From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /blɪə(ɹ)/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪə(ɹ)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English blere, related to Low German bleeroged (bleareyed), Middle High German blerre (double vision), German Blerre (double vision). Perhaps also related to blur.


blear (comparative more blear, superlative most blear)

  1. (of eyes or vision) Dim, unclear from water or rheum.
  2. Causing or caused by dimness of sight.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], edited by H[enry] Lawes, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: [], London: [] [Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, [], published 1637, →OCLC; reprinted as Comus: [] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, →OCLC, page 6, lines 153-156:
      Thus I hurle
      My dazling spells into the ſpungie aire
      Of power to cheate the eye with bleare illuſion,
      And give it falſe preſentments, []
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English bleren, from Old English blerian.


blear (third-person singular simple present blears, present participle blearing, simple past and past participle bleared)

  1. (intransitive) To be blear; to have blear eyes; to look or gaze with blear eyes.
    • 18th c., attributed to Jonathan Swift, “The Story of Orpheus, Burlesqued,” in Walter Scott (ed.), The Works of Jonathan Swift, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 2nd edition, 1883, Volume 10, p. 403,[1]
      Orpheus, a one-eyed blearing Thracian,
      The crowder of that barb’rous nation,
      Was ballad-singer by vocation;
    • 1886, John Grosvenor Wilson, “A Rainy Day in Town”, in Lyrics of Life[2], New York: Caxton Book Concern, page 146:
      The street-lamps blearing thro’ the rainy rout,
      Each like a winking, sickly evil-eye.
    • 1917, Madge Morris, The “Red Wind Blows” in The Lure of the Desert Land and Other Poems, San Francisco: Har Wagner, p. 83,[3]
      Let loose thy snow-winged dove, to rise
      And fly across the seething blood-mad world.
      To flutter over fields where that dread Silence is!
      To light on upturned faces blearing at the skies
      And curiously peck at dead men’s eyes.
  2. (transitive) To make (usually the eyes or eyesight) blurred or dim.
    • 1584, Anonymous, Sonnet, in Clement Robinson et al., A Handefull of Pleasnt Delites, London: Richard Ihones, reprinted from the original edition for the Spenser Society, 1871, p. 52,[4]
      I Smile to ſee how you deuiſe,
      New maſking nets my eies to bleare:
      your ſelf you cannot ſo diſguiſe:
      But as you are, you muſt appeare.
    • c. 1590–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene i], page 227, columns 1–2:
      Here’s Lucentio, right ſonne to the right Vincentio,
      That haue by marriage made thy daughter mine,
      While counterfeit ſuppoſes bleer’d thine eine.
    • 1644, John Milton, Areopagitica; a Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England, London: [s.n.], →OCLC, page 37:
      [] if it come to prohibiting, there is not ought more likely to be prohibited then truth it ſelf; whoſe firſt appearance to our eyes blear’d and dimm’d with prejudice and cuſtom, is more unſightly and unplauſible then many errors, ev’n as the perſon is of many a great man ſlight and contemptible to ſee to.
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, chapter I, in Treasure Island, London, Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, →OCLC, part I (The Old Buccaneer), page 7:
      [] I remember observing the contrast the neat, bright doctor, with his powder as white as snow, and his bright, black eyes and pleasant manners, made with the coltish country folk, and above all, with that filthy, heavy, bleared scarecrow of a pirate of ours, sitting far gone in rum, with his arms on the table.
    • 1887, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “A Study in Scarlet”, in Beeton’s Christmas Annual, London, New York, N.Y., Melbourne, Vic.: Ward, Lock & Co., part I (Being a reprint from the reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., []), page 17:
      The latter looked out with three tiers of vacant melancholy windows, which were blank and dreary, save that here and there a “To Let” card had developed like a cataract upon the bleared panes.
    • 1928, Frank Parker Day, chapter 1, in Rockbound[5]:
      He was useful to the man, for his sharp young eyes could pick up net or trawl buoys, white with a stripe of scarlet, far quicker than the rum-bleared eyes of his stepfather.
  3. (transitive, of an image) To blur, make blurry.
    • 1865, Alfred Billings Street, “My Canoe”, in Forest Pictures in the Adirondacks[6], New York: Gregory, page 33:
      When winter blears bleakly the forest,
      And the water binds gray to its blue,
      Safe and sound in her covert I leave her,
      Till spring calls again my canoe.
    • 1888, David Atwood Wasson, “Babes of God” Part II in Poems, Boston: Lee & Shepard, p. 36,[7]
      Now, one among the foremost, looking up
      By chance, with horror saw, in farthest sky
      Fronting their course, a troublous film of cloud,—
      A strange, dark, troublous film of cloud,—
      Blearing the beauty of the crystal wall.
    • 1946, Mervyn Peake, “Here and There”, in Titus Groan, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode:
      He stared at but did not see the bleared reflection of the flanking cherubs a hundred feet above the steel-grey veneer of water.



Alternative forms[edit]

  • bler (Rumantsch Grischun, Surmiran, Vallader)
  • bia (Sursilvan, Sutsilvan)
  • bger (Puter)


From Latin valde.


blear m (feminine singular bleara, masculine plural blears, feminine plural blearas)

  1. (Sutsilvan) much, a lot of