This context comes from a video game "Metal Gear Solid The Phantom Pain"

And Boss, with no borders left, what difference can we make? War will have lost any true meaning to the world. Just one more gear keeping the wheels of economy turning. Another product bearing down the capitalist conveyor belt.

Here is one definition of this phrase:

bear down
To carry or transport someone or something down along something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "bear" and "down." The current bore us down the river toward the ocean. The courier bore the parcel down the road as quickly as he could. (source: Farlex Dictionary of Idioms.)

This definition would apply here if the sentence was reversed (conveyer belt bearing down another product). Is there an intransitive version of this phrasal verb? I wasn't able to find it.

bear down (on someone or something)
to press down on someone or something. Bear down on the pen. You have to make a lot of copies. Don't bear down too hard or you'll break it. (source: McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs.)

Does the sentence in question mean "Another product pressing down on the capitalist conveyor belt."?

2 Answers 2


Not quite. A quick Google search turns up the following under Oxford Languages.

Bear down: move directly toward someone or something in a purposeful or intimidating manner. "at a canter they bore down on the mass of men ahead"

So the speaker is claiming that things come down "the capitalist conveyor belt" in a purposeful or intimidating manner.


Your first definition requires both a direct object and an object of the preposition. ("The current bore us down the river toward the ocean.") However, the example sentence contains only one object ("the capitalist conveyor belt"). Therefore, it wouldn't work.

Your second definition is intransitive; if there is an object, then it should be of the preposition "on", which doesn't occur in your example. Therefore, it wouldn't work, either.

I see two possibilities:

There is a transitive phrasal verb "to bear down". The definition at M-W is:


The other possibility is M-W's first intransitive entry for "bear":

: to go or incline in an indicated direction

In this case the verb is not phrasal; "down" is simply a preposition with its regular meaning.

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