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1. To carry or transport someone or something down along something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "bear" and "down." The current bore us down the river toward the ocean. The courier bore the parcel down the road as quickly as he could.
2. To push downward with one's abdomen, as when giving birth or passing stool. At some point you're going to feel an intense urge to bear down, which means the baby is on her way.
3. To put forth one's maximum effort or apply one's maximum concentration (toward action or activity). I know you've been having trouble with your studies, but it's time to bear down and make sure you pass.
4. Of a boat, to approach from an upwind direction. The other boat began bearing down at an incredible speed.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.