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 leer

1520–30; perhaps v. use of obsolete leer cheek (Middle English leor, Old English hlēor; cognate with Old Norse hlȳr (plural))
Related formsleer·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for leered

stare, eye, smirk, goggle, wink, gloat, ogle, sneer, squint, eyeball

Examples from the Web for leered

Contemporary Examples of leered

Historical Examples of leered

  • She cackled, and leered with vile significance toward the girl in the doorway.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • They leered at him with phosphorescent eyes, yellow and purple.

    Salvage in Space

    John Stewart Williamson

  • The young inventor had done this while he leered at his captors.

  • He leered at her as though expecting her to flame at his prowess.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • But the other two grinned derisively at each other and leered at the girl.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

British Dictionary definitions for leered



(intr) to give an oblique, sneering, or suggestive look or grin


such a look
Derived Formsleering, adjective, nounleeringly, adverb

Word Origin for leer

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

Word Origin and History for leered



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