• (America) IPA: /dɪɹ/
  • (RP) IPA: /dɪə/
  • (Scotland) IPA: /diːɹ/

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.
    • 1966, The Beatles, When I'm Sixty-Four
      Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear.
  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!
  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.
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Noun

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?
Synonyms Translations Verb

dear (dears, present participle dearing; past and past participle deared)

  1. (obsolete) To endear.


  1. dearly; at a high price
    • c. 1603–1604, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene ii]:
      If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear.
  1. Indicating surprise, pity, or disapproval.
    Dear, dear! Whatever were they thinking?


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

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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