• To char, scorch, or burn the surface of (something) with a hot instrument.
  • To wither; to dry up.
  • To make callous or insensible.
  • To mark permanently, as if by burning.


  • A scar produced by searing
  • Part of a gun that retards the hammer until the trigger is pulled.


  • From Middle English sere, seer, seere, from Old English sēar, sīere, from Proto-Germanic *sauzaz ("dry"), from Proto-Indo-European *sh₂ews- ("dry, parched") (also reconstructed as *h₂sews-). Cognate with Dutch zoor ("dry, rough"), Low German soor ("dry"), German sohr ("parched, dried up"), dialectal Norwegian søyr ("the desiccation and death of a tree"), Lithuanian saũsas ("dry"), Homeric Ancient Greek αὖος ("dry"). sere, and sare.
  • From Middle English seren, seeren, from Old English sēarian ("to become sere, to grow sear, wither, pine away"), from Proto-West Germanic *sauʀēn ("to dry out, become dry"); compare also Proto-Germanic *sauzijaną ("to make dry"). Related to Old High German sōrēn ("to wither, wilt"). See Etymology 1 for more cognates. The use in firearms terminology may relate to French serrer ("to grip").

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