- 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
Examples from the Web for sheerly
Sheerly by chance, some of those scrofulous churls will have some minor position of power in one institution or another.Who Represents?
February 19, 2013
That came when he chose to review the restaurant I used to work at sheerly because I called him a douche bag.America's Bad Boy Chef
June 13, 2010
Sheerly suicidal, yes, but he was desperate now, and there seemed no other way.Slaves of Mercury
Thessaly is inspiring, but his influence is sheerly intellectual.The Orchard of Tears
Alwynne, eating her wing of chicken, was merely and sheerly shy.Regiment of Women
Thor grew interested in the sheerly human aspects of the subject.The Side Of The Angels
The weariest and the most wistful faces were sheerly transfigured by it.If Winter Comes
- 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 sheerly
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.