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See also: Bearer



From Middle English berer, berere, from Old English berere (attested in Old English wæterberere (waterbearer)), equivalent to bear +‎ -er.



bearer (plural bearers)

  1. One who, or that which, bears, sustains, or carries.
    Synonyms: carrier, -phore
  2. Someone who helps carry the coffin or a dead body during a funeral procession.
    Synonym: pallbearer
    • 1645, John Milton, “Another on the same”, in Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin[1], London: Humphrey Moseley, page 29:
      Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretch’d,
      If I may not carry, sure Ile ne’re be fetch’d,
      But vow though the cross Doctors all stood hearers,
      For one Carrier put down to make six bearers.
    • 1838, Boz [pseudonym; Charles Dickens], Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Richard Bentley, [], →OCLC:
      [] the bare coffin having been screwed down, was hoisted on the shoulders of the bearers, and carried into the street.
    • 1934, Dorothy L. Sayers, “A Full Peal of Grandsire Triples”, in The Nine Tailors[2], London: Victor Gollancz, published 1975, Part 3:
      The deep shadows of the porch swallowed up priest, corpse and bearers []
  3. One who possesses a cheque, bond, or other notes promising payment.
    I promise to pay the bearer on demand.
  4. A person employed or engaged to carry equipment on a safari, expedition, etc.
  5. A person employed to carry a palanquin or litter.
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      Within an hour of our finally deciding to start five litters were brought up to the door of the cave, each accompanied by four regular bearers and two spare hands, also a band of about fifty armed Amahagger, who were to form the escort and carry the baggage.
  6. (India, dated) A domestic servant in charge of household goods and clothing; a valet.
    Synonym: dressing-boy
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, “Watches of the Night”, in Plain Tales from the Hills, Folio, published 2005, page 60:
      The bar of the watch-guard worked through the buttonhole, and the watch—Platte's watch—slid quietly on to the carpet; where the bearer found it next morning and kept it.
  7. (India) A waiter in a hotel or restaurant.
  8. A tree or plant yielding fruit.
    a good bearer
    • 1791, William Gilpin, Remarks on Forest Scenery: and Other Woodland Views[3], London: R. Blamire, Volume 1, Book 1, Section 6, p. 149:
      In the common mode of pruning, this species of vine is no great bearer; but managed as it is here, it produces wonderfully.
  9. (dated) Someone who delivers a letter or message on behalf of another (especially as referred to in the letter or message).
  10. (printing) A strip of reglet or other furniture to bear off the impression from a blank page.
  11. (printing) A type or type-high piece of metal interspersed in blank parts to support the plate when it is shaved.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Bengali: বেয়ারা (beẏara), বেহারা (behara) (borrowed from sense 4)






  1. first-person singular imperfect passive subjunctive of beō