Bear With Me vs. Bare With Me: The Difference Explained

Bear or Bare word graphic

Bear With Me vs. Bare With Me: The Difference Explained

What is the origin of the English expression bear with me?

The expression bear with me is thought to be derived from the Latin phrase “ego te pati” (bear with me).

This phrase was used as a request for patience or indulgence, and it gradually made its way into English usage.

By the early 1500s, “bear” had become a common standalone request for patience, and by the 1600s, it was occasionally paired with other words, such as granted or good.

Over time, “bear with me” became firmly established as a standard English expression. Today, it is still used to politely ask others to be patient, whether one is searching for an item or dealing with a difficult situation. In many situations, a simple “bear with me” can help to defuse tension and create a more positive atmosphere.

What Does Bear With Me Mean?

Bear with me is an expression that is used to request patience or to ask for forgiveness in advance. The phrase is most commonly used when someone is about to say something that they know will be unpopular or controversial.

For example, if a boss is about to announce a layoff, they might say: “Bear with me, this is going to be tough.” In this case, the boss is asking their employees to be understanding and patient before they deliver the news.

The phrase can also be used more broadly to request patience from anyone who is listening. For example, if someone is struggling to find the right words, they might say ” bear with me, I’m still figuring out how to say this.” In this case, the speaker is asking for the listener’s patience while they gather their thoughts.

Whether you’re about to deliver bad news or simply struggling to find the right words, bear with me is an expression that can help to smooth over a potentially difficult situation.

Examples of Bear With Me Used in Sentences

“Bear with me” can be used as a standalone request or as part of a longer sentence.

For example, you might say:

  • “Bear with me while I find my keys” 
  • “I know this is taking a while, but bear with me.”

The phrase is often used when someone is in the middle of doing something and is asking for patience from the person or people they are with. In some cases, it can also be used to kindly ask for someone’s forbearance or indulgence.

For example, you might say “Bear with me, I’m almost done” if you are aware that you are taking up someone’s time but will be finished shortly. While the phrase bear with me is not always polite, it can be used in a variety of situations and does not necessarily imply rudeness. Other likely examples include:

  • “I’m going to need you to bear with me while I figure out what to do next.”
  • “The project is running behind schedule, so we’re going to have to bear with me while I get everything back on track.”
  • “Can you bear with me while I finish up this phone call?”
  • “I know this is a lot to take in, but bear with me and I’ll explain everything.”

Other Expressions That Use ‘Bear’ and ‘Bare’

The words “bear” and “bare” are often used interchangeably, but there are actually a few subtle differences between them.

Bare is a common word meaning “Nude”. A common expression including this word would be:

  • “It’s too cold outside for bare legs”
  • “Walking on the grass with bare feet is good for the mind, body, and soul”

The meaning of bear is also a noun, for the large land mammals, we find in the forest and arctic. Some examples of this word in use include:

  • “Oh no! The bear got into our garbage cans”
  • “Look, a bear!”
  • “That furry animal over there, is it a black bear or a grizzly bear?”

Additionally, the verb bear can be used as a verb meaning to hold or bear fruit, whereas “bare” cannot. Some examples of this word in use are:

  • “We need more rain or these trees will never bear apples”
  • “We hope to bear a child this year”

Despite these differences, the two words can often be used in similar ways, and it is not always immediately apparent which one is correct. As such, it is always best to err on the side of caution and choose the word that you feel is most appropriate for the context.

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How to Remember the Spelling of Bear With Me

The correct spelling of this phrase is two words, “bear” and “with,” with no space between them. The word “bear” in this context means to endure or tolerate, while “with” indicates that the person doing the bearing is alongside the person or thing they are bearing with.

This phrase is most often seen in written form, such as in emails or memos, but it can also be used verbally. When bear with me is used verbally, it is important to bear in mind (no pun intended!) that the correct spelling is two words, bear and with, with no space between them. By keeping this simple rule in mind, you can be sure to avoid incorrect spelling with this common grammar error.

Alternative Ways to Say Bear With Me

If you find yourself regularly saying “bear with me,” there are a few alternative phrases you can use that may convey your meaning more clearly.

For example, if you need a moment to gather your thoughts, try saying:

  • “Just give me a minute.”
  • “I just need a few more minutes.”
  • “Just a moment of your patience, please.”

If you’re interrupted in the middle of an explanation, you could say:

  • “If you’ll let me finish.”
  • “Let me explain.”
  • “Just a moment.”

Ultimately, the phrase you choose will depend on the situation and your relationship with the person you’re speaking to. However, these alternatives can help to add variety to your language and avoid any potential confusion.

How to Remember the Difference

Remembering the difference between bear and bare can be a challenge, but there are a few tricks you can use to help you remember.

One way to remember the difference is to think about the spelling of each word. The word bear has an “a” in it, just like the word animal. The word bare has an “e” in it, just like the word exposed. So if you can remember that bear refers to an animal and bare refers to something that is uncovered, you should have no trouble keeping them straight.

Another way is to create a chart that outlines the difference between the verb bear and the noun form of bear. Follow this with the varied verb meanings of “bare”. Study this and memorize it for later use. 

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a bear with me synonym?

Synonyms for this phrase include:

– “Be patient”
– “Endure this”
– “To put up with”
– “Wait for”
– “Make allowance for”

Is it bear with or bare in the UK?

The phrase “bear with me” is used in both American and British English. However, you may occasionally see the phrase “bare with me” in British English. This variant is considered nonstandard and is generally not used in formal written communication. If you’re unsure which spelling to use, it’s best to stick with “bear with me.”

Is it rude to say bear with me?

The phrase “bear with me” is not inherently rude. However, it can come across as rude if it is used in a demanding or impatient way. For example, if you say “bear with me while I find my notes” in a tone that suggests you expect the other person to wait for you indefinitely, then it might be considered that way.

Why do we say bear with me?

The phrase “bear with me” is often used to ask for patience or understanding. It can be used in a variety of different situations, such as when you need a moment to gather your thoughts, when you’re interrupted in the middle of an explanation, or when you’re asking someone to be patient while you complete a task. Ultimately, the phrase you choose will depend on the situation and your relationship with the person you’re speaking to.


Homophones are words that are pronounced in the same way as other words but have different meanings, even if they are spelled differently. When in doubt, consult a dictionary or ask a friend for help. With a little practice, you will be able to master the use of homophones in your writing.

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Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning

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