bear down (on)

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bear down (on)

1. Literally, to press down hard on a surface or item. I bore down on the eraser, but I still couldn't fully erase my drawing. Really bear down on the bandage there—more pressure will slow the bleeding until we get to the hospital.
2. To put forth one's maximum effort toward something. If you want to get a passing grade this semester, you'll really need to bear down on your studies.
3. To move closer to someone or something, usually in an intimidating or frightening way. I'm going over the speed limit, so I have no idea why this car is bearing down on me. We ducked into a store to avoid the angry man who'd been bearing down on us.
See also: bear, down