dear ( dearer comparative) ( dearest superlative) ( dears plural )
1 adj You use dear to describe someone or something that you feel affection for.
Mrs Cavendish is a dear friend of mine...
2 adj If something is dear to you or dear to your heart, you care deeply about it.
v-link ADJ to n
This is a subject very dear to the hearts of academics up and down the country.
3 adj You use dear in expressions such as `my dear fellow', `dear girl', or `my dear Richard' when you are addressing someone whom you know and are fond of. You can also use expressions like this in a rude way to indicate that you think you are superior to the person you are addressing.
(BRIT) ADJ n (feelings)
Of course, Toby, my dear fellow, of course...
4 adj Dear is written at the beginning of a letter, followed by the name or title of the person you are writing to.
Dear Peter, I have been thinking about you so much during the past few days...
5 convention In British English, you begin formal letters with `Dear Sir' or `Dear Madam'. In American English, you begin them with `Sir' or `Madam'.
WRITTEN `Dear sir,' she began.
6 n-voc You can call someone dear as a sign of affection., (feelings)
You're a lot like me, dear...
7 exclam You can use dear in expressions such as `oh dear', `dear me', and `dear, dear' when you are sad, disappointed, or surprised about something., (feelings)
`Oh dear, oh dear.' McKinnon sighed. `You, too.'
8 adj If you say that something is dear, you mean that it costs a lot of money, usually more than you can afford or more than you think it should cost.
INFORMAL usu v-link ADJ (disapproval)
(=expensive) (Antonym: cheap)
CDs here are much dearer than in the States...
9 If something that someone does costs them dear, they suffer a lot as a result of it.
cost sb dear phrase V inflects
Such complacency is costing the company dear.