Ms. Alexander is carrying this heavy mantle as if it were made of sheerest pashmina.
Now and then her lips moved, murmuring in sheerest happiness the thoughts that drifted through her enchanted mind.
This was the sheerest "bluff," but it was delivered with all the assurance in the world.
The sheerest of knee-length linen underwear touched a body that knew only rough cotton.
It was only by the sheerest accident that he had found out, even now, about them.
I got hold of him by chance, and just by the sheerest good luck, a week or so ago.
It would have been the sheerest affectation on his part to have evaded the question.
Now any one in Tinkletown would tell you that it was the sheerest folly to address Uncle Dad in a hushed voice.
If either you or I ever reach our destination, it will be by the sheerest accident.
His flask experiments, therefore, prove nothing; and all this talk about de novo production is the sheerest scientific delusion.
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.