American English

Definition of dear adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (dearer, dearest)
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  1. 1loved by or important to someone He's one of my dearest friends. dear to somebody Her daughter is very dear to her. They lost everything that was dear to them.
  2. 2Dear used at the beginning of a letter before the name or title of the person that you are writing to Dear Sir or Madam Dear Mrs. Jones
  3. Idioms
    close/dear/near to somebody's heart
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    having a lot of importance and interest for someone
    dear old/little…
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    used to describe someone in a way that shows affection Dear old Sue! I knew she'd help. Their baby's a dear little thing.
    for dear life, for your life
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    as hard or as fast as possible She was holding on to the rope for dear life. Run for your life!
    hold somebody/something dear (formal)
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    to care very much for someone or something; to value someone or something highly He had destroyed everything we held dear.
    your nearest and dearest (informal)
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    your close family and friends
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: dear