Word of the Day


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Origin of the word

Burning its way through the English language, sear first appeared in Old English as ‘sēarian’ and ‘sēar’ and in Middle English as ‘seren’; these terms meant ‘to wither’ or ‘to dry’. Indeed, sear is the less common spelling of sere, a literary adjective meaning ‘dry’ or ‘withered’. When referring to the small mechanism in firearms, however, the noun sear derives from the Middle French ‘serre’, referring to a grip, and the term ‘serrer’, which meant ‘to lock up’, or ‘to close’. This, in turn, was derived from the Latin ‘serāre’, which meant ‘to bar’.


“Or if you are very lucky, it can be a way to sear your brand’s image into the minds of millions of motorsport fans around the world for generations to come.” – The Southland Times, Monday 28th August 2017: The most iconic racing liveries of all time.

“And if you can relate to the fact that chicken is on the menu most nights of the week — who can help that chicken breasts are so affordable and simple? — then you’ll appreciate this quick rundown of how to perfectly pan sear chicken.” – Pop Sugar, Sunday 27th August 2017: The foolproof method for perfectly pan searing chicken breasts.

“Both videos clearly show the pistol’s trigger travelling rearward under inertia, suggesting that the mass of the trigger when jarred is causing it to move enough to trip the pistol’s sear.” – The National Interest, Saturday 12th August 2017: The U.S. Army’s new handgun is in big trouble.


1: to burn or char an object or surface with extreme heat
2: the process of marking with a hot iron or branding iron
3: a method of cooking that applies heat to a piece of meat for a short period of time to ensure that it retains its juices
4: a sudden or unpleasant effect that one can have over another’s emotions or attitudes
5: to become imprinted on one’s memory
6: to dry up, parch or wither
7: the name given to a burn, mark or scar made by the process of searing
8: an integral part of a small arms weapon, which holds the hammer at full or half cock

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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