Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
wear rose-colored glasses
To assume an unduly optimistic and cheerful attitude (toward something); to focus solely or primarily on the positive aspects (of something). Primarily heard in US. Many of us wear rose-colored glasses when we think back to our childhoods. It's part of the reason nostalgia is such a powerful emotional draw. I find it a little irksome how you always wear rose-colored glasses, even in the worst of times!
wear too many hats
business slang To hold too many responsibilities or assume too many roles at the same time. One of the pitfalls many entrepreneurs fall into when setting up a new company is to wear too many hats, which not only spreads themselves very thin, but ends up being counterproductive to the operation as a whole.
wear (one's) fingers to the bone
To work excessively hard. Likened to literally wearing the skin off of one's hands. I have worn my fingers to the bone renovating this house, and I'm glad to say that it has all been worth it. You have everyone wearing their fingers to the bone. You need to give them a break or they'll burn out.
1. To cause to become worn, as from frequent or rough use. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wear" and "out." Coming to abrupt stops like that is really going to wear out your breaks. It's amazing how quick my kids wear their shoes out.
2. To exhaust one. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wear" and "out." You forgot how much standing all day can really wear you out. I'm going to try to wear out the toddlers so they go right to sleep tonight.
1. Of an object, often a fabric, to physically become thinner or cause to become worn, as from frequent use. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wear" and "thin." You can see here how the leather has been worn thin by years of use.
2. To diminish or become less effective. Please try to behave. My patience is beginning to wear thin. It was cute the first few times that he did it, but his little routine has worn thin.
be worn to a frazzle
To be highly agitated and perhaps exhausted due to having endured a lengthy nerve-racking situation. I'm just worn to a frazzle after a week with my relatives. I'm so glad that they're leaving tomorrow!
wear (oneself) to a frazzle
To make oneself exhausted and anxious through too much work, effort, or worry. I wore myself to a frazzle trying to accommodate all our relatives over Christmas. It was nice having them here, but I'm so glad they're gone! They're wearing themselves to a frazzle with how overprotective they are of their kids.
wear (oneself) to a shadow
To make oneself exhausted and anxious through too much work. I wore myself to a shadow trying to accommodate all our relatives over Christmas. It was nice having them here, but I'm so glad they're gone! My brother is wearing himself to a shadow trying to run his own business.
1. Of a police officer, to make a written declaration under oath in the presence of an authorized person, especially to use as evidence or in order to obtain a warrant. The disgraced cop admitted to swearing out false affidavits to confound investigations in return for bribes from the notorious crime syndicate. The judge swore out a warrant to search the suspect's home, but it was never served by police.
2. To issue a litany of profane language as a reprimand or attack against someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "swear" and "out." He stood there swearing out the driver that nearly backed into his car. The boss swore me out for a good five minutes for messing up the accounts so badly.
wear a different hat
To hold or function in a different position or role simultaneously. Few know that the renowned actress wears a different hat as an accomplished neuroscientist.
wear more than one hat
To hold or function in more than one position or role simultaneously. Few know that the renowned actress wears more than one hat, splitting her time as an accomplished neuroscientist.
wear another hat
To hold or function in another position or role simultaneously. Few know that the renowned actress wears another hat as an accomplished neuroscientist.
1. To become eroded, dissolved, or stripped away from exposure to some destructive element or force. The enamel on your teeth has worn almost completely away, which is why you've been experiencing so much pain when you eat and drink. Over the course of several centuries, the coastline wore away until the small village was completely consumed by the sea.
2. To erode, dissolve, or strip away something as a result of exposure to some destructive element or force. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wear" and "away." The extreme weather in this area will wear that cheap paint away in a matter of weeks. Rust caused by the sea air as worn away the entire underside of the car.
To cause an article of clothing to stretch and become more comfortable through continuous use. I know the shoes are stiff right now, but once you wear them in a bit they'll feel much better. I hate wearing suits that haven't been worn in.
See also: wear
1. To become eroded, ground, or stripped off, as from prolonged exposure to some destructive element or force. The enamel on your teeth has almost completely worn off, which is why you've been experiencing so much pain when you eat and drink. The protective coating I'd applied to the device is beginning to wear off.
2. To erode, grind, or strip off something as a result of prolonged exposure to some destructive element or force. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wear" and "off." The inclement weather in this region tends to wear the paint off of the houses after only a couple of months.
3. To fade or lessen over time; to gradually cease or dissipate. I'm giving you a mild sedative to help you calm down—it should wear off in about an hour. We'll start driving again once your nausea wears off.
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.
1. To become ground, eroded, or severed through by some frictional pressure or force. Apparently the brake pads were almost entirely worn through by the time the mechanic looked at them. That rope is going to wear through if it keeps rubbing against the corner like that.
2. To grind, erode, or sever through some surface due to extreme, continuous, or prolonged pressure or friction. You wore through the polish on the floor when you dragged the desk over here. Apparently I tend to grind my teeth while I sleep, and it has worn through the enamel on my molars.
3. To use up some amount of a consumable commodity through continuous use that involves prolonged friction or pressure. You've got to be more careful with how you shift gears—this is the second clutch you've worn through in six months! You're probably going to wear through a number of pairs of socks as you hike the Camino de Santiago.
1. To remain functional or adequate despite long or continuous use. I bought this old car nearly 20 years ago, and it is still wearing well to this day.
2. To remain particularly popular or well regarded for a long time. Truly great poetry will always wear well, whether it was written this morning or 400 years ago. And yet, 30 years later, the unique aesthetic of the film still wears well.
3. To look very fashionable or attractive while wearing something, such as a piece of clothing, a particular hairstyle, a kind of makeup, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is typically used between "wear" and "well." Not every woman can wear short hair well, but you really pull it off. I must say, for someone who tends to go against conventional styles, he wears a suit and tie very well.
4. To be particularly well suited to a certain demeanor, attitude, title, role, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is typically used between "wear" and "well." The young king wears the responsibility and decorum of his crown admirably well. The former Olympian was recently made an ambassador to the United Nations, a role she wears well.
worn to a frazzle
Physically, mentally, or emotionally exhausted. I'm just worn to a frazzle after a week with my relatives. I'm so glad that they're leaving tomorrow! Looking after the kids on my own all weekend left me worn to a frazzle. We all felt worn to a frazzle by the end of the three-day seminar.
wear more than one hatand wear two hats
Fig. to have more than one set of responsibilities; to hold more than one office. The mayor is also the police chief. She wears more than one hat. I have too much to do to wear more than one hat. He wears two hats; he's both CEO and chairman of the board.
[for the effects of something] to become less; to stop gradually. The effects of the painkiller wore off and my tooth began to hurt. I was annoyed at first, but my anger wore off.
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 become worn from use; to become diminished or useless from use. My car engine is about to wear out. It takes a lot of driving to wear out an engine.
wear someone out
Fig. to exhaust someone; to make someone tired. The coach made the team practice until he wore them out. If he wears out everybody on the team, nobody will be left to play in the game.
wear something away
to erode something. The constant rains wore the side of the cathedral away. The flooding wore away the topsail.
wear something off (of) somethingand wear something off
to grind or rub something off something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) The grinding of the bottom of the boat on the sandbanks wore the barnacles off the hull. The sand wore off the barnacles.
wear something out
to make something worthless or nonfunctional from use. I wore my shoes out in no time at all. I wore out my shoes in less than a month.
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 through something
to grind or rub through something. My heel finally wore through the carpeting beneath the accelerator of my car. The constant rubbing of hands wore through the paint on the railing.
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.
Obtain a warrant for arrest by making a charge under oath, as in The school principal swore out a warrant for the arrest of the vandals. [Late 1800s]
wear another hat
Also, wear a different hat or two hats ; wear more than one hat. Function in a different or more than one capacity or position, as in I'm wearing another hat today; yesterday I was a housewife, today I'm an attorney, or I wear two hats-are you asking me as a member of the city council or as a storeowner? This metaphoric expression alludes to headgear worn for different occupations. [Mid-1900s]
Diminish gradually, lose effectiveness, as in We'll wait till the drug wears off. [Late 1600s]
1. Become or cause to become unusable through long or heavy use, as in She wears out her shoes in no time, or The coupling in this device has worn out. [Early 1400s]
2. Exhaust, tire, as in I was worn out from packing all those books. Also see tired out. [First half of 1500s]
1. Be weakened or diminished gradually, as in My patience is wearing thin. [Late 1800s]
2. Become less convincing, acceptable, or popular, as in His excuses are wearing thin. [First half of 1990s] Both usages transfer the thinning of a physical object, such as cloth, to nonmaterial characteristics.
Last under continual or hard use; also, withstand criticism or the test of time. For example, These boots have worn well, or His poetry wears well. [Mid-1500s]
worn to a frazzle
In a state of nervous exhaustion, as in The very idea of moving again has us worn to a frazzle. This expression transfers frazzle, which means "a frayed edge," to one's feelings. [Late 1800s]
wear (or wear your years) wellremain young-looking.
be burnt, worn, etc. to a ˈfrazzle(informal) be completely burnt/extremely tired: After working all weekend at the hospital, Deborah was worn to a frazzle.
See also: frazzle
wear ˈthinbegin to become less; become less interesting or amusing: My patience is beginning to wear very thin. ♢ Don’t you think that joke’s wearing a bit thin? (= we have heard it many times before)
To obtain some warrant for arrest by making a charge under oath: The victims swore out a warrant against their attacker.
1. To erode or consume something by long or hard use, attrition, or exposure: The sea is wearing away the rocks. Repeated washings have worn the fabric away. The tough climate wears away at the roof.
2. To be gradually eroded or consumed by long or hard use, attrition, or exposure: The paint on the house is wearing away.
To loosen or soften some new clothing by wearing it: That sweater will feel better after you wear it in.
See also: wear
1. To diminish gradually in effect until gone: The drug wore off after eight hours.
2. To be gradually removed by long or hard use, attrition, or exposure: So many people touched the picture that its luster finally wore off.
3. To gradually remove something by long or hard use, attrition, or exposure: The inclement weather wore off the awning on my porch. The snow wore the shine off my car.
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.
1. To become unusable through long or heavy use: The tent wore out after last summer's trip.
2. To make something unusable through long or heavy use: The tough job wore out my saw. Miles of hiking wore my shoes out.
3. To make someone weary; exhaust someone: The children wore me out. The class wore out the substitute teacher.
4. Chiefly Southern US To punish by spanking: If you don't behave, I'm going to have to wear you out.
1. To consume something by long or hard use; go through something: The car wore through two sets of brake pads. I wore through two pairs of boots hiking the Appalachian Trail.
2. To put some hole or gap in something by long or hard use or attrition: I wore a hole through the toes of my socks.
3. To penetrate or sever something by attrition: The sharp corner eventually wore through the fabric. The nail wore my sock through.
4. To become severed or perforated by long or hard use, attrition, or exposure: The strap wore through. The cable wore through to the metal.
1. To be weakened or eroded gradually: Her patience is wearing thin.
2. To become less convincing, acceptable, or popular, as through repeated use: excuses that are wearing thin.