shear


shear
shear vb Shear, poll, clip, trim, prune, lop, snip, crop are comparable when they mean to cut off something (as a piece, an excrescence, or a limb).
Shear is the most general word of this group; it usually implies the use of a sharp cutting instrument (as shears, a razor, or a sharp knife) and, as its result, a close and even or a clean cut through, or off, or away, or from something. The term may or may not imply injury and suggests improvement more often than destruction
{

a machine with blades strong enough to shear a steel bar at one stroke

}
{

shear the fleece from sheep

}
{

each year he sheared his sheep

}
{

a shark's curved razor-like teeth shear cleanly through the bone— Heiser

}
Poll implies the cutting of the hair as closely as if shaved; in this sense the verb seldom takes the person as its object, but the part affected
{

David . . . was in such grief that he had not polled his head— Whiston

}
{

monks with polled crowns

}
It sometimes refers to the cutting off of the top or head of trees (as willows), often in order to provide new growth suitable for basketry, but sometimes in order to encourage the throwing out of branches from below
{

there were some beautiful willows, and now the idiot Parson has polled them into wretched stumps— Morris

}
Clip suggests a cutting evenly or closely without any indication of how much or how little is cut off
{

clipped her little son's curls

}
{

clipped the shrubs into elaborate forms

}
{

clip an article from a newspaper

}
Trim (see also STABILIZE) always implies the removal of something unwanted or overlong by or as if by cutting or clipping in order to improve the appearance of a thing, or to adjust it to something, or to prepare it for a definite use
{

trim a straggly hedge

}
{

trimmed his hair and beard

}
{

trim the rough edges from a piece of cloth

}
{

what was not trimmed from our pages by an editor's nudge was given away in the hagglings of publisher and author— Mailer

}
Prune implies a trimming of a plant (as a tree or shrub) by cutting out superfluous parts (as dead branches) not only to improve its shape but to promote its growth or bearing
{

prune the rosebushes in the garden

}
Consequently prune in broader use implies a cutting down or out or excision so as to remove useless or needless material (as in written matter)
{

prune a manuscript before sending it off to the printer

}
{

a good personal library, like a tree, must be pruned occasionally to stay healthy— advt

}
Lop implies a cutting off or away by or as if by an axe, especially of what is superfluous; typically it suggests pruning and the removal of dead or unnecessary branches or boughs, but it may suggest the similar removal of something that may be regarded as improperly associated or as an excrescence, a nuisance, or an interference Superfluous branches we lop away, that bearing boughs may live— Shak.}
{

Virginia, even after Maryland had been lopped off, remained a dominion of imperial extent— Morison

}
Snip, like clip, may imply the employment of scissors, but it may also suggest the use of sharp fingernails or of any other instrument by which a part may be pinched or cut off; it differs from clip in emphasizing suddenness and quickness in movement. It, therefore, often suggests a cutting off of a small piece at a time or a cutting into bits
{

snip off a loose thread

}
{

snip the dead flowers from a plant

}
{

the child, with its newfound toy, a pair of scissors, was snipping the newspaper into pieces

}
Crop, in most of its meanings, implies the cutting off of the top (as of a tree or grass), but when it emphasizes that implication, it usually suggests the cutting off of a piece at the top (as for identification or punishment) or a cutting extremely close (as of the hair)
{

the stiff-necked sectaries . . . who had been glad to stand in pillories and suffer their ears to be cropped rather than put bread in the mouths of priests— Brooks

}
{

his hair . . . had been cropped by the prison barber— Yeats

}
Analogous words: *cut, slit, slash, hew: split, rive, cleave (see TEAR)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shear — Shear, n. [AS. sceara. See {Shear}, v. t.] 1. A pair of shears; now always used in the plural, but formerly also in the singular. See {Shears}. [1913 Webster] On his head came razor none, nor shear. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Short of the wool, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Shear — (sh[=e]r), v. t. [imp. {Sheared}or {Shore};p. p. {Sheared} or {Shorn}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Shearing}.] [OE. sheren, scheren, to shear, cut, shave, AS. sceran, scieran, scyran; akin to D. & G. scheren, Icel. skera, Dan. ski?re, Gr. ???. Cf. {Jeer},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shear´er — shear «shihr», verb, sheared or (Archaic) shore, sheared or shorn, shear|ing, noun. –v.t. 1. to cut with shears or scissors, especially in order to remove (wool or fleece): »to shear wool from sheep …   Useful english dictionary

  • Shear — ist der Name folgender Personen: Rhonda Shear (* 1954), US amerikanische Schauspielerin und Moderatorin Tom Shear (* 1971), US amerikanischer Sänger und Musiker Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrere …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • shear — [ʃıə US ʃır] v past tense sheared past participle sheared or shorn [ʃo:n US ʃo:rn] [T] [: Old English; Origin: scieran] 1.) to cut the wool off a sheep 2.) literary to cut off someone s hair ▪ Her long fair hair had been shorn …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • shear — (v.) O.E. sceran, scieran (class IV strong verb; past tense scear, pp. scoren), from P.Gmc. *sker to cut (Cf. O.N., O.Fris. skera, Du. scheren, Ger. scheren to shear ), from PIE * (s)ker to cut, to scrape, to hack (Cf. Skt. krnati hurts, wounds,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Shear — Shear, v. i. 1. To deviate. See {Sheer}. [1913 Webster] 2. (Engin.) To become more or less completely divided, as a body under the action of forces, by the sliding of two contiguous parts relatively to each other in a direction parallel to their… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shear — shear, sheer Shear is a verb meaning ‘to remove by cutting’ or ‘to cut the wool off (a sheep)’, and has the past form sheared and the past participle shorn or (in the context of metal cutting) sheared. Sheer is an adjective describing a steep… …   Modern English usage

  • shear — ► VERB (past part. shorn or sheared) 1) cut the wool off (a sheep or other animal). 2) cut off with scissors or shears. 3) (be shorn of) be deprived or stripped of. 4) break off or cause to break off, owing to a structural strain. ► …   English terms dictionary

  • Shear — Shear. См. скол. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов