1. senses based on the bear’s appearance or perceived characteristics.
(a) a gruff, irritable person; amplified in phr. a bear with a sore head.
|Barnabees Journal II L2: There the Beares were come to Town-a; / Two rude Hunks, ’tis troth I tell ye.|
|‘A New Dialogue’ in Bagford Ballads (1878) I 70: Go, go, you are a silly Bear.|
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy II 104: In Youth a nauseous flashy Fop, in elder years a Bear.|
|High Life Below Stairs I iii: Ye drunken Bears, why don’t one of you go to the Door.|
|Mayor of Garrat in Works (1799) I 182: Fye, Mr. Bruin, how can you be such a bear: is that a manner of treating your wife?|
|John Bull III ii: You Irish bear.|
|Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 130: Master Broughton, then you are a bear to-day.|
|Peter Simple (1911) 10: You’re like a young bear, all your sorrows to come.|
|Barry Lyndon (1905) 217: I always thought their great chief a great bear [...] misbehaving himself most grossly.|
|(con. 1843) White-Jacket (1990) 338: ‘You are an old bear, gunner’s mate,’ said Jack Chase.|
|Tralee Chron. (Co. Kerry) 8 July 2/6: Need I tell you that it is the Kerry Evening Post (groans)? Twas always said that the ‘Calf’ was in bad humour. He is not a calf this morning, but like a bear with a sore head (cheers and laughter).|
|Facey Romford’s Hounds 178: There was a great desire to see Mr Romford in a room. Some said he was a bear, others that he was a beau.|
|S. London Chron. 12 May 6/1: I have made it up with poor old Joe. All last week he was as savage asa bear with a sore head.|
|Royal Cornwall Gaz. 22 Mar. 6/2: Even then he was not contented, but roared out on me more like a bear with a sore head.|
|Term of His Natural Life (1897) 48: I’ll get the laudanum for you [...] You shan’t ask that bear for it.|
|Sheffield Eve. Teleg. 17 Oct. 4/3: At last he got out, as naked as Adam [...] and as savage as a bear with a sore head.|
|Punch 25 Apr. 201: The ‘Cony’ is feeble, the Bear’s a rough bore.|
|Hartlepool Mail 4 Apr. 1/4: That young Irishman would talk a bear with a sore head into an amiable humour.|
|Omaha Dly Bee (NE) 9 Aug. 25/3: One man walks over another who is sleeping and wakes him up, as cross as a bear with a sore head.|
|S.F. Call 29 Oct. 5/2: Dr Herrick is as cross as a bear with a sore head.|
|DN III:viii 547: cross as a bear with a sore head, adj. phr. Very cross or angry.‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Dec. 47/1: It is a shame she spoiled her life / With such a perfect bear. / And yet she seems quite satisfied / With this peculiar man; / And says, with rather foolish pride, / He is Bohemian.|
|Anderby Wold (1981) 39: ’E’s been like a bear wi’ a sore head ever since his missus hasn’t been well like.|
|Sister of the Road (1975) 82: Do you mean to say you didn’t swipe anything from that old bear.|
|Sad Cypress (1954) 143: Made her father wild, that did. He was like a bear with a sore head about it.|
|Death of a Barrow Boy 187: Oh, ’e’s laid up, duck. No, just one of ’is turns. Ooh, like a bear with a sore ’ead.|
|Picture Post (advert for Horlicks) 26 Mar. 26: Darling, you’re becoming a regular old bear! [...] It’s this tiredness of yours.|
|Maori Girl 178: You get around like a bear with a sore head, growl at everything, nothing’s right.|
|CUSS 77: Bear A strong, often offensive male.et al.|
(b) (US) someone who overworks their employees or students, a hard taskmaster/mistress; see also bear for, a
|DN IV:iii 231: bear, n. [...] A professor who ‘overworks’ his students.‘College Sl. Words And Phrases’ in|
|AS XXXVIII:3 167: A bear at Western Reserve is a professor who overworks his students.‘Kansas University Sl.: A New Generation’ in|
(c) (US black) a particularly ugly person, man or woman.
|Jive and Sl. n.p.: Boggie Bear ... Ugly man, or woman.|
|Times (Munster, IN) 19 Jan. 56/1: Slang keeps changing to keep up [...] ‘Bear’ — Ugly girl.|
|Third Ear n.p.: bear n. an ugly female.|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 229: bear [...] 1. Especially unattractive female. 2. Especially unkempt female. 3. General reference to any female the speaker finds especially undesirable.|
(d) (US) an African-American.
|Why They Called Colored Folks Bears in Levet Talkin That Talk (2010) 59/2: Why did they call colored folks bears? Because his flesh wasn’t colored as yours he call you a bear, say ‘Here come a goddam bear, let’s get him’ .|
(e) a grasping person, a miser.
|Skin Tight 55: Rudy was a bear when it got down to money.|
2. a Russian; also as the Bear, Russia [the Russian ‘national animal’].
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy II 274: The Czar is maul’d, / His Foxes hol’d, / In Shoals the Bears do fly.|
|‘Russian Bear’ in(1979) II 198: And with his hunting friend Murat / He went to hunt the Bear.|
|New Purchase II 239: Their blood so much excels that of the Russian Bear, or John Bull.|
|‘Lovely Albert’ in Victorian Street Ballads (1937) 150: Chain up the Bear and make him stare, / And so help my Davy.|
|‘’Arry to the Front!’ in Punch 9 Mar. 100/2: Old Beakey’s a brick, and means pepper, — there’s hopes it’ll end in a fight. / That Bear is in want of a basting.|
|Punch CI 31 Oct. 210: The Bear, although polite, is as pertinacious, quite, / As the tactless Teuton pig.|
|Truth (Sydney) 15 July 1/8: Should Austria with the Bear make pact, / Should both then tackle Bull.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 21 Feb. 4/5: The necessity to Australia for the Bear to biff the Dragon into helplessness becomes more apparent every day.|
|Sporting Times 4 Feb. 1/1: The Russian turning movement has finished by being a returning movement. The Bear finds the Japs to be what the Johnny finds the ladies—a costly lot to get round.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|Drylongso 20: Everybody is bugging the Bear to let these Jews leave [...] I saw this senator telling everybody that if the Russians don’t let the Jews leave Russia, then we should stop selling things to them.|
|Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 36: The cost of war is going up / the bear is on the move again.|
|Long Gray Line (1990) 198: A hundred and fifty Bears at twenty thousand feet [...] That was World War II stuff.|
3. the pupil of a private tutor, who is ‘led’ by his master (like a keeper with a tame bear).
|Legends of London II 247: When I was the youthful bear – as the disciple of a private tutor is called at Oxford [F&H].|
4. senses based on the bear’s strength and power.
(a) (US prison) illicitly distilled liquor.
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 25 Sept. 11/4: An enterprising convict [...] engaged in the manufacture of liquor [...] ‘Bear’ as it is called, is made to this day from bread crusts.|
(b) an attractive (young) woman; usu. in phr. She’s a bear.
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 4 Dec. 7/3: He calls the manager ‘the old man,’ the actors ‘hams’ [...] the actresses ‘bears’.|
|Silk Hat Harry’s Divorce Suit 24 Aug. [synd. strip cartoon] Dear Little Edith, I saw your mush in the paper today and on the square I think you’re a bear.|
|DN IV:i 26: bear, n. A general term of approval or approbation. [...] ‘She’s a bear, – she’s ‘classy,’ or a good ‘ragger’.’.‘Word-List From The Northwest’ in|
|Coll. Short Stories (1941) 335: ‘Good-looker?’ I ast. ‘No,’ he says; ‘she ain’t no bear for looks.’.‘My Roomy’ in|
|Dict. Amer. Sl. 5: bear, she’s a. She’s a wow, a wonder.|
|Iron Man 129: She’s a bear for looks [...] I wish I had a wife like that.|
(c) an expert, an adept; an excellent, admirable person; see also bear for, a
|Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 85: ‘Say, she’s entitled to the blue ribbon as the champion Human Bumblebee o' the world [...] She must be a bear wit’ that stingin' spiel!’ .|
|TAD Lex. (1993) 17: Bonehead Barry, The Bush League Bear.in Zwilling|
|El Paso Herald (TX) 8 Sept. 8: I gottas job at last and its a bear. All I do is to beat a drum all day.‘Daffydills’ in|
|‘The Little Man’ in Complete Stories I (1993) 2118: ‘Carson,’ he breathed up to him, ‘you’re some bear, some bear.’.|
|Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 305: He’s a bear [...] Did you see the way he murdered that drop ball of mine?‘A Rain Check’ in|
|Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 98: ‘You’re a bear,’ she said with feeling.‘If a Party Meet a Party’ in|
|Hand-made Fables 140: He was a Bear on the whole Line of Tea-Gurgle.|
|AS II:3 145: Some time ago, we were wont to indicate our approval of somebody or something with ‘She’s a bear’.‘Current Expansion of Sl.’ in|
|Eddie Costa-Vinnie Burke Trio [liner notes] My man, Eddie Costa — he’s a bear!|
(d) of inanimate objects or circumstances, an exciting or otherwise exceptional example.
|TAD Lex. (1993) 17: The bill board man was just sticking up bills for the next week’s shows at the opry house. The new bill was a bear.in Zwilling|
|Coll. Short Stories (1941) 250: It [i.e. the World Series] went the full seven games and every game was a bear.‘Horseshoes’ in|
|Hand-made Fables 118: [They] told him his Road House was a Bear.|
|Jerry on the Job [comic strip] If a Chinaman is going to have his nut cut off he can hire a substitute. – Oboy – that’s a bear.|
|Home to Harlem 14: Lenox Avenue, you’re a bear, I know it.|
|(con. 1910s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 68: It had been a bear of a fight.Young Lonigan in|
(e) (US campus) a well-dressed man.
(f) (US gay) sex as a compulsion.
|Queens’ Vernacular 31: sex as a compelling habit [...] the bear.|
5. fig. uses derived from the animal’s negative characteristics.
(a) sunstroke; thus bear-caught adj., suffering from sunstroke.
|Sweat (1995) 960: We’se all sufferin’ wid de heat. De bear’s done got me!|
|Cool Hand Luke (1967) 80: And way out there [...] many a man has been bear-caught, which is to be stricken with heat exhaustion and sunstroke.|
(b) (US black) a misfortune, an unfortunate situation, a feeling of depression.
|‘That Bonus Done Gone Through’ [lyrics] Now look here, folks, she’s out the bear once more! [...] I got a good veteran who has cured my blues.|
|Lush 45: ‘First one’s always a bear,’ Hector said. ‘Give it two or three, then it’ll grip you good.’.|
|Homicide (1993) 140: ‘Oh, Gene,’ said the nurse, ‘life’s a bear.’.|
|Nature Girl 82: Logistically it would be [...] a bear. [...] I don’t do break-ins.|
(c) (US black) constr. with the, poverty, misery.
|Novels and Stories (1995) 1010: The bear: confession of poverty.‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in|
|AS XXXII:4 279: the bear. A confession of poverty.‘Vernacular of the Jazz World’ in|
|Current Sl. I:3 1/1: The Bear, n. Misfortune; an unfortunate event.|
(d) (US prison) solitary confinement.
|Walk on the Wild Side 73: I had thirty-two days wrestling with the bear so I worked on myself to keep from getting even crazier.|
(e) (US campus) any difficult course or circumstance relating to college work.
|AS XXXVIII:3 167: A difficult college course: bear.‘Kansas University Sl.: A New Generation’ in|
|AS L:1/2 53: bear ‘difficult course’.‘Razorback Sl.’ in|
|Campus Sl. Nov. 1: bear – situation that is difficult or requires a great deal of effort. ‘This week’s gonna be a bear. I have three mid-terms and a paper due.’.|
(f) (US black) an unpleasant lifestyle.
|Black Jargon in White America.|
6. senses based on the bear’s furriness.
(a) (US black) an overcoat.
|Book of Negro Folklore 477: Overcoat – Benny or Bear.|
(b) (US) the vulva.
|(con. early 1950s) Valhalla 178: I woke up with my nose down there one night and woulda sworn to God I was staring that old grinnin’ bear right in the face.|
|Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 226: Cock [i.e. the vagina] is a crickly creature, / all covered with wool. / It look like a monkey and smell like a bear, / but I wish my peter was there.|
(c) (US) a hairy, beefy homosexual male; thus bearish adj; also attrib.
|Alt. Eng. Dict. [Internet] bear (count noun) a hairy beefy gay male ‘Both Mary and John like bears.’.|
|Blackboiz for Other Boiz [Internet] 19 Sept. Not attracted to feminine or fat men (solid bear types are definitely cool).|
|My Lives 255: A red-haired bear in Mobile whom I once met at a reading in Atlanta. [Ibid.] 299: He liked hairy chests – not a generalized bearish fuzziness or blond or down or elderly.|
|Salon.com 20 Nov. [Internet] Big-screen, high-definition televisions displayed [...] bareback bear porn on four walls.|
|Independent 24 Jan. 36/1: The book’s 18 essays cover many aspects of the gay world (fag hags, liposuction, ‘bears’).|
7. (US) a policeman; thus bear in the air n., a police helicopter [f. US Forest Service’s mascot Smokey the Bear].
|CB Slanguage 8: Bear Cage/Den/Lair: police station; Bear in the Air/Sky: police helicopter; Bearded Buddy: police of any kind.|
|Campus Sl. Apr. 1: bears – highway patrol men. police.|
|Rat on Fire (1982) 88: No cops around. No bears in the woods from One-twenty-eight all the way the terminal.|
a devotee of, a stickler for, a fan of; the implication is of strict discipline.
|Shorty McCabe on the Job 97: Say, I’m a bear for Paris.|
|Doughboy Dope 85: Many a guy who was a bear for yelling on the college campus finds himself out-yodelled by some meek individual.|
|Woodfill of the Regulars 271: The old boy was a bear for inspection.|
|(con. 1943–5) To Hell and Back (1950) 151: Be sure you address me properly when the head nurse is around. She’s a bear for rank.|
|In For Life 304: Sweeney was a bear for work.|
|Close Pursuit (1988) 79: Stokovich wanted no prima donnas on the squad, and he was a bear for records, summaries, notes.|
|Native Tongue 105: I’m a regular bear for tape decks and Camcorders and shit like that.|
SE in slang uses
1. an aggressive or forceful person (occas. animal); something violent.
|Courier-Jrnl (Louisville, KY) 2 Apr. 6/3: [of a racehorse] Edgeley, a bear-cat in the heavy going, was the one to take down the money.|
|Professor How Could You! 268: You are just a wistful old bearcat [... ] one, in short, with a magnetic personality whose power over such as won his notice would be found all too plausible by casual reporters.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 19: bearcat A good prize fighter; one with plenty of gumption.|
|(con. 1943) Big War 225: ‘I think it’s going to be a bear cat.’ ‘As bad as Tarawa?’ ‘Worse’. [Ibid.] 356: I’m a bear-cat.|
|Dict. Contemp. and Colloq. Usage.|
|(con. late 19C) Gentle Giant 87: He was no ‘bear cat’ as a bullying and unpopular gang boss was termed.|
2. something excellent, first-rate; a person with great energy or ability.
|TAD Lex. (1993) 17: [of a golf shot] Oh mommer!! There’s a bearcat.in Zwilling|
|Coll. Short Stories (1941) 50: Why should a man pull an alibi for bein’ engaged to such a bearcat as she was?‘Alibi Ike’ in|
|Little Caesar (1932) 107: Ain’t she a bearcat!|
|One-Way Ride 284: He’d have been a bear-cat as a Central Bureau dick.|
|Dark Hazard (1934) 79: You know Marg [...] You’re sure a bearcat at fixing things up. This place is swell.|
|(con. 1943) Big War 221: Isn’t that a bear-cat though?|
(UK Und.) a young nobleman’s travelling tutor.
|New and Improved Flash Dict.|
(UK society) a play fight, a bit of ‘rough-and-tumble’.
|Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 441: By Jove, what’s that? Dragoons [...] There’s going to be the d—st bear-fight.|
|[||Proverbs 216: He that hath eaten a Bear-pye, will always smell of the garden].|
|Compleat and Humorous Account of Remarkable Clubs (1756) 94: The Mask’d Ladies [...] open the Wicket of Love’s Bear-Garden, to any bold Sportsman who has a venturesome Mind to give a Run to his Puppy.|
coarse language, vulgarity; sometimes abbr. as bear-garden.
|Proverbs (2nd edn) 66: He speaks Bear-garden.|
|Dict. Canting Crew.|
|Writings (1704) 33: I Teas’d and Tir’d with this Bear-Garden Play, In doleful Dumps did for ten Tankards pay, / And Sick, not Drunk, did Homewards steer my way.‘Sot’s Paradise’ in|
|, , ,||Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
a travelling tutor; thus by ext. an expert who teaches by example.
|F&H].Letter To Mann 4 June II 392: I shall not wonder if she takes me for his bear-leader, his travelling governor! [|
|Englishman Returned from Paris in Works (1799) I 98: Servant. My young master’s travelling tutor, sir, just arrived. Crab. [...] Shew him in. This bear-leader, I reckon now, is either the clumsy curate of the knight’s own parish church, or some needy highlander.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Bear leader. A travelling tutor.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Modern Flash Dict.|
|Book of Snobs (1889) 32: They pounced upon the stray nobility, and seized young lords travelling with their bear-leaders.|
|F&H].Massarenes 26: ‘I am not a bear-leader,’ said Lady Kenilworth, with hauteur [|
|Autobiog. of a Gipsey 143: He then undertook the post of bear-leader to the son of one of our local magnates, in which capacity he visited nearly every quarter of the habitable globe.|
(US black) very strong (illicitly distilled) whisky .
|[song title] Bear Mash Blues.|
(US) an easy target.
|No Beast So Fierce 169: ‘How is it?’ [...] ‘It’s bear meat. If we brought the cannons we’d get him right now.’ ‘That good, huh?’.|
an all-male party, esp. on the night preceding the wedding of one of the men.
|Natural History of the Gent 93: They are men [...] strongly addicted to bear parties —who think ‘a glass of grog and a weed’ the acme of social enjoyment.|
1. (US campus) a fool, an ignoramus.
|Current Sl. IV:3–4 (1970).|
2. (US) a harsh taskmaster.
|cited in HDAS I 115/2: I am a tough person to work with. I mean I can be a bear’s ass.|
a joc./offensive term of address.
|Nine Lives Bill Nelson 33: He knew Bearsbreath and Bearsbreath’s fighting whisper.|
|None But the Lonely Heart 252: ‘Here we are, bears breath,’ Slush says to some little bloke in a black apron.|
(US) a doughnut.
|Log Of A Cowboy 280: She asked me to make the bear sign – doughnuts, she called them.|
|Cowboy Lingo 149: Doughnuts [...] were called ‘bear sign’.|
|‘I Rode for Bear Sign’ [Internet] Bear sign are a golden delicacy. / Doughnuts, to you in town.|
|Official Louis L’Amour Discussion Forum 19 Feb. [Internet] OLYKOEKS (‘Bear sign’) (Oily Cakes, or Raised Doughnuts).|
1. the pubic hair, orig. hair [resemblance].
|Case Is Altered IV iv: Nothing but hair [...] This bear’s skin.|
|Gentleman’s Bottle-Companion 3: Then came a Furrier, so bold and so stout / With a rum-ti-dum, &c. / And he with a bear-skin did fur it about.|
2. (UK Und.) money [fur as a trading commodity].
|Conduct of Receivers and Thief-Takers 11: Now let us see how the Bear-Skin is divided, viz. you will have ten Pounds, and I shall have six Pounds, and the Cull, alias the Fool, will have four Pounds.|
(US) a ‘tall story’, an exaggerated story.
|[||Sandusky Clarion (OH) 7 Jan. 3/2: [headline] A Bear Story].|
|Times-Picayune (N.O.) 16 Feb. 2/5: This is a ‘bear story;’ whether true or not is more than we can say.|
|Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) 25 Oct. 129/1: Whether the forty-bear-in-a-day story [...] was founded on fact, or was merely a bear-story, we are unable to decide.|
|Atlantic Monthly 28 564/2: A company of hunters [...] went on in their old eternal way of making bear-stories out of whole cloth.|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 18 Jan. 4/4: He therefore called upon T. H. to open the ball, which he did [...] with a fish yarn, and Charlie then followed with a bear yarn .|
|Hall Collection 189/1: A fellow would come in and tell a little extra story, a little out of line, like he’d had a extra drink or somethin’; we’d call that a bear tale. It meant his story was a little exaggerated in places [DARE].|
|Woods Words n.p.: Bear story – Any kind of a tall story. Once the bear story was an important part of daily life in the woods, but bears, and bear hunters, and bear stories are all much scarcer nowadays.|
(US) a difficult situation.
|DARE].Hawks I 269: Look you, boy, you are in a bear-trap, and the log will soon be on your back [|
|Woods Words n.p.: Bear Trap [...] A tricky situation [...] A tangle of logs such that when the bucker makes a cut, one or more logs may roll and mash him.|
a large, hairy vagina, esp. one that is dark in colour.
|Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 87 Dec. n.p.: bear trappers hat sim. Hairy front bottom. As in ‘She had a fanny like a bear trapper’s hat’. Also Davy Crockett’s hat.|
(US) a challenge, ‘do your worst’.
|Kentucky Trib. (Danville, KY) 3 May 1/3: Call you this a game of brag? [...] Bring On Your Bears.|
|Baltimore Sun (MD) 23 Feb. 4/1: Every child in the city [...] would have said to the President, like the children in the story, ‘bring on your bears’.|
|Brooklyn Dly Eagle 27 May 2/6: Good bye grumblers. ‘Bring on your bears,’ if you have any: but don’t threaten and insinuate.|
|St Paul Globe (MN) 20 Sept. 9/5: Inside a month there will be [...] 500 live men working for the regular candidate and against the Minneapolis ring [...] Bring on your bears.|
|Chicago Trib. 13 Sept. [headline] Bring On Your Bears!|
|Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.|
|Dly Arkansas Gaz. (Little Rock, AR) 29 July 5/2: They had no doubt at other times cried out bravely, ‘bring on your bears,’ but it was quite another thing when the bear was brought upon the scene.|
(US black) miserable, out of sorts, dejected.
|Novels and Stories (1995) 1002: ‘What’s cookin’?’ ‘Oh, just like de bear – I ain’t nowhere. Like de bear’s brother, I ain’t no further.’.‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in|
see does a bear shit in the woods? Is the pope (a) Catholic? phr.
(Mexican/US) a form of courtship that involves hugging.
|press cutting in Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 114/1: Courtship is carried on in a most extraordinary manner in Mexico. The part a man plays in a courtship is called ‘doing the bear’, which is a translation of ‘pacer el oso’. It is quite a common expression in Mexico to say: ‘I am doing the bear to Miss So-and-so’; or for the girl to say: ‘That young man is doing the bear to me.’.|
(orig. Citizen’s Band radio) to pay a parking fine, to get a parking ticket.
|CB Slanguage 4: Aviator: speeding driver; e.g. ‘That aviator is looking to feed the bears.’ [Ibid.] 33: Don’t Feed the Bears: don’t get a parking ticket.|
|Gloss. of CB Jargon [Internet] Feed the Bears: To receive a ticket or to pay a fine: ‘I had to feed the bears.’ (Had to pay a speeding ticket, usually in ‘green stamps.’).|
(US black) unhappy or unsuccessful in life or a given situation.
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 27 Jan. 7/1: In Boston [...] racial prejudice runs rampant and the negro ‘ain’t nowhere’.|
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 26 Apr. 7/2: he might be tops in ‘Native Son,’ but like the bear in diriving he ain’t nowhere.|
|Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 35: Like the Bear, he was somewhere!|
|Waiters 74: Just another broke-ass waiter. Like the bear—nowhere.|
|Room to Swing 122: Honey, I don’t think anything. I’m like a bear — nowhere.|
|Jazz Lex. xxii: We should perhaps take note of the brief (c. 1935–c. 1940) vogue of rhyming slang in jazz which, unlike the British practice, was based generally on logical similes: e.g., mellow like a cello; fine as wine; like the bear, I ain’t nowhere (i.e., an extension of the lumbering physical qualities of the animal to the immobilized spiritual state of a man).|
(US black) miserable, out of sorts, dejected.
|Novels and Stories (1995) 1002: ‘What’s cookin’?’ ‘Oh, just like de bear – I ain’t nowhere. Like de bear’s brother, I ain’t no further. Like de bear’s daughter – ain’t got a quarter.’.‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in|
|Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 52: A homey ain’t nowhere— just like the bear’s brother, Jim, for him the pickins are slim.|
(US black) a phr. implying that a noisy, bragging aggressive person is in fact all show and cowardice.
|Novels and Stories (1995) 1009: Nothing to the bear but his curly hair: I call your bluff.‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in|
(US) to let someone know what’s what, to tell someone off; thus know where the bear... v., to understand a situation.
|Shawshank Redemption [film script] I don’t need no smart wife-killin’ banker to show me where the bear shit in the buckwheat.|
|www.bigslick.net [Internet] Last year was his first shootout and did not do too well. However, he is very patient and with a year under his belt he now knows where the bear shit in the buckwheat is.|
|posting at cbs.sportsline.com [Internet] All I do is tell them exactly where the bear shit in the buckwheat.|
|London Spy XVII 409: By this time in came my brother Nomenater, who was to stand the Bears with me.|