Thursday, October 07, 2010

Shear or Sheer?


Do not confuse the spelling of shear and sheer, which sound similar. 

Shear is chiefly used as a verb, meaning "remove something with a sharp tool," "deprive somebody of something valuable" (as in shear them of their self-respect), or "deform or break by a twisting force": The head of the bolt has sheared off. Shears is a plural noun denoting a cutting tool. 

The most commonly used word spelled sheer is chiefly used as an adjective, meaning "complete and utter," "vertical," or "thin and almost transparent" (as in sheer folly, a sheer drop, sheer fabric). Another sheer is primarily a verb, meaning "swerve from a course": The boat sheered away, narrowly avoiding a collision. A third sheer is a nautical term referring to the upward curve of a boat's hull.

No comments: