wear (v.)

Old English werian "to clothe, put on, cover up," from Proto-Germanic *wasīn- (source also of Old Norse verja, Old High German werian, Gothic gawasjan "to clothe"), from PIE *wos-eyo-, suffixed form of *wes- (2) "to clothe," extended form of root *eu- "to dress."

The Germanic forms "were homonyms of the vb. for 'prevent, ward off, protect' (Goth. warjan, O.E. werian, etc.), and this was prob. a factor in their early displacement in most of the Gmc. languages" [Buck]. It shifted from a weak verb (past tense and past participle wered) to a strong one (past tense wore, past participle worn) in 14c. on analogy of rhyming strong verbs such as bear and tear. Secondary sense of "use up, gradually damage" (late 13c.) is from effect of continued use on clothes. To wear down (transitive) "overcome by steady force" is from 1843. To wear off "diminish by attrition or use" is from 1690s.

wear (n.)

"action of wearing" (clothes), mid-15c., from wear (v.). Meaning "what one wears" is 1560s. To be the worse for wear is attested from 1782; noun phrase wear and tear is first recorded 1660s, implying the sense "process of being degraded by use."

updated on August 16, 2018

Definitions of wear from WordNet
wear (v.)
be dressed in;
She was wearing yellow that day
Synonyms: have on
wear (v.)
have on one's person;
He wore a red ribbon
Synonyms: bear
wear (v.)
have in one's aspect; wear an expression of one's attitude or personality;
He always wears a smile
wear (v.)
deteriorate through use or stress;
The constant friction wore out the cloth
Synonyms: wear off / wear out / wear down / wear thin
wear (v.)
have or show an appearance of;
wear one's hair in a certain way
wear (v.)
last and be usable;
This dress wore well for almost ten years
Synonyms: hold out / endure
wear (v.)
go to pieces;
The gears wore out
Synonyms: break / wear out / bust / fall apart
wear (v.)
exhaust or get tired through overuse or great strain or stress;
We wore ourselves out on this hike
Synonyms: tire / wear upon / tire out / weary / jade / wear out / outwear / wear down / fag out / fag / fatigue
wear (v.)
put clothing on one's body;
What should I wear today?
Synonyms: put on / get into / don / assume
wear (n.)
impairment resulting from long use;
the tires showed uneven wear
wear (n.)
a covering designed to be worn on a person's body;
Synonyms: clothing / article of clothing / vesture / wearable / habiliment
wear (n.)
the act of having on your person as a covering or adornment;
she bought it for everyday wear
Synonyms: wearing
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