before 900; Middle English beren, Old English beran;
cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German beran, Dutch baren, Old Frisian, Old Norse bera, Gothic bairan, German
)bären, Russian berët
(he) takes, Albanian bie, Tocharian pär-,
(he) brings, Latin ferre, Old Irish berid
(he) carries, Armenian berem, Greek phérein, Sanskrit bhárati, Avestan baraiti;
< Indo-European *bher-
uphold, sustain. 4.
thrust, drive, force. 10.
brook, abide, suffer. Bear, stand, endure
refer to supporting the burden of something distressing, irksome, or painful. Bear
are close synonyms and have a general sense of withstanding: to bear a disappointment well; to stand a loss. Endure
implies continued resistance and patience in bearing through a long time: to endure torture.
Since the latter part of the 18th century, a distinction has been made between born
as past participles of the verb bear1
is the past participle in all senses that do not refer to physical birth: The wheatfields have borne abundantly this year. Judges have always borne a burden of responsibility. Borne
is also the participle when the sense is “to bring forth (young)” and the focus is on the mother rather than on the child. In such cases, borne
is preceded by a form of have
or followed by by: Anna had borne a son the previous year. Two children borne by her earlier were already grown.
When the focus is on the offspring or on something brought forth as if by birth, born
is the standard spelling, and it occurs only in passive constructions: My friend was born in Ohio. No children have been born at the South Pole. A strange desire was born of the tragic experience. Born
is also an adjective meaning “by birth,” “innate,” or “native”: born free; a born troublemaker; Mexican-born.