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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


[leer] /lɪər/
lehr. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for leers
Historical Examples
  • He shrugs his shoulders, opens his eyes, leers, and—there is the complete manufactured article.

  • It was so unlike Glenerne and the leers about the aquarium corner.

    Gray youth Oliver Onions
  • There were squints, and leers, and some dull, ox-like stares from those who were too dull or too weary to converse.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • The buccaneers sprang at the terrified women and priests, some with weapons out, others with leers and outstretched arms.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • Drawing a stool toward the table, he perches himself thereon and leers across at the two sneak thieves.

    Dangerous Ground Lawrence L. Lynch
  • But the attack was definitively broken off at nightfall and the Republicans withdrew slowly towards Lannoy and leers.

  • She leans forward and leers up into the face of her Prodigal.

    Dangerous Ground Lawrence L. Lynch
  • He leers at us through the two red eyes of the locomotive; its stout cylinder represents his embonpoint.

    From the Oak to the Olive Julia Ward Howe
  • The leers and laughter on those painted faces are quite unlike her own sad countenance.

    The Newcomes William Makepeace Thackeray
  • (He laughs again and leers with lacklustre eye) Thanks be to God we have it in the house, what, eh, do you follow me?

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for leers


(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 leers



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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