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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.
bear down (on someone or something)
to press down on someone or something. Bear down on the pen. You have to make a lot of copies. Don't bear down too hard or you'll break it.
1. Press or weigh down on someone or something. For example, This pen doesn't write unless you bear down hard on it. [Late 1600s]
2. Try hard, intensify one's efforts, as in If you'll just bear down, you'll pass the test.
3. Move forward in a pressing or threatening way, as in The ferry bore down on our little skiff. This usage was originally nautical. [Early 1700s]
1. To press or push down heavily on someone or something: To knead this dough you have to bear down on it with both hands. I grabbed the corners of the blanket and bore down hard to stop the wind from blowing it away.
2. To apply maximum effort and concentration: Now that the games are over, I can really bear down on my studies. To finish this job you'll need to bear down and work very hard.
3. To advance upon someone or something in a threatening manner: As soon as I had control of the soccer ball, I saw the tackle bearing down on me. The storm bore down and ravaged the island.