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verb (used without object)
  1. to grin or laugh coarsely or mockingly.
verb (used with object)
  1. to mock or deride.
  1. a fleering look; a jeer or gibe.

Origin of fleer1

1350–1400; Middle English flerien (v.) < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian flire a grin
Related formsfleer·ing·ly, adverb


  1. a person who flees.

Origin of fleer2

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at flee, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fleer

Historical Examples

  • To flewer or fleer is to smile in that grinning manner which shows all the teeth.

    It Might Have Been

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • For, fleer as aliens would, this was the Awakening of the Red Dragon.

    Mushroom Town

    Oliver Onions

  • "It is more than men are" she said, fired, as women always are, by a fleer at the sex.

    Gordon Keith

    Thomas Nelson Page

  • The reader who studies every line should not fleer at him who studies not at all.

  • And thereat they did laugh, and fleer, and shout, and there was flashing of tankards and jingling of cups all down the hall.

British Dictionary definitions for fleer


  1. to grin or laugh at; scoff; sneer
  1. a derisory glance or grin
Derived Formsfleeringly, adverb

Word Origin

C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian flire to snigger
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fleer


c.1400, perhaps from Scandinavian (cf. dialectal Norwegian flira, dialectal Danish flire "to grin, titter"). Related: Fleered; fleering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper