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bear n

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bear n

Pronc forms.
Usu |bɛ(ə)r, bɛə|; also, chiefly Sth, Midl, old-fash |bæ(r), bæə, bɑ(r)|; pronc-spp baar, b’ar, bar(r)
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Gram form.
Used as pl: bears. ?chiefly Sth, Midl
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Senses.
with the ~: Heat prostration or exhaustion—in phr the bear got one. Sth, S Midl
1913 Collier’s 1 Feb 27 Sth [Black], We have had work in the extreme South where negroes were plentiful and would hang around our job like crows around a cornfield . . ; as soon as a man was “burnt out,” or when the “bear got him,” as they expressed it, another would take his place with a wheelbarrow or shovel before the foreman hardly had time to notice a man had dropped out. 1950 PADS 14.13 SC, Bear. . . In the phrase: “The bear got him,” he was overcome by the heat, had a sunstroke. 1972 Stars & Stripes (European ed.) 31 Aug 2/2, “We call it hitting the wall,” said Young, of Sibley, Mo. “Or crashing. Or sometimes we’ll say, ‘Did the bear get you?’ Yes, there’s a big black bear over your shoulder in long walking races.” 2011 Post–Searchlight (Bainbridge GA) (Internet) 15 Feb Sth, I worked in the watermelon fields where the other guys would tease you about “not letting the bear get’cha,” which meant not too worn out and hot.
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