Old English borian "to bore through, perforate," from bor "auger," from Proto-Germanic *buron (source also of Old Norse bora, Swedish borra, Old High German boron, Middle Dutch boren, German bohren), from PIE root *bhorh- "hole."
past tense of bear (v.).
1778, "thing which causes ennui or annoyance by dullness;" earlier "state of boredom, fit of listless disgust" (1766); of persons who cause boredom by 1812; usually said to be a figurative extension of bore (v.1) on the notion of "move forward slowly and persistently," as a boring tool does, but OED has doubts and early evidence suggests a French connection.
Le secret d'ennuyer est celui de tout dire (The secret of being a bore is to tell everything) [Voltaire, "Sept Discours en Vers sur l'Homme," 1738]
Old English bor "instrument for making holes by boring or turning," from the source of bore (v.1). As "hole made by boring," early 14c. Meaning "cylindrical hole through a tube, gun, etc." is from 1570s; that of "interior diameter of a tube, caliber of a gun" (whether bored or not) is from 1580s. Hence figurative slang full bore (1936) "at maximum speed," from notion of unchoked carburetor on an engine.
"be tiresome or dull," 1768, a vogue word c. 1780-81 according to Grose (1785); see bore (n.2). As "cause boredom to," by 1840.
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