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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for leered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She cackled, and leered with vile significance toward the girl in the doorway.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • They leered at him with phosphorescent eyes, yellow and purple.

    Salvage in Space John Stewart Williamson
  • The young inventor had done this while he leered at his captors.

  • He leered at her as though expecting her to flame at his prowess.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • But the other two grinned derisively at each other and leered at the girl.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • Above us, in the opening of the trap-door, leered the bright, mad eyes of Fraser.

  • He leered at her, put an arm about her waist, pulled her to him, and kissed her oafishly.

  • He leered at her horribly, and Beth seemed frozen into her chair.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • Beasley leered over the rim of his glass as he drank his whisky.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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