- transparently thin; diaphanous, as some fabrics: sheer stockings.
- unmixed with anything else: We drilled a hundred feet through sheer rock.
- unqualified; utter: sheer nonsense.
- extending down or up very steeply; almost completely vertical: a sheer descent of rock.
- British Obsolete. bright; shining.
- clear; completely; quite: ran sheer into the thick of battle.
- perpendicularly; vertically; down or up very steeply.
- a thin, diaphanous material, as chiffon or voile.
Origin of sheer1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to deviate from a course, as a ship; swerve.
- to cause to sheer.
- Shipbuilding. to give sheer to (a hull).
- a deviation or divergence, as of a ship from its course; swerve.
- Shipbuilding. the fore-and-aft upward curve of the hull of a vessel at the main deck or bulwarks.
- Nautical. the position in which a ship at anchor is placed to keep it clear of the anchor.
Origin of sheer2
Examples from the Web for sheer
Actors can inhabit the person through the sheer force of their assimilation.Why Can’t Movies Capture Genius?
December 14, 2014
Even Godzilla, the ugliest star attraction of them all, is bigger than ever, both at the box office and in sheer monstrous height.Can Tarzan of the Apes Survive in a Post-Colonial World?
November 23, 2014
The Met is noteworthy not only for its house size, however, but for the sheer volume of its season.Inside the Metropolitan Opera’s Insane Year
Shawn E. Milnes
November 23, 2014
The next 10 times after that, the sheer repetition made it funny again, like the famous Simpsons rake joke.Rage Against GamerGate’s Hate Machine: What I Got For Speaking Up
November 17, 2014
If nothing else, the sheer size of the “religious liberty” movement indicates its seriousness of purpose.RFRA Madness: What’s Next for Anti-Democratic ‘Religious Exemptions’
November 16, 2014
To all the generations before our own matter was a sheer and positive density.
On them it is forced from without, by sheer pressure of circumstance.
Mary stood silent for a moment from sheer amazement over the change.Within the Law
It was as if she found in sheer activity and fatigue a remedy for her uneasiness.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
I laughed out of sheer inanity; every pulse in my body was throbbing.The Bacillus of Beauty
- perpendicular; very steepa sheer cliff
- (of textiles) so fine as to be transparent
- (prenominal) absolute; unmitigatedsheer folly
- obsolete bright or shining
- steeply or perpendicularly
- completely or absolutely
- any transparent fabric used for making garments
- to deviate or cause to deviate from a course
- (intr) to avoid an unpleasant person, thing, topic, etc
- the upward sweep of the deck or bulwarks of a vessel
- nautical the position of a vessel relative to its mooring
Word Origin and History for sheer
c.1200, "exempt, free from guilt" (e.g. Sheer Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week); later schiere "thin, sparse" (c.1400), from Old English scir "bright, clear, gleaming; translucent; pure, unmixed," and influenced by Old Norse cognate scær "bright, clean, pure," both from Proto-Germanic *skeran- (cf. Old Saxon skiri, Old Frisian skire, German schier, Gothic skeirs "clean, pure"), from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)).
Sense of "absolute, utter" (sheer nonsense) developed 1580s, probably from the notion of "unmixed;" that of "very steep" (a sheer cliff) is first recorded 1800, probably from notion of "continued without halting." Meaning "diaphanous" is from 1560s. As an adverb from c.1600.
1620s, "deviate from course" (of a ship), of obscure origin, perhaps from Dutch scheren "to move aside, withdraw, depart," originally "to separate" (see shear (v.)). Related: Sheered; shearing. As a noun from 1660s.