Skip to Content

Is Shear The Same As Sheer? When Should We Use Each One?

Is Shear The Same As Sheer? When Should We Use Each One?

The English language appears to be very simple, but there are some complications you will come across. It gets very complicated when you need to use homophones in your writings. You are probably asking the question, Is “shear” the same as “sheer”? When should you use each one?

“Shear” functions as both a verb and a noun, depending on the context you want to use it for. It means cutting, trimming, or clipping something from a whole object. “Sheer” can function either as a verb, noun, adverb, or adjective. The meaning of “sheer” is complete, utter, or thorough.

Though, there is still a lot to be learned on how to use both words correctly. We hope you are interested in understanding the nitty-gritty of the proper usage of this homophone. We have you in mind, and this article covers everything you need to know about these words.

shears cutting branch from a tree

When to and How to Use the Word “Shear” in a Sentence

We will start by discussing when and how to use the word “shear” in a sentence. To make this easier, we will look at the etymology, meaning, synonyms, and antonyms of the word. It is essential to know these because they play an essential role in the proper usage of words in every language.

When it comes to the etymology of a word, we are talking about the word’s origin, where the British coined out the word from. Many English words have their origin from French, Spanish, Latin, Greek, and Germanic words.

So, what is the origin of the word “shear”?

The word “shear” comes from the Middle English word “sheren” or “scheren” (an alternate form of sheren), which is from a Proto-West Germanic word “skeran” from a Proto-Germanic word “skeraną,” also from a Proto-Indo-European word “(s)ker-.”

On the other hand, the meaning of a word is more straightforward. It refers to what you infer when reading a sentence, and this means there is an idea a word conveys in a sentence to the reader.

Now, what is the meaning of the word “shear”?

The word “shear” has a dual function in a sentence. It can function both as a noun and as a verb. When “shear” is a verb in a sentence, it means to remove by cutting or clipping with a sharp instrument or to make something smaller or shorter using a cutting instrument. It can also mean divest, strip, or deprive of, or cause to fracture or deform by a transverse load, structural strain, or excess torsion. Another definition of “shear” is to reap farm produce using a sickle or scythe. Here are some examples of how you use “shear” as a verb in a sentence.

  1. It took the shepherds about a week to shear all the wool off the flock of sheep and goats.
  2. The bolts that held the wheels in place began to shear off due to constant use and zero maintenance.
  3. The politician had all his power and dominance sheared off after he was discovered sharing political secrets with the opposing party.
  4. When it was harvest time, the farmer and his sons began to shear off the crops using sickles.

When you use the word “shear” as a noun, it depicts equipment referred to as shears. It also means the process of cutting or trimming, or an apparatus consisting of two or more spars joined at the top and spreads at the base with the tackle suspended from the top, which is used to lift heavyweights. It can also refer to a machine used to cut rigid materials like metal in sheet form by moving the blade’s edge through it. Here are some examples of the use of this word.

  1. She was instructed not to top or shear the plant; instead, she removed the whole branches that were dead or rubbing against others.
  2. The company is known for supplying metals for construction, and they shear the metals to make them appropriate for use.

Let us take a look at the synonyms and antonyms of the word “shear.” Some of the synonyms are chip, clip, crop, cut, diminish, shave, trim, pare, prune, deform, fleece, sever, lop, remove, strip, snip, chop, detruncate, and slash. The antonyms of “shear” include attaching, elongate, protract, increase, join, fasten, bind, clamp, unite, extend, and lengthen.

white sheer curtains

When and How to Use the Word “Sheer” in a Sentence

Next up, we will look at when and how to use the word “sheer” in a sentence. As we did above, we will dive into the etymology, the meaning, the synonyms, and antonyms of the word. This is because it is the basis to appreciate best using the word in a sentence.

As stated earlier, the word’s etymology is the origin of the word, where the word is coined out from. We are diving into the old days before the establishment of modern English. The meaning of the word, on the other hand, is the idea it conveys. What comes to your mind the moment you see a word is its meaning. The synonyms of a word are other words with similar meanings with the word, while the antonyms are words with opposite meanings with a particular word.

The word “sheer” is gotten from the Middle English “shere” (alternate forms of shere are, scheere, schere, skere) from Old English “sċǣre” that was merged with a Middle English word “schyre” (variations include schire, shire, shir), this was gotten from Old English word “sċīr.” Also from the Middle English “skyr” from Old Norse “skírr.”

Next, the word “sheer” can function as either a verb, an adverb, a noun, or an adjective, as stated earlier. When we use “sheer” as an adjective, it refers to something huge, usually of weight or size. Also, it describes something very light, transparent, or delicate. It can also mean something steep or perpendicular, usually a wall or a cliff. Also used to describe something pure, complete, or not mixed with anything. It is also used for making emphasis.

When used as a verb, it means to deviate from a course or to make a sudden change of direction. It also refers to the act of moving away from or avoiding something unpleasant. When “sheer” is used as an adverb, it means something is complete, utter, or thorough. Also refers to something with a very steep slope. As a noun, the word “sheer” means a diaphanous or excellent article or fabric.

We will talk about all the synonyms of “sheer” as a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb.

The synonyms of “sheer” include absolute, perfect, thorough, patent, unmixed, unadulterated, unmitigated, vertiginous, bluff, abrupt, sharp, steep, transparent, translucent, swing, slew, diaphanous, detour, diverge, swerve, absolute, altogether, quite, precipitous, and pellucid. The antonyms of “sheer” include opaque, doubtful, uncertain, even, horizontal, flat, gradual, straighten, moderate, slow, impermeable, thick, and indefinite.

Here are some examples that depict the use of the word “sheer” in a sentence.

  1. To make a life for oneself in this world requires hard work, loyalty, resilience, and sheer determination.
  2. The tour became the stuff of legends when the guide walked us out the other end and stopped before a sheer cliff wall.
  3. Access into the compound looked impossible with the sheer walls on either side of the building.
  4. Each room is separated by walls of white sheers and incorporated fabric samples from the exhibitors.
  5. The main reason there has been a lot of failed raiding is the gunfire threat that causes raiders to sheer off.
  6. Her mind sheered away from images she did not want to dwell on.

Understanding the Difference Between Both Words

As we have seen in the explanation on when to and how to use both words in a sentence. There is a straightforward thing you will notice, both words are very similar in spellings and pronunciation, but they are different and cannot be used interchangeably.

Some differences you need to take note of when using these words are: they are spelled the same way except for an “A” in “shear” as opposed to the “E” in “sheer.” As a verb, “shear” means to cut, trim, or clip, while “sheer” means to swerve suddenly from a course. As a noun, “shear” is a cutting tool like scissors but more extensive, while “sheer” refers to a fine article or fabric.

final thoughts sign hand written

Final Thoughts

Communicating in the English language should be fun for everyone. Though homophones are one of the complexities of the English language, you do not need to be bothered anymore. We have discussed everything you need to know about the correct usage of the words “shear” and “sheer.” So read up and have fun.