Bear with me vs. Bare with me – How to Pick the Correct Word
You want someone to bear with you, but you’re not sure how to spell it—bare with me or bear with me? Does it matter? It should matter because only one of these spellings is correct in this phrase.
Short and Sweet: Bear with me vs. Bare with me
Bear and bare are different words.
- Bear is the correct spelling for bear with me. It is used in this phrase in the sense of “enduring” or “bearing a burden.”
- Bare means “to reveal.” This meaning doesn’t make any sense in the phrase “bare with me.”
This article further explores these definitions and when to use bear or bare, giving more insight to the phrase bear with me. Also included is a tip for how to remember to use the spelling bear instead of bare in this context.
What Does Bear with me Mean?
Meaning of Bear with me: Bear is a verb meaning to endure. This verb has a homonym, the noun bear, which means a large mammal that likes to eat honey. Despite the identical spelling, that definition is unrelated to the verbs bear and bare.
Bear means to carry, support, or yield.
- People use donkeys and pack horses to bear their luggage. > carry, support
- A pregnant woman is bearing a child. > carry, yield
- The farmland can bear > support, yield
Bear can also mean to carry or support emotional weight.
- This is horrible, I can’t bear to watch.
- The pain is too much to bear.
This second meaning translates into “enduring something unpleasant.” If I were to ask you to bear with me, I would be asking you to endure my words or actions. In other words, be patient with me, hear me out, or stick with me.
- This is my first time doing this, so bear with me if I make mistakes. > be patient
- I know it’s a long story, but bear with me. > be patient, hear me out
- Thanks for bearing with me all this time, for better or for worse. > stay with me
What Does Bare with me Mean?
Meaning of Bare with me: Bare with me is not a phrase. Bare can be a verb or an adjective, and as either of these parts of speech, bare means something is uncovered, unmasked, unclothed, or revealed.
- Don’t approach a dog if it bares its teeth. > uncovered, revealed
- Please listen to me, I’m baring my soul to you! > unmasked, revealed
- The sun feels good on my bare > uncovered, unclothed
- I like to walk on the beach with bare > unclothed
If bare with me were a phrase, it would literally mean to uncover something together, but it is not used in that way.
Bare with me vs. Bear with me: How to Remember the Difference
Bare is the more rare spelling. It is used less frequently than bear. Unless you mean “uncover,” don’t use bare—especially not in the phrase bear with me.
Another way to remember is that if I ask you to bear with me, I need your patience because I’m about to be a pain in the rear!
Recap: When to Use Bear with me and Bare with me
So, when should you use bear with me or bare with me?
Always use bear with me. This is the correct way to spell the phrase that means “be patient with me.” Bear is a verb that means “to endure” or “to carry a burden.”
Never use bare with me. Bare is a verb or noun that means “to uncover” or “uncovered.”