Bear vs Bare

The most common mistake with these two words is when ‘bare’ is substituted for ‘bear‘ as a verb (action), as in ‘Please bare with me’. I’m pretty sure that the author is not actually wanting me to get naked with them. Nobody wants that.

Bear has a lot of meanings, the most common being:

  • a big furry creature (noun)

Example: The bear chased the hiker through the woods, scaring off the wolf.

  • to carry or support something (verb)

Example: He was bearing a tray of coffee mugs when he tripped over my feet.

  • to tolerate something (verb)

Example: Please bear with me, I am running for my life.

  • to endure an ordeal or difficulty (verb)

Example: The hiker could not bear the stinking breath coming from the wolf’s drooling mouth.

  • to give birth (which technically fits the description above of enduring an ordeal)

Example: She went on to bear five children, none of which was named Jennifer.

Bare also has a few different meanings, but not one of them is the same as ‘bear’:

  • to uncover and expose something to view (verb)

Example: The wolf bared its teeth and the hiker ran like hell.

  • to describe something that is uncovered (adjective)

Example: The hard ground hurt my bare feet as I ran from the wolf.

  • to describe something basic or simple (adjective)

Example: I only did the bare minimum of study, so I couldn’t remember whether wolves and bears were enemies.

Bear and bare are not synonyms and cannot be used interchangeably. Please stop asking me to ‘bare with you’.