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1. To pass slowly or gradually over a course of time, especially in a very dull, tedious, or tiresome manner. The lecture wore on for nearly two hours, with several in the audience audibly snoring. The days and the weeks continued wearing on, with little reprieve from the heat and boredom.
2. To cause damage or erosion through continuous or frequent use or application of pressure or friction. Rolling your bicycle through here like that is really starting to wear on the carpets. Constant use has worn on the gears of the device.
3. To put something, as clothing or an adornment, on one's body or clothes. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "wear" and "on." He wore a pin on his lapel during the awards ceremony to show solidarity with the movement. Everyone wore hats on their heads back in the 1940s.
4. To irritate, frustrate, or exasperate someone. You could tell that the class's unruliness was beginning to wear on our teacher. Would you mind taking the kids out for a walk or something? They're really wearing on me today.
wear (up)on someone
to diminish someone's energy and resistance; to bore or annoy someone. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) You could see that the lecture was beginning to wear upon the audience. This kind of thing really wears on me.
wear (up)on something
to grind or rub at something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The bottom of the door is wearing upon the carpet and leaving marks. It is wearing on the carpet.
wear something (up)on something
to have something on something as clothing or adornment. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) I wore a lovely diamond pin upon my blouse. I wore the flower on my lapel.
wear on (for a period of time)
Fig. [for an event] to continue for a long period of time. The lecture seemed to wear on for hours. It wore on until I went to sleep.
wear on someone
Fig. to bother or annoy someone. We stayed with them only a short time because my children seemed to wear on them. Always being short of money wears on a person after a while.
To pass gradually or tediously: The hours wore on as we completed our chores. As the day wore on, I became more and more tired.