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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


[leer] /lɪər/
lehr. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for leers
Historical Examples
  • What do I care for public opinion, for gossip, for their leers and whispers?

    The Winning Clue

    James Hay, Jr.
  • It was so unlike Glenerne and the leers about the aquarium corner.

    Gray youth Oliver Onions
  • She leans forward and leers up into the face of her Prodigal.

    Dangerous Ground Lawrence L. Lynch
  • 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
  • He shrugs his shoulders, opens his eyes, leers, and—there is the complete manufactured article.

  • But the attack was definitively broken off at nightfall and the Republicans withdrew slowly towards Lannoy and leers.

  • And as for our worst, when we as we say let ourselves go, we dirty the life-force unspeakably, with chuckles and leers.

    This Simian World Clarence Day
  • 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
  • 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
  • With smirkings and grimacings and leers that started his shudders afresh, she told him all.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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