rubbing or use:
My shoes have worn down at the heel.
wear something ↔ down
Its teeth were worn down.

wear somebody ↔ down

to gradually make someone physically weaker or less determined:
It was clear he was being worn down by the rumours over his future.

wear off

phrasal verb
1 if pain or the effect of something wears off, it gradually stops:
The effects of the anaesthetic were starting to wear off.

the novelty wears off

used to say that you stop feeling interested or excited about something because it is no longer new:
It was funny for a while but the novelty soon wore off.

wear on

phrasal verb
if time wears on, it passes very slowly, especially when you are waiting for something to happen:
I was feeling more tired as the night wore on.

wear out

phrasal verb
1 to become damaged and useless, or to make something like this by using it a lot or for a long time:
My boots are beginning to wear out.
wear something ↔ out
He travels so much he actually wears out suitcases.

wear somebody out

to make someone feel extremely tired [= exhaust]:
All this shopping has worn us out.
wear yourself out
Illness and death came suddenly; over the years she had simply worn herself out.

wear out your welcome

to stay with someone longer than they want you to

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