First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Bear

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Bear mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Bear

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
verb Bear
  1. To support or sustain; to hold up.
  2. To support and remove or carry; to convey."I 'll bear your logs the while." [Shak.]
  3. To conduct; to bring; -- said of persons.(Obs)" Bear them to my house." [Shak.]
  4. To possess and use, as power; to exercise."Every man should bear rule in his own house." [Esther i. 22.]
  5. To sustain; to have on (written or inscribed, or as a mark), as, the tablet bears this inscription.
  6. To possess or carry, as a mark of authority or distinction; to wear; as, to bear a sword, badge, or name.
  7. To possess mentally; to carry or hold in the mind; to entertain; to harbor"The ancient grudge I bear him." [Shak.]
  8. To endure; to tolerate; to undergo; to suffer."Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne." [Pope.]"I cannot bear The murmur of this lake to hear." [Shelley.]"My punishment is greater than I can bear." [Gen. iv. 13.]
  9. To gain or win.(Obs)"Some think to bear it by speaking a great word." [Bacon.]"She was . . . found not guilty, through bearing of friends and bribing of the judge." [Latimer.]
  10. To sustain, or be answerable for, as blame, expense, responsibility, etc."He shall bear their iniquities." [Is. liii. 11.]"Somewhat that will bear your charges." [Dryden.]
  11. To render or give; to bring forward."Your testimony bear " [Dryden.]
  12. To carry on, or maintain; to have."The credit of bearinga part in the conversation." [Locke.]
  13. To admit or be capable of; that is, to suffer or sustain without violence, injury, or change."In all criminal cases the most favorable interpretation should be put on words that they can possibly bear." [Swift.]
  14. To manage, wield, or direct."Thus must thou thy body bear."Shak.To behave; to conduct."Hath he borne himself penitently in prison?" [Shak.]
  15. To afford; to be to; to supply with."His faithful dog shall bear him company." [Pope.]
  16. To bring forth or produce; to yield; as, to bear apples; to bear children; to bear interest."Here dwelt the man divine whom Samos bore." [Dryden.]
    synonyms: To uphold; sustain; maintain; support; undergo; suffer; endure; tolerate; carry; convey; transport; waft.

Note: ☞ In the passive form of this verb, the best modern usage restricts the past participle born to the sense of brought forth, while borne is used in the other senses of the word. In the active form, borne alone is used as the past participle.

Etymology: OE. beren, AS. beran beoran, to bear, carry, produce; akin to D. baren to bring forth, G. gebären, Goth. baíran to bear or carry, Icel. bera, Sw. bära, Dan. bære, OHG. beran peran, L. ferre to bear, carry, produce, Gr. fe`rein, OSlav. brati to take, carry, OIr. berim I bear, Skr. bhṛ to bear. √92. Cf. Fertile

verb Bear
  1. To produce, as fruit; to be fruitful, in opposition to barrenness."This age to blossom, and the next to bear." [Dryden.]
  2. To suffer, as in carrying a burden."But man is born to bear." [Pope.]
  3. To endure with patience; to be patient."I can not, can not bear." [Dryden.]
  4. To press; -- with on or upon, or against."These men bear hard on the suspected party." [Addison.]
  5. To take effect; to have influence or force; as, to bring matters to bear .
  6. To relate or refer; -- with on or upon; as, how does this bear on the question?
  7. To have a certain meaning, intent, or effect."Her sentence bore that she should stand a certain time upon the platform." [Hawthorne.]
  8. To be situated, as to the point of compass, with respect to something else; as, the land bears N. by E.
noun Bear
A bier.
noun Bear
  1. [Zoöl] Any species of the genus Ursus, and of the closely allied genera. Bears are plantigrade Carnivora, but they live largely on fruit and insects.
  2. [Zoöl] An animal which has some resemblance to a bear in form or habits, but no real affinity; as, the woolly bear; ant bear; water bear; sea bear.
  3. [Astron] One of two constellations in the northern hemisphere, called respectively the Great Bear and the Lesser Bear, or Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
  4. Metaphorically: A brutal, coarse, or morose person.
  5. [Stock Exchange] A person who sells stocks or securities for future delivery in expectation of a fall in the market.
  6. [Mach] A portable punching machine.
  7. [Naut] A block covered with coarse matting; -- used to scour the deck.

Note: The European brown bear (Ursus arctos), the white polar bear (Ursus maritimus), the grizzly bear (Ursus horribilis), the American black bear, and its variety the cinnamon bear (Ursus Americanus), the Syrian bear (Ursus Syriacus), and the sloth bear, are among the notable species.

Note: ☞ The bears and bulls of the Stock Exchange, whose interest it is, the one to depress, and the other to raise, stocks, are said to be so called in allusion to the bear's habit of pulling down, and the bull's of tossing up.

Etymology: OE. bere, AS. bera; akin to D. beer, OHG. bero pero, G. bär, Icel. & Sw. björn, and possibly to L. fera wild beast, Gr. fh`r beast, Skr. bhalla bear

verb Bear
To endeavor to depress the price of, or prices in; as, to bear a railroad stock; to bear the market.
Barley; the six-rowed barley or the four-rowed barley, commonly the former (Hordeum hexastichon or Hordeum vulgare).

Etymology: AS. bere. See Barley

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Massive plantigrade carnivorous or omnivorous mammals with long shaggy coats and strong claws
  2. An investor with a pessimistic market outlook; an investor who expects prices to fall and so sells now in order to buy later at a lower price
  3. Have on one's person ("bear a scar")
  4. Cause to be born
  5. Be pregnant with ("She is bearing his child")
  6. Put up with something or somebody unpleasant ("I cannot bear his constant criticism")
  7. Move while holding up or supporting ("Bear gifts", "bear a heavy load", "bear news", and "bearing orders")
  8. Support or hold in a certain manner
  9. Bring forth
  10. Bring in ("interest-bearing accounts")
  11. Take on as one's own the expenses or debts of another person ("She agreed to bear the responsibility")
  12. Have rightfully; of rights, titles, and offices ("She bears the title of Duchess")
  13. Behave in a certain manner
  14. Have ("bear a resemblance" and "bear a signature")
  15. Contain or hold; have within
  1. A surname​.

Notable Persons Named Bear

Bear Grylls is a chief scout, adventurer, author, motivational speaker, television presenter, chief scout (the scout association), and adventure. Bear was given the name Edward Michael Grylls by his parent Michael Grylls on June 7th, 1974 in Donaghadee.


Bear Bryant was a college coach. Bear was born on September 11th, 1913 in Cleveland County, Arkansas. He passed away on January 26th, 1983.


Bear McCreary is a film score and orchestra composer. He has been prominent since 1998. Bear was born on February 17th, 1979 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States.


Bear Woods is an athlete for the Montreal Alouettes. Bear was born on January 22nd, 1987.



Notable Persons With the Last Name Bear



Panda Bear is a musician and songwriter. He plays Drum kit, Sampler (musical instrument), Guitar, Synthesizer, Minimoog Voyager, Elektron (company), Roland SP-303, Teenage Engineering OP-1, JoMoX, and Vocals. His ongoing career started in 1998. Panda was given the name Noah Benjamin Lennox on July 17th, 1978 in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States.


Bedtime Bear is a fictional character.


Smokey Bear is a fictional character.


Fozzie Bear is a stand-up comedy.


How popular is the baby name Bear in the U.S.?

Click Here to Show Chart Data
Year Total Babies Born Girls Born Boys Born
1975 6 0 6
1981 5 0 5
1997 6 0 6
2000 6 0 6
2001 8 0 8
2002 6 0 6
2003 7 0 7
2005 10 0 10
2006 8 0 8
2007 24 0 24
2008 48 0 48
2009 55 0 55
2010 54 0 54
2011 85 0 85
2012 79 0 79
2013 84 0 84
2014 131 0 131
2015 134 0 134
2016 187 0 187
2017 196 0 196

Where is the name Bear popular?

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Popularity of Bear as a first name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Bear as a first name in each of the states. See other popular names in California, Texas, or Florida.

Popularity of Bear as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Bear as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Pennsylvania, Illinois, or California.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Bear U.S.
  White 78.05% 64.26%
  African American 0.91% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 2.85% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 10.53% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 2.84% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 4.82% 16.26%

Of Last Name Bear

People with the last name Bear are most frequently White or American Indian and Alaska Native

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Bear

  • How Popular is the name Bear? Bear is the 9,714th most popular name of all time. As a last name Bear was the 4,308th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Bear have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 1,139 babies born with the first name Bear in the United States. That's more than enough people named Bear to occupy the territory of Niue (New Zealand) with an estimated population of 1,000 (as of July 1, 2012).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Bear? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1975 when it was given as a first name to 6 new born babies.
  • When was Bear first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Bear is Friday, March 17th, 1871.
  • What year had the most people named Bear born? The highest recorded use of the first name Bear was in 2017 with a total of 196 babies.
  • Random Bear Factoid: According to the 2016 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name Bear is not a popular baby boy's name in New York. Imagine that, only 6 babies in New York have the same name as you in 2016.
  • Weird things about the name Bear: Your name in reverse order is Raeb. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Rabe. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Bear? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 8,252 people with the last name Bear.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Bear? If you manage to meet 100,000 people in your life, chances are that 3 of them will have Bear as their last name.

What Bears Have Visited This Page?

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.