Etymology
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shear (v.)

Middle English sheren, "cut or clip, especially with a sharp instrument," from Old English sceran, scieran (class IV strong verb; past tense scear, past participle scoren; Middle English shorne) "to cleave, hew, cut with a sharp instrument; cut (the hair), shave (the beard), shear (a sheep)," from Proto-Germanic *skero "to cut" (source also of Old Norse and Old Frisian skera, Dutch scheren, German scheren "to shear"), from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut." Related: Shorn; shearing.

shear (n.)

1610s, "act of clipping, result of shaving," also as a unit of measure of the age of a sheep, from shear (v.). Also see shears, which is much older. The scientific and mechanical use in reference to a type of transverse strain is attested from 1850.

updated on August 14, 2022

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