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Related to bearing: journal bearing, thrust bearing
find (one's) bearings
To recognize or determine one's orientation, position, or abilities relative to one's surroundings or situation. It took me a little while to find my bearings in the new office, but after a week, I felt as if I'd been working there for years. We need to get above the treeline if we're going to find our bearings and reach the campsite before dark.
lose (one's) bearings
To lose sight of or become unable to determine one's orientation, position, or abilities relative to one's surroundings or situation. Trying to find her way home through the woods in the dead of night, Sarah lost her bearings when the clouds obscured the stars overhead. I feel like I've been losing my bearings in life ever since I lost my job.
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
Prov. Do not trust an opponent who offers to do something nice for you. (A line from the story of the Trojan horse, as told in Vergil's Aeneid.) Jill: I can't believe Melanie brought me cookies today, when we've been fighting for weeks. Jane: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. She probably has ulterior motives. When the rival company invited all his employees to a Christmas party, Tom's first impulse was to beware of Greeks bearing gifts, but then he upbraided himself for being paranoid.
have (some) bearing on something
to have relevance to something. (Note the use of no and any in the negative.) I know something that has some bearing on the issue you are discussing. This has no bearing on anything that will happen today. This doesn't have any bearing on all that. What bearing does John's decision have on the situation?
the knowledge of where one is; the knowledge of how one is oriented to one's immediate environment. (*Typically: get ~; find ~; have ~; lose ~; tell one ~.) After he fell, it took Ted a few minutes to get his bearings. Jean found her compass and got her bearings almost immediately.
See also: bearing
get your bearings
to feel sure of your abilities Lonely and upset, she moved in with her parents to try to get her bearings.
Usage notes: the opposite meaning is expressed by lose your bearings: For a short time after my mother died, my father seemed to lose his bearings.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of bearings (your position in relation to other things)
get one's bearings
Also, find one's bearings. Figure out one's position or situation relative to one's surroundings. For example, She's still new to the company and needs time to find her bearings, or I'll be along soon; just wait till I get my bearings. Naturally, one can also lose one's bearings, as in After we missed the turnpike exit, we completely lost our bearings. These phrases use bearings in the sense of "relative position," a usage dating from the 1600s.
lose one's bearings
see under get one's bearings.