I know you say to someone Bear with me if it is for a few minutes:

bear with me​/​us - used as a polite way of asking someone to be patient while you do or finish something

  • If you just bear with me for a few more minutes, we’ll have all the paperwork finished. (Macmillan)

Can you say

Bear with me for half an hour?

or is that definitely too long?

Edit: Thanks to the comment below, I would like to clarify the situation I am refering to. When you go for an appointment let's say, and the person receiving you is not quite available yet, they tell you "bear with me, please". This is the use I am interested in. I always thought you can only use this expression with a few minutes, but today someone addressed me saying:

Please bear with me half an hour, and then we can speak.

(That person, like me, is not a native speaker, which is why maybe they forgot to say "for half an hour"). I was wondering if you can say that.

  • My mother bore with my father for 60 years. Oxford just says 'be patient or tolerant with someone'. Cambridge, Collins, the same. Macmillan seems to be in a minority. Merriam Webster's thesaurus just gives 'suffer, stand'. Jul 14, 2021 at 17:52
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    I don’t think it’s an egregious misuse, but I would prefer something like “Just give me a half an hour, then we can speak.” For me, “Bear with me” has a connotation of “stay right here, I’m almost done” in the context you’re talking about.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 14, 2021 at 18:03
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    I think it can be said without “raising too many eyebrows”, but I would prefer something else. It’s not wrong or completely inappropriate. I don’t disagree with @JeffreyCarney. I didn’t write an answer because this is just my opinion.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 14, 2021 at 18:08
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    @ColleenV, I think we are describing different personal experiences of this idiom. Mine is simply more expansive. Jul 14, 2021 at 18:10
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    I Googled, and most of the hits come back with "a moment," "a few minutes," etc. I'm inclined to think it would depend on the context. If the normal response would be instantaneous, you would say, "bear with me a minute." If it were a day, you might say, "bear with me a few days." (Perhaps my life experiences have been intense at times.) But I cannot imagine a situation where you would say, "Bear with me for a year." So I was wrong when I said, "The duration is independent of the idiom." Jul 14, 2021 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


"Bear with me" does tend to have a split timeframe. It usually holds meanings of "just a moment" or "forever." But less often in the middle.

Common: "Bear with me for a few minutes."

"I know our marriage is hard because of my job, but please bear with me, I'm doing my best."

Less common: "Bear with me for a few hours."

Still, any time frame is not that unusual because the phrase is mostly asking for sympathy towards the person for the delay or inconvenience.

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