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90s Slang You Should Know


[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 leering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Suddenly she thrust the severed head she carried into the face of Kwaiba, leering horribly at him the while.

    The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari James S. De Benneville
  • Here Fannia, leering on her own good man, And there, a naked Leda with a swan.

    Essay on Man Alexander Pope
  • There was no leering and hideous grinning at us, however, as the rider's head had been blown clean away by a Boer shell.

  • He spun round in his amazement and met the leering face of Ayoub.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • The two girls were safe for the hour, and must endure the leering of four tipsy scoundrels.

    The Day of Wrath Louis Tracy
  • I have stirred up ghosts of the past—leering ghosts, and I hate them.

    Possessed Cleveland Moffett
British Dictionary definitions for leering


(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 leering



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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