1. A cutting instrument. Specifically: An instrument consisting of two blades, commonly with bevel edges, connected by a pivot, and working on both sides of the material to be cut, used for cutting cloth and other substances. Fate urged the shears, and cut the sylph in twain. (pope)
An apparatus for raising heavy weights, and especially for stepping and unstepping the lower masts of ships. It consists of two or more spars or pieces of timber, fastened together near the top, steadied by a guy or guys, and furnished with the necessary tackle.
Alternative forms: sheers.
Origin: Formerly used also in the singular.