Ben has held a life-long interest in language and has a particular interest in the expressions, phrases, and idioms that contribute to it.
15 Bear Idioms and Phrases Explained
The English language contains a wide range of idioms and phrases that have their origins in people's observations and interactions with the Bear.
Many of the idioms related to bears, express the strength and brutishness of these magnificent animals. Yet it is perhaps a little strange that as children, we often have a different opinion of these creatures, seeing them as cuddly, cute, and sweet.
A Collection of Bear Idioms and Phrases
As Busy as a Hibernating Bear
1. To be as busy as a hibernating Bear.
Meaning: to suggest that someone is not at all busy.
Example sentence: "Tom says that he has no time to help out at the party, but I know he is off work that day, he is about as busy as a hibernating bear.”
A Bear Hug
2. To give someone a Bear hug.
Meaning: to put your arms around someone and hug them tightly in a show of affection.
Example sentence: "He put his arms around tightly around me and gave me a huge bear hug."
A Bear for Punishment
3. To be a Bear for punishment.
Meaning: to stand rough treatment. A way of saying that someone is rugged or tough.
Example sentence: "Tony is a tough guy; he is a real bear for punishment."
4. To be in a Bear Market.
Meaning: a Bear Market is a period when investors are feeling pessimistic, and as a consequence, they are more likely to sell rather than buy shares.
Example sentence: "I should have sold those shares earlier, I knew it was a bear market."
Bears: Always Ready to Stand Their Ground
Loaded for Bear
5. Are you up for this? Are you loaded For Bear?
Meaning: a way of saying that someone is ready for a fight. In a rage.
Example sentence: "They are armed to the teeth, they sure are loaded for bear."
To Bear Up
6. Don't be downhearted. You need to Bear up.
Meaning: a way of saying that you should remain in high spirits, even if things are not going well for you.
Example sentence: "Joey is bearing up well. Especially when you consider what she is going through."
To Grin and Bear Video
To Grin and Bear It
7. I know it's tough. But sometimes we just need to grin and bear it.
Meaning: to say that someone should put up with or endure something unpleasant with good humour.
Example Sentence: "I don't like having to do this anymore than you do, but I will just have to grin and bear it."
To Have a Bear By The Tail.
8. I've got this Bear by the tail.
This phrase suggests that a person has a significant or difficult decision to make.
Example Sentence: "I know that you find this a difficult thing to do, but you simply have to grab the bear by its tail and get it done."
Slick as Bear Grease.
9. He is as slick as Bear grease.
Meaning: that a person is a slick and smooth operator.
Like a Bear with a Sore Head
10. To be like a Bear with a sore head.
Meaning: to say that someone is in a lousy mood and mistreating others.
Example Sentence: "I don't know what's up with you this morning; you're like a bear with a sore head."
A Bear Poll
I'm as Hungry as a Bear for More Idioms
12. Hungry as a Bear
Meaning: to be starving.
Example sentence: "I am ravenous this morning; I'm as hungry as a bear."
Gruff as a Bear
13. Oh my! Your as gruff as a Bear.
Meaning: to say that someone is unsociable or speaks in a very abrupt rude way.
Example sentence: "I'm annoyed with Anthony. He never says good morning or acknowledges me; he's as gruff as a bear most days."
Take the Bear by the Tooth
14. Have you got what it takes to take a Bear by the tooth?
This statement expresses the view that you have put yourself in a dangerous position.
Example sentence: "I know the snowfall made the roads treacherous, but I just took the bear by the tooth and drove anyhow."
Take the Bear by the Tooth
As Cranky as a Bear with a Sore Paw.
15. To be as cranky as a Bear with a sore paw.
Meaning: to suggest that a person is very irritable.
Can You Bear to Watch This?
JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA from Nairobi on November 06, 2020:
As busy as hibernating bear caught my attention! Sounds ridiculous. Good work sir.
Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 17, 2018:
Thank you Asher for your comment. I will certainly try to address your request.
Asher Kabeer from Rawalakot on June 17, 2018:
Great work. you should also add sentences of every idiom.
goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on August 28, 2013:
Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 06, 2013:
@MaryMitchell: Thanks for your visit and comment - very much appreciated.
MaryMitchell on March 05, 2013:
Bears are great and no danger to anyone, until we invade their space as we do with so many wild animals!
Pangionedevelopers on February 09, 2012:
Great info here, I just went through your last 5 sites and I like'd them all
David P here
mermaidlife on November 29, 2011:
Bear in mind or is it - bear in mind. or how about bear necessities or is it - bare necessities. oh well I tried.
anonymous on October 15, 2011:
I don't think I've ever heard "As busy as a hibernating bear" before, it certainly does paint a picture!