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See also: Dear and dèar


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English dere, from Old English dīere, from Proto-Germanic *diurijaz. Cognate with Dutch duur (costly, precious), German teuer (costly, precious), Icelandic dýr (expensive), Danish Danish dyr (expensive), Norwegian dyr, Swedish dyr (expensive).


dear (comparative dearer, superlative dearest)

  1. (generally dated) High in price; expensive.
    The dearer the jewel, the greater the love expressed.
    • 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant Of Venice, Act IV Scene 1
      There's more depends on this than on the value.
      The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
      And find it out by proclamation:
      Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
    • 1902, Briquettes as Fuel in Foreign Countries (report of the United States Bureau of Foreign Commerce):
      This water is sold for 50 cents per ton, which is not dear under the circumstances.
  2. Loved; lovable.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803:
      So this was my future home, I thought! [] Backed by towering hills, the but faintly discernible purple line of the French boundary off to the southwest, a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
  3. Loving, affectionate, heartfelt
    Such dear embrace tenderly comforts even in this dear sorrow.
  4. Precious to or greatly valued by someone.
    The dearer the giver, the dearer the trinket he brings!
  5. A formal way to start (possibly after my) addressing somebody at the beginning of a letter, memo etc.
    Dear Sir/Madam/Miss, please notice our offices will be closed during the following bank holidays: [].
  6. A formal way to start (often after my) addressing somebody one likes or regards kindly.
    My dear friend, I feel better as soon as you come sit beside my sickbed!
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. []
  7. An ironic way to start (often after my) addressing an inferior.
    My dear boy, if your grades don't pick up I won't bounce you on but over my knee!
  8. (obsolete) Noble.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


dear (plural dears)

  1. A very kind, loving person.
    My cousin is such a dear, always drawing me pictures.
  2. A beloved person.
  3. An affectionate, familiar term of address, such as used between husband and wife.
    Pass me the salt, would you dear?
Derived terms[edit]


dear (third-person singular simple present dears, present participle dearing, simple past and past participle deared)

  1. (obsolete) To endear.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shelton to this entry?)
Derived terms[edit]


dear (comparative more dear, superlative most dear)

  1. dearly; at a high price



  1. Indicating surprise, pity, or disapproval.
    Dear, dear! Whatever were they thinking?
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English dere (fierce, severe, hard, deadly), from Old English dēor, dȳr (brave, bold; severe, dire, vehement), from Proto-Germanic *deuzaz. Cognate with the above


dear (comparative more dear, superlative most dear)

  1. Severe, or severely affected; sore.
  2. (obsolete) Fierce.
    The Christens found the heathens dear, as the lion doth the bear.





dear (present analytic dearann, future analytic dearfaidh, verbal noun dearadh, past participle deartha)

  1. To draw (design).



Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
dear dhear ndear
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.