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[leer] /lɪər/
verb (used without object)
to look with a sideways or oblique glance, especially suggestive of lascivious interest or sly and malicious intention:
I can't concentrate with you leering at me.
a lascivious or sly look.
Origin of leer1
1520-30; perhaps v. use of obsolete leer cheek (Middle English leor, Old English hlēor; cognate with Old Norse hlȳr (plural))
Related forms
leeringly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for leered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He nodded to Moody—he leered at Isabel—he chuckled to himself—he left the farmhouse.

    My Lady's Money Wilkie Collins
  • “You reckon on running him off, or——” He leered at Langford significantly.

    The Trail to Yesterday Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Ben leered, the sides of his fat cheeks protruding in the joyful emotion he felt at Tessibel's suffering.

    Tess of the Storm Country Grace Miller White
  • Parlay looked at the barometer, giggled, and leered around at his guests.

    A Son Of The Sun Jack London
  • The young inventor had done this while he leered at his captors.

  • They leered at him with phosphorescent eyes, yellow and purple.

    Salvage in Space John Stewart Williamson
  • And again he leered so frightfully, that Jaqueline would have jumped down had she not been strapped to the pillion.

  • But the other two grinned derisively at each other and leered at the girl.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • One moment he leered at the unconscious Goddess, the next he satirized, in a demoniac dance, the belated Harlequin.

    Mariposilla Mary Stewart Daggett
British Dictionary definitions for leered


(intransitive) to give an oblique, sneering, or suggestive look or grin
such a look
Derived Forms
leering, adjective, noun
leeringly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: perhaps verbal use of obsolete leer cheek, from Old English hlēor
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
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Word Origin and History for leered



1590s, from leer (v).



"to look obliquely" (now usually implying "with a lustful or malicious intent"), 1520s, probably from Middle English noun ler "cheek," from Old English hleor "the cheek, the face," from Proto-Germanic *khleuzas "near the ear," from *kleuso- "ear," from PIE root *kleu- "to hear" (see listen). The notion is probably of "looking askance" (cf. figurative development of cheek). Related: Leered; leering.


1590s, from leer (v).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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