Bare and Bear are homophones – words that sound the same but have different meanings. Bear vs Bare can get even more confusing when they’re used in idioms, as the individual meanings of the words aren’t as clear, so it isn’t easy to know which one to use!
Bare with Me or Bear with Me?
✅ Bear with me is correct
‘Be patient with me’ or ‘wait a moment’. (Polite)
- Bear with me while I find your file.
- If you could just bear with me one second, I’ll go and call her.
Bear in Mind or Bare in Mind?
✅ Bear in mind
To have something on your mind – to remember, think about or consider.
- Bear in mind that you have to wake up early tomorrow.
- You should bear in mind that I’ve never done this before.
More idioms with Bear
Bear down on
Move towards someone or something very fast, usually in a threatening way.
- The police were bearing down on the thieves as they neared the port.
- The storm was bearing down on the East of the country over the weekend.
- The attacker was bearing down on the defender, ready to take his shot.
Bear down on Synonyms
- Close in on
- Move in on
Bear a resemblance to
Look similar to (someone or something)
- Your daughter bears a resemblance to you.
- That tree bears a strong resemblance to the one that’s in my garden.
Bare can be used as an adjective, meaning:
- not covered
- without its usual contents or coverings
- a small amount
Bare can also be used as a verb, meaning:
- to uncover
Bare meaning as an Adjective
1. (a person or part of the body) Not covered, or without clothes.
Bare doesn’t have positive or negative connotations. Usually used for parts of the body that are usually covered e.g. legs, chest.
- He was bare from the waist up.
- She loved feeling the sand beneath her bare feet.
- It was a summer wedding so all the women had bare legs.
- She wondered if she should cover her bare shoulders in church.
- He tried not to stare at her bare chest as he walked past her on the beach.
- She knew she would get a cold because her feet were bare and she couldn’t find her slippers.
You wouldn’t usually use bare hands/ arms to mean not covered unless it’s a situation where your hands/ arms would usually be covered.
- He picked the ring out of the fire with his bare hands.
- She started scraping ice of her car with her bare hands.
Bare face often means ‘without makeup’ or ‘without a beard’.
- She showed off her bare face, and natural hair to fight against the makeup culture we live in today.
- I used to hate my bare face because of skin problems and acne.
However, when used as one word,
Barefaced means shameless or bold.
Usually it’s used with ‘lie’ – a barefaced lie, which means a lie a person tells without trying to disguise that it’s a lie. It can be written as one word or with a dash – barefaced or bare-faced.
- But Internet detectives think they have dug up stone-cold proof that this is a barefaced lie.
- He knew where she’d been, which made the barefaced lie she told that much worse.
As a synonym for bare in this context, you can sometimes use the usual covering (e.g. a shirt) + less (meaning without):
- His shirtless chest.
- She went trouserless all day.
Negative connotations, meaning ‘with no clothes on’. Usually used when the part of the body should not be seen, or is shown inappropriately.
- His exposed chest drew the attention of the Queen.
Usually used after the verb ‘to be’, and not usually used to talk about clothes, but rather when something is not covered by a blanket or sheet.
- Her feet were uncovered as they lay in bed.
Used only when someone has no clothes on at all.
- I saw a naked man running down the street yesterday.
Used negatively, usually to mean ‘not enough clothes’
- She felt unclothed in her short skirt and crop top.
More formal way to say ‘naked’. Only used when the person is wearing no clothes at all.
- She was undressed and was getting into the shower when he called.
2. Without anything, Empty
Bare can be used to mean without the usual contents:
- She went to get a snack but the cupboard was bare.
- They hadn’t been shopping in weeks, so the fridge was bare.
- She walked into her new bedroom but it was bare apart from a tiny bed.
or without the usual covering:
- All the trees are bare in winter after their leaves have fallen off.
- The sheets were in the wash, so their bed was bare.
- She shouted at him to use a placemat when he put his hot mug on the bare table.
As a synonym for bare in this context, you can sometimes use the usual covering (e.g. leaves) + less (meaning without):
can sometimes be used as a synonym for bare, as it means ‘with nothing in between’. However, it can only be used when the sentence contains another object that is being placed on or against a bare surface that is usually covered.
- She shouted at him to use a placemat when he put his hot mug directly on the table.
- She lay down directly on the mattress.
3. Only just enough / basic and simple
Bare can often mean only just enough or basic and simple:
- He only took the bare essentials when he went camping.
- She studied the bare minimum needed to pass the test.
- The bare necessities of life are good company and enough food on the table.
Synonyms of Bare
Bare meaning as a Verb
To expose / show something – usually something that’s kept hidden.
Past tense: bore.
- He wasn’t embarrassed to bare his scar for all to see.
- She took his shirt off to bear his chest to the audience.
- She bore her new tattoo proudly, even though she knew her mum wouldn’t approve.
- Strip off
To ‘bear all’ can either mean to show your whole naked body, or to tell your secrets in detail.
- She has promised that she will bare all in her next interview with the magazine.
- The firemen bore all in their naked calendar for next year.
- Open up (She opened up about why she hadn’t been around lately.)
- Spill the beans (He spilled the beans on what had been going on in their relationship recently.)
- Confide in (They confided in me about their hospital visits.)
Bear can be used as a verb, meaning:
- to carry
- to support the weight of
Bear can be used as a noun, meaning:
- a large furry animal
Bear meaning as a Noun
A large, carnivorous, furry mammal with a short tail and rounded ears.
- Panda bears live in China and eat bamboo.
- Black bears are the most common type of bear in North America.
- Brown bears live in Canada and catch salmon as they swim up the river.
- Did you know that polar bears have black skin, even though their fur is white?
- Spectacled bears live in the Andes and are the only surviving species of bear in South America.
Bear meaning as a Verb
Past tense: bore / born
1. To carry (formal)
- He was bearing his suitcase when she saw him rushing through the station.
- She walked towards him bearing a tray stacked with plates.
- He bore a doctor’s note that meant he would be able to go straight home.
2. To support the weight of (often a situation)
- She bore the whole weight of the family’s money problems.
- I can’t bear it anymore! It’s all too much!
- She couldn’t bear the tension any more so she came out and said it.
- Take (She couldn’t take the tension anymore)
3. To give birth (formal and old fashioned)
- She bore four children in the space of six years.
- She’d already born eight children when she decided that was enough.