Welcome to our Word of the Week!

Every week, we will look together at a word that is either interesting, funny or mysterious and that appeals to all of us in the aviation community.

And this week,we have decided to start out with bear….

Well, maybe not the noun. We do like our big furry friends, and maybe at some airports, they can be an issue. But this week, we’ll focus on the verb, to bear.

Let’s take a quick look at what the very knowledgeable people at Cambridge have in store for us:

to bear (v., trans.)

UK /beər/ US /ber/
bore | borne or US also born

The verb to bear has many different meanings, but fortunately only one that concerns us. For example, it can mean “to hold or support something”, or “to carry and move something to a place”, and even, by extension “to accept, tolerate, or endure something, especially something unpleasant”

On top of that, you all know the expression “I was born on June 31st”, because yes, to bear also means “to give birth”.

But let us focus on aviation for now. The meaning we are interested in is “to change direction slightly so that you are going in a particular direction“. It is, in this instance, usually followed by an adverb or a preposition, as in “After you go past the chemist’s, keep bearing to the left”, or “The path followed the coastline for several miles, then bore inland.” In this meaning we can quickly relate to it when we think that a controller may ask us to “bear left after crossing taxiway A”, or even when we see that a QDR is a magnetic bearing from a station. Yes, right there, they made a substantive of it 🙂 And, as you guessed, it means “an exact position, measured clockwise (= to the right) from north.”.

As you can see, “bear” is a word with a great many meanings, and there goes to show that even if we know that you know it, knowing a little more never hurts.

Enjoy your week,and see you next Wednesday!