bear down

Idioms & Phrases

bear down

  1. Press or weigh down on someone or something. For example, This pen doesn't write unless you bear down hard on it. [Late 1600s]

  2. Try hard, intensify one's efforts, as in If you'll just bear down, you'll pass the test.

  3. Move forward in a pressing or threatening way, as in The ferry bore down on our little skiff. This usage was originally nautical. [Early 1700s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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